September 8, 2018: The postulants helped raise funds and awareness to end hunger, through the 33rd Annual Hunger Walk – supporting the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s network of soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters. It is Chicago’s largest annual anti-hunger rally and this year over twelve thousand participants raised more than $190,000.
The week after Thanksgiving, Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. of our province’s Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Ministry met with all of the postulants of the Conventual Franciscan Postulancy USA, in Chicago, IL for two days of JPIC workshops.
Roberto (Our Lady of Consolation Province):
“I can personally relate to a lot of what was being mentioned in the workshop. Coming from México and being raised in two different cultures was a challenge but it is certainly one that helped me to more fully understand our current political climate. Definitely learned a lot and am looking forward for what God and the world has to offer in my vocation. Gracias y que Dios los bendiga.”
Luke (Our Lady of the Angels Province):
“Social justice begins in our stories. As Christians our stories carry the power and presence of Christ, our Brother and Healer. Humanity today is ‘Doubting Thomas’ and we must show unbelieving Thomas our wounds, which have become scars by the life and light of Christ. Catherine Doherty says it well enough: the time of ‘mere talking is over.’ We must live the Gospel without compromise, because when we don’t, who will?”
Alex (Our Lady of Consolation Province):
“I gained a substantial knowledge on how to live out the vow of poverty in a way that supports the poor and the environment. Spending a little extra and investing a little more energy in order to support the poor is a part of our charism.”
Christopher (Our Lady of the Angels Province):
“In the past 10 years of my life I have been very humbled in encountering the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth around the world. It’s been really eye opening to meet people and explore places that experience varying dimensions of poverty—even here in the US. What a blessing it is now at this point in my life and my vocation to begin developing my understanding of JPIC in a Franciscan framework. With my continued exploration of foundational principles in caring for creation and for our common home I have become more confident in living out Laudato Si and integrating a more holistic lense and approach to matters of poverty and environment. I consider it an obligation in our world to use the privileges afforded me as a first-generation, Latino-American, Catholic, Ecologist, to aid in local and global discussions regarding JPIC and actually heeding the gospel calling to be Christ to others and renew the face of the earth for the glory of our Creator.”
The encyclical — as well as the government’s report — serves to remind the human family that the focus is not what’s best for an individual or one country, but what’s best for the entire planet, said Father Michael Lasky, a Conventual Franciscan who serves as director of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation Ministry for the order’s Our Lady of Angels Province based in Ellicott City, Maryland…
“We are brother and sister to one another. In that context, don’t you sacrifice for the one you love, especially if the one you love is hurting? That means we have to live differently. We have to do a radical shift,” Father Lasky said
Back in March of 2018, in preparation for the 2019, 800thAnniversary of the meeting of St. Francis and Sultan Al-Kamil, Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Gerry Waterman, OFM Conv., who serves as Campus Minister for the Syracuse University / SUNY ESF Catholic community, joined the students he serves in welcoming the SU Muslim Student Association to share in a delicious Mediterranean dinner, followed by the viewing of the movie The Sultan and the Saint, at the SU Catholic Center on Walnut Place. Conversations at dinner and the dialogue that followed the movie were heart-warming as well as challenging. Muslim Chaplain – Amir Duric and Friar Gerry shared stories of their personal faith journeys as well as their collaborative inter-faith work in which they are engaged via the university’s Hendricks Chapel. Another inter-faith event is planned at the SU Catholic Center for Thursday, November 29th, when all three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) on the Syracuse University campus will come together to make sandwiches for the poor in downtown and Northside Syracuse.
Back in April 2018, Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv., Chairman of Our Lady of the Angels Province’s Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Ministry hosted an Interfaith Forum and Symposium on Environmental Justice and Service to Vulnerable Populations, at our Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City MD. One of the relationships to evolve and flourish from the event was between our friars, Howard County conservation organizations and the area’s Presbyterian faith community.
On October 9, 2018, Friar Michael (at left) joined volunteers from our Shrine’s Garden Ministry, Earth Forum of Howard County and First Presbyterian Church of Howard County to plant seven Cherokee Brave Dogwood trees and three Rising Sun Redbud trees in the area around the Shrine’s Outdoor Stations of the Cross. Instrumental in this undertaking was Nancy Fayer, the Coordinator of Earth Forum of Howard County, at First Presbyterian Church. This organization partners with other environmentally conscious groups such as The Municipal Online Stormwater Training (MOST) Center and Howard County’s Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth (READY) program, which created and maintains the rain-gardens on the Ellicott City Complex. Nancy was able to obtain the ten trees donated through Sun Nurseries, while working closely with Friar Michael and Shrine staff members – Carol Derenge and Jared Luttrell to plan and execute the planting, including procuring the compost, leaf grow, or organic soil amendment needed to maintain an environmentally conscience planting process.
The majority of the friars of our province live and minister in North America. For all of the citizens of Canada and the USA, November 11th holds a special place in our hearts. We take a moment to remember.
Remembrance Day in Canada: Flanders Fields and the Poppy click here.
Veterans Day in the United States: Prayers for veterans, soldiers, their families, refugees of war, and more click here.
On Thursday, November 1st the faithful around the world celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. What began in the early fourth century as a feast honoring the martyrs, the Solemnity of All Saints is now a day when we celebrate all ordinary and typical human beings who, through God’s grace, lived holy lives. These lives given to God’s will granted the saints the peace and joy of eternal life in heaven. Some of the lives of these saints are well known to us and we consider them friends whose intercession aids us as we travel on our earthly journey. We are often inspired by their examples of faith and good works, encouraging us all to give our best in our own lives, devoting every act for the greater glory of God.
Several more Social Justice minded saints have Feast Days celebrated in November including:
November 3 – Feast of St. Martin de Porres St. Martin de Porres is the patron of African Americans, race relations, and healthcare workers. Franciscan Media tells us how, “Father unknown” is the cold legal phrase sometimes used on baptismal records. “Half-breed” or “war souvenir” is the cruel name inflicted by those of “pure” blood. Like many others, Martin might have grown to be a bitter man… to read more click here.
November 13 – Feast Day of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is the patroness of immigrants. Mother Cabrini’s community of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus responds to the Gospel call for justice and love in today’s circumstances by focusing on 5 words: Welcome, Support, Educate, Re-Examine, Work. To read more click here.
Franciscan Action Network (FAN) approached Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Br. Ed Falsey, OFM Conv., to work on developing what they are calling Franciscan Solidarity Table (FST).
The purpose of the Solidarity Tables is to organize groups of Franciscans and Franciscan minded people to work together in the areas of peace, justice and the care of creation. These qualities are intrinsic to our Franciscan charism. They propose to help each group to deepen its knowledge and spiritual awareness of the Franciscan tradition from which these values come.
Friar Ed was part of the setting up of the Franciscan Action Network eleven years ago. When he moved to Syracuse, NY he ended up taking over the Franciscan Collaborative Ministries along with working in Pastoral Planning for the Diocese of Syracuse. He therefore had to withdraw from working with FAN but is now able to work again for the Network, as the new FST Director.
In taking on this challenge, he hope to support the work of the Friars, the Sisters, the Seculars and other Franciscan people in the area of justice and social action. They are all doing great work in bringing these Gospel values into the lives of the people they collaborate with and those they meet in need.
If you are interested in more information about this project and how it may connect to what you are doing or want to do, please contact him at email@example.com.
Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. (JPIC Province Chairman) serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Franciscan Action Network (FAN). FAN’s Mission Statement:
“Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, and the example of Saints Francis and Clare, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peace making, care for creation, poverty, and human rights.”
Our Lady of the Angels Province student friar, brother Tim Blanchard, OFM Conv. is majoring in Media and Communications at The Catholic University of America. Over this past summer, he interned with FAN and our Province’s JPIC Ministry. This new FAN Video was part of his work:
Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. has been preparing with the other friar organizers from around the world to make this week a success. Pictured here is a sampling of those friars (Friar Michael with his hand raised) during the first meeting held January 24-27, 2017 at Rome’s Pontificia Facoltà Teologica San Bonaventura, known as the Seraphicum.
Here is a sample day’s itinerary: Wednesday 15 August 2018 (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) 7:30- 8:30: Breakfast at campground
9:00- 10:00: Lectio Divina of Acts 8: 26-40
Pilgrimage to Rivotorto
12:00: Mass at Rivotorto
13:30: Lunch at Rivotorto
15:00: Pilgrimage to Saint Mary of the Angels with recitation of the rosary
16:00: Visit to the Porziuncola with time planned according to the national groups
20:00: Supper at campground
Free prayer after dinner (exposition of the blessed sacrament until 24:00)
Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. celebrated Mass at Rivotorto.
Our Lady of the Angels Province’s Friar Chris Dudek, OFM Conv. was also among the pilgrim friars and was able to serve during the Mass at Rivotorto. If you look to the very center of this photo, you will see housed within the Sanctuary of Rivotorto, the small stone Sacro Tugurio (Sacred Hull/Hollow), home to St. Francis and his first followers (in 1208) prior to their move to the Portiuncula (in 1212). This Sanctuary is the first friary of our Order and is considered the cradle of the Franciscan Fraternity.
Our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. and several of the other friars participating in the 201st Extraordinary General Chapter were able to spend some time with the pilgrims of Giovani Verso. Friar James shared a few of his own photos with us:
Friar Michael speaking to a joyful group of pilgrims
Friar Michael (left) and Friar Chris (2nd from left – vested to serve as Deacon) stopped to take a photo with some more friars from our Province, including The Very Reverend Fr. Michael Zielke, OFM Conv. (currently serving as Minister Provincial for the St. Bonaventure Province), Friar Vincent Rubino, OFM Conv. and our own Minister Provincial, Friar James.
Friar James joined the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square
September 10, 2018: Follow up comments from Friar Michael
“Giovani verso Assisi 2018 had 400 young adults and friars participating in the week-long event last month. For the first time we coordinated a single group from all of the Americas. Our successful effort included representation from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States. From the United States we also had two participants who are graduates from Duke University as well as one graduate from UNC Chapel Hill, who is also a parishioner at Newman.”
Video Presentation Created by Friar Michael, using a song from Juanas called Bandera de Maños, emphasizing our countries uniting under one flag of many hands making a better world for all.
Lyrics with English Translation:
Una bandera con manos negras,
Una bandera con manos blancas
Por un mundo mejor. (English Translation) Let us all make A flag with black hands, A flag with white hands, For a better world.
En este momento, hagamos todos
Una bandera con manos mestizas,
Una bandera con manos inmigrantes
Por un mundo mejor. (English Translation) At this moment, let us all make A flag with mestizo hands, A flag with immigrant hands For a better world.
Chorus: Ya que estamos cansados
De tantas historias vencidas,
Tantas promesas nunca cumplidas,
Alcemos el alma y la voz. (English Translation) We are tired already Of so many old expired stories, So many promises never fulfilled, Let us raise our spirits and our voice.
Y hagamos el amor
Como una manifestación
Que la guerra no da explicación
A seguir así, quemando la piel… (English Translation) And let us make love Like a manifestation That war cannot explain [*alt. Because war does not offer an explanation] Continuing like this, burning skin…
…De tus manos, que son las manos mías,
De tu alma, que es como el alma mía,
Que ironías, las que nos da la vida. (English Translation) …Of your hands, which are also my hands, Of your soul, which is like my soul, What ironies that life gives us.
Mientras miles se mueren de hambre
Los lideres compran arsenales
Y asi, siembran dolor. (English Translation) While thousands die from hunger The leaders buy arsenals And like that, they sow pain.
Hagamos todos una sola bandera, todos.
Derribemos fronteras, todos…
Por un mundo mejor. (English Translation) Let us all make a single flag, everyone. Let us tear down borders, everyone… For a better world.
En este momento sembremos paz,
Más justicia, más dignidad,
Libertad con más igualdad…
Por un mundo mejor. (English Translation) At this time let us sow peace, More justice, more dignity, Liberty with more equality For a better world.
Translation Note: Latin America’s population has a mix of African, European and Indigenous ancestors. The term mestizo/mestiza refers to a person with mixed indigenous Latin American and European ancestry.