ASIA - Franciscan Network for Peace and Integral Ecology: a synodal journey in the footsteps of ‘Laudato si'’

Saturday, 4 May 2024 laudato sì   franciscan   peace   ecology  

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - To place particular attention to peace and integral ecology in the various contexts of the Asian continent at the centre of pastoral and social action, according to the vision and spiritual perspective of Saint Francis of Assisi: with this aim, the "Franciscan Network for Peace and Integral Ecology in Asia" was created on the initiative of the Conferences of the Franciscan Friars Minor in Asia. A few days ago in Manila, the Provincials, Custodians and Presidents of the Foundations, together with the Secretaries for Formation, Missions and Evangelization and the staff of the Justice and Peace Commissions, met with the Minister General, Brother Massimo Fusarelli, and presented the initiative of a Franciscan Network for Peace in Asia: in the meetings of recent years, they said, awareness of the problems in Asia and Oceania has grown and it has been recognized that Franciscan commitment can be valuable and offer opportunities for evangelization in various societies. The religious present welcomed the project of the Franciscan Network for Peace in Asia and promoted it in concrete terms, enriching it and pointing out ways in which it can be put into practice: with the official approval, the process of articulating this network now begins.
There is a dynamic relationship between missionary activity and peacebuilding efforts in Asia and Oceania, said Brother Gregorio Lino Redoblado (OFM), Provincial in the Philippines: "As Franciscans, here in Asia, where there are evident cultural and religious differences, divisions, conflicts and violence due to economic inequality and environmental exploitation, we have the task of building peace and promoting reconciliation." The inspiration for the creation of the new network - which will help coordinate the work of the Franciscan communities in Asia in this area - comes from the impulses that Pope Francis has also addressed to the Franciscan religious family: the three documents "Evangelii gaudium" (2013), "Laudato si'" (2015) and "Fratelli tutti" (2020) are a reference point to be "a truly fraternal presence among the various peoples of Asia". The horizon is that written in the first paragraph of Laudato si': "Our common home is also like a sister with whom we share life". In this sense, the network is also a synodal initiative, as it stresses the urgency of "a path of fraternity, love and trust", say the religious, which can expand and involve every man and woman of good will, according to a dynamic of synodality made up of "listening and discernment". The network will be able to provide advocacy and concrete interventions in all situations where peace is threatened, human rights are denied, the "common home" is violated, the poor are exploited or marginalized, and it will be able to benefit from the collaboration of international organizations such as the non-governmental organization "Franciscan International". In its creation, the Asian Network drew on the experience of already existing entities, such as the "Franciscan Network of the Mediterranean", known for its "Oikos" ("Home") project, launched five years ago in Taranto (Italy), an ecologically and socially wounded city, with the specific aim of launching a path of integral ecology for the entire Mediterranean. The "Oikos" project involves universities, companies, monasteries, young people and cultural centers to make the Mediterranean truly a "common home". In the same spirit, the new network is now taking its first steps in the vast Asian continent. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 4/5/2024)