November 29, 2014, is the 35th anniversary of the naming of Saint Francis as Patron of Ecology. Many believe that we stand at a critical moment of Earth’s history. Social, economic and environmental crises call for an assessment of our current situation, and for the discovery of effective ways to promote responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, to future generations and to our planet.
Romans VI (the JPIC animators for the global Franciscan Family) has reflected on how best to celebrate this anniversary. We are very happy to announce the creation of a website for this purpose that offers various resources to help with the celebration (http://francis35.org). It was launched on March 22nd of this year, World Water Day, a date chosen to serve as a reminder that our commitment to work for the Integrity of Creation must be concrete and practical. The resources are available in various languages, and include a reflection on the celebration, Pope John Paul II’s declaration naming Francis the patron of ecology, a Eucharistic celebration, an ecumenical prayer, norms for an interreligious celebration, a Mayan Cross Prayer, Prayers of the Faithful and an article on a Franciscan spirituality of the care of creation.
We invite you to celebrate in ways most appropriate to your region and culture, and most convenient for you and your partners, preparing events, prayers and gatherings to commemorate this anniversary. Be sure to include in your planning the entire Franciscan Family, the laity with whom you work and minister, diocesan organizations, ecumenical groups, interreligious groups and all people of goodwill. Help to promote among all people a spirit of care for creation in the spirit of Francis. You might want to consider the possibility of linking this celebration with that of the Spirit of Assisi, which occurs every year on the 27th of October.
We hope that these materials will be helpful to you. Share them as widely and as ecologically as possible; we suggest projecting words and images rather than printing papers, or at least using recycled materials when printing. Please send a short article about any celebration you hold in your city or region, along with a photo or two to us at francis35romansVI@gmail.com. May God bless you in your work to care for the Creation that we share as gift with all of God’s creatures!
Benedict Ayodi, OFM Cap. Nancy Celaschi and Sheila Kinsey, IFC-TOR
Attilio Galimberti, OFS Thomas Kochuchira, TOR Ugo Sartorio, OFM Conv.
Joe Rozansky and Fabio L’Amour Ferreira, OFM