Archive for November, 2017

Here is how Latinos are redefining Catholicism in the 21 Century

Posted on 27. Nov, 2017 by .

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The Immigrant City. This is how many know Lawrence, Mass., a town in New England with a population of about 80,000. Perhaps the most appropriate name for Lawrence is The Catholic Immigrant City. Not long ago it had 15 Catholic churches, none of which was established to serve Hispanics. Today, the three Catholic parishes left celebrate several Masses in Spanish every week. The transformation took place in about 50 years.

In the Northeast and the Midwest, changes like this are more recent. In the South and West, entire generations of Catholics have not known a time without a Hispanic neighbor, the ever-present image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, quinceañera celebrations, Masses in Spanish and some good empanadas after worship! What used to be a phenomenon restricted to places like Los Angeles, San Diego, Brownsville, Houston or Miami is becoming the new norm.

As a researcher of U.S. Catholicism, with particular focus on the Hispanic Catholic experience, I get to meet incredible people in faith communities across the country: Tireless pastoral leaders, families passing the faith on to their children in different languages, young people discerning how to integrate the Gospel in their lives, immigrants searching for a new life with the same longings as their sisters and brothers who have been in the country a little longer. And they all love being Catholic.

This is not the first time that U.S. Catholicism has been drastically transformed. The arrival of millions of European immigrants in this country in the 19th and 20th centuries had a similar effect. Today’s immigrant Catholics are arriving from the global south. Catholics of all cultural backgrounds find themselves sharing their churches with fellow parishioners about whom they know little. Rapid demographic changes along with the fear of the unknown seem to explain some of the anxiety that invades the hearts of many Catholics in the United States today.

The best remedy to address such anxiety is to know more about each other. To that end, here are 10 ways Hispanics are redefining American Catholicism in the 21st century—and why this is good news for all.

1. Hispanics are at the heart of the church’s growth. In 1965, there were 48.5 million Catholics in the country. Fifty years later the number had risen to 75 million. Despite millions of baptized women and men who stopped self-identifying as Catholic, the number of Catholics in the United States is growing.

Hispanics account for 71 percent of the growth of the Catholic population in the United States since 1960. Long before 1776, the first Catholics in what is now U.S. territory were Hispanic. They became part of the country as the nation expanded its borders (e.g., Mexican-Americans in 1848; Puerto Ricans in 1898).

Over the last half century, the growth of the Hispanic population has come through sustained migration patterns from Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, including significant numbers of exiles and refugees; high birth rates among Hispanic women, especially immigrants; and family reunification policies.

 

2. Hispanics are forming a new geographic center for U.S. Catholicism.The vast majority of Catholics who arrived from Europe during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th settled mainly in two regions: the Northeast and the Midwest. These immigrants and their descendants built there thousands of parishes, established the largest network of private schools and founded hundreds of universities. They also built a large network of social services, rivaled in resources and outreach only by the U.S. government. Thanks to this structural presence, Catholics became not only the largest church in the country, but also one of the most influential.

 

About 61 percent of parishes, 61 percent of Catholic schools, 83 percent of Catholic colleges and universities, 60 percent of seminaries and houses of formation, more than half of Catholic hospitals and most Catholic publishing companies are located in the Northeast and the Midwest. More than 50 percent of archdioceses and most U.S. cardinals heading a diocese are also in these two regions.

But during the second decade of the 21st century, a major threshold was crossed: the majority of U.S. Catholics now live in the South and the West. Hispanics are the major reason for this geographical shift, joined in these regions by the fast-growing Asian population.

It is imperative for the church to build parishes, schools, universities, pastoral institutes and seminaries and houses of formation in the Southwest. This is a time for Catholic pioneers and entrepreneurs, a time for true missionary work that sets the foundations for what most likely will be growing centers of Catholic life in the United States.

 

3. Hispanics are transforming how we communicate with each other.There are 20 million immigrants from Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean presently living in the United States mainland. About 14 million (60 percent) self-identify as Catholic. If these Catholics constituted one nation, the population would be larger than that of every island in the Caribbean and larger than that of most countries in Latin America.

These demographic comparisons help us assess whether we are investing enough in welcoming and embracing a population that is transforming thousands of Catholic communities in the United States. How much do we understand the lives and practice of the faith of Spanish-speaking Catholics? Do we integrate that knowledge as part of our pastoral planning and outreach?

According to the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry (for which I served as the principal investigator), there are about 4,500 parishes in the country with explicit outreach efforts to Hispanics Catholics, primarily in Spanish. Most dioceses and parishes in the country define Hispanic ministry mainly as ministry in Spanish with a focus on immigrant populations.

Hispanic immigrants come from every Spanish-speaking nation in the continent. They bring a rich array of cultural and religious traditions that are redefining the American Catholic experience in the 21st century. Thanks to Hispanics, in many parts of the country U.S. Catholicism is de facto a bilingual reality.

 

4. Two-thirds of Hispanic Catholics in the United States were born here.Some pastoral leaders, and many Catholics in the pews, are bewildered to learn that nearly two thirds of Hispanics are U.S. born (about 65.5 percent). But it should not be a surprise, given that Hispanics are the oldest Catholic group in the land and their growth has been steady for more than a century.

About half of U.S.-born Hispanics self-identify as Catholic. Their lives unfold in a constant process of negotiating identities as both Americans and Hispanics. This both/and experience allows U.S.-born Hispanic Catholics to draw from the riches of multiple cultural wells. That same experience also places them at odds with a society that often sees diversity as a threat―as in the case of negative attitudes toward bilingualism and biculturalism. Hispanics are expected to assimilate quietly into the mainstream.

It is naïve to assume that the pastoral needs and faith expressions of U.S.-born Hispanic Catholics are the same as their immigrant relatives. These Hispanics, upon whom much of the future of U.S. Catholicism rests, are forging a new way of being Catholic.

 

5. A majority of U.S. Catholics under 18 are Hispanic. The median age of Hispanics is 28, significantly younger than White (43), Asian (36), and Black (33) populations. About half of Hispanics are younger than 30. How are Catholic pastoral leaders reaching out to youth and young adult Hispanic Catholics?

About 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics younger than 18 are Hispanic. Of that population, 93 percent were born in the United States. Most young Hispanics remain significantly influenced by their immigrant families, retaining their faith, culture and language. (More than half of all U.S.-born Hispanics older than 5—about 20 million―speak Spanish at home.)

 

Although most are English-speaking and grow up embracing many of the values of the larger U.S. culture, they are also influenced by the Spanish language and a faith mediated through Hispanic cultural narratives and symbols. Programs of youth ministry and religious education serving young Hispanics must engage the family. It is important that pastoral leaders affirm―in the most appropriate language—the faith and the role of Hispanic relatives in the process of passing on the faith.

About half of all Catholic millennials are Hispanic. They are choosing careers, deciding on family life and re-evaluating their faith. They question how much to draw from their Hispanic background when integrating into the larger U.S. cultural matrix. Whether the Gospel and the best of the Catholic tradition will inform these decisions will largely depend on adequate pastoral accompaniment.

 

6. About one in four Hispanics is a former Catholic. The engagement of Hispanic youth and young adult Catholics may be the single most significant factor that will determine the vitality of Catholic communities and pastoral efforts during the next 30 years. These are the young women and men who soon will be sustaining parishes, sending their children to Catholic schools and universities and leading church ministries.

Yet it is estimated that about a quarter of Hispanics are former Catholics. That is almost 14 million people who could have been in our communities partaking in the sacraments and discerning ways to better live the Gospel. Most of them (about 70 percent) made the decision to “leave the church” before the age of 24. When surveyed, the following are the top two reasons they provided for leaving: they “drifted away” and they “stopped believing in the teachings of their childhood religion.” These reasons are similar to those provided by former non-Hispanic young Catholics. Most are joining the ranks of the non-religiously affiliated (i.e., nones).

This is a clear indictment of how inadequately we welcome and create spaces for people to fall in love with Jesus Christ and the mysteries of the Christian faith. This is not “normal.” Silence in the face of this trend cannot be an option.

 

7. Hispanics are underrepresented in Catholic education. By the middle of the 20th century, more than five million school-age Catholic children (more than 50 percent of this sector of the Catholic population) were enrolled in Catholic schools. Many went to college and then on to successful professional lives. Many became priests, vowed religious and lay ecclesial ministers. Yet over the last 50 years, enrollment in Catholic education has plummeted, and thousands of schools have closed.

Of the approximately 14.5 million school-age Catholic children today, about eight million (or 55 percent) are Hispanic. The majority reside in the southern and western regions of the country. But barely 4 percent of school-age Hispanic Catholic children are enrolled in Catholic schools. Just about 11 percent of the student population in Catholic colleges and universities are Hispanic.

The large number of Hispanic Catholic children and youth can be an opportunity for renewal and creativity among Catholic educational institutions. Hispanics can bring a new spring to Catholic schools, colleges and universities. To do that, leaders must do four things: intentionally increase enrollment of Hispanic children; ensure welcoming environments; build new schools and universities where Catholicism is growing; and imagine new models to introduce young Hispanic Catholics to the treasures of Catholic education.

8. There is room for growth in the number of Hispanic ministers in the church. The areas of ministerial service where Hispanics are growing most steadily are the permanent diaconate and lay ecclesial ministry. There are about 2,500 Hispanic permanent deacons in the country. About 50 percent of lay Catholics enrolled in ministry formation programs are Hispanic, although only 17 percent of them are in degree-granting programs.

It is not farfetched to anticipate, given demographic trends, that in the near future most ministerial leaders for the church in this country will have a Hispanic background. Yet the number of U.S.-born Hispanic priests and vowed women and men religious does not match prevailing population trends. About 83 percent of Hispanic priests and more than 90 percent of Hispanic vowed religious women and men are foreign-born.

 

Are we overlooking the potential of the U.S.-born Hispanic population to assume ministerial leadership? The cultural, linguistic and even spiritual needs of U.S.-born Hispanics often demand a distinct type of pastoral accompaniment.

A critical and sustained conversation about Hispanic vocations to ministerial life could address various dynamics, including: obstacles to vocational discernment among Hispanics; vocational outreach to U.S.-born Hispanics; welcoming practices in seminaries and houses of formation; cultivation of a culture of vocations among Hispanic families and faith communities; and effective pathways from apostolic service to ministerial life.

 

9. Hispanic Catholics draw from deep U.S. Latino and Latin American foundations. Hispanic Catholics draw from a rich world of pastoral and theological foundations. The language and the vision of the last four conferences of Latin American bishops—at Medellín (1968), Puebla (1979), Santo Domingo (1992) and Aparecida (2007)―live in the minds and hearts of countless Latin Americans who did missionary work as catechists and pastoral leaders. The language of Pope Francis’ pontificate (e.g., missionary discipleship, small faith communities, a church that goes out, etc.) is almost second nature to Hispanic immigrants involved in evangelizing activities in their countries of origin.

Also, hundreds of thousands of Hispanic immigrants are associated with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, a movement that originated in the United States As they find a home in Catholic parishes nationwide, many bring with them a Latin American style of this spirituality that is renewing entire communities. Nearly half of all parishes with Hispanic ministry have a Catholic Charismatic Renewal community.

Various currents of Latin American theological thought also influenced a smaller group of formally educated Latin American immigrants. They learned methodologies for theological reflection that brought the best of the Catholic tradition into dialogue with the social and human sciences and key sociocultural dynamics that shape the lives of Latin Americans.

 

In turn, U.S. Hispanic Catholics also draw from important sources of theological and pastoral life grounded in reflection on what it means to be Catholic and Hispanic in this country.

The Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States is the third largest Catholic theological guild in the United States. For several decades A.C.H.T.U.S. members, committed to doing theology “on the ground,” have been advancing substantial theological reflection in close conversation with Hispanic Catholics.

The Encuentros (Encounters) started as national gatherings of Hispanic pastoral leaders advocating for better outreach to Hispanic Catholics. Some evolved into full-fledged processes of consultation, reflection and evangelization. The Encuentros have inspired a renewed awareness about the Hispanic Catholic presence, the development of new structures,  commitments to serve this community well and the development of dynamic models of pastoral life. Most important, the Encuentros have been instrumental in fostering new waves of Catholic pastoral leaders.

 

10. Hispanic Catholics offer innovative approaches to evangelization.The Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (V Encuentro) is a four-year process of ecclesial reflection, consultation and evangelization (2017 to 2020).

The process is driven by a well-defined methodology. It starts by listening to Hispanic Catholics and others at the grass roots who spent some time meeting other Catholics living on the peripheries of church and society. What is heard is then discussed in prayer and reflection in small faith communities. Then large meetings—also called Encuentros―at the parish, diocesan, regional and national levels serve as a way to distill the wisdom gathered during several months of listening and discernment. Faith communities identify pastoral priorities and commitments. The process provides the perfect background for pastoral planning.

More than anything, the V Encuentro is a process of evangelization that aims at renewing the nearly 5,000 parish communities currently engaged in it. It hopes to involve at least one million Catholics, mostly Hispanic, and identify at least 20,000 new Hispanic pastoral leaders. Although the initial timeframe is four years, the spirit of Encuentro will likely inspire many conversations well into the future.

The process of the V Encuentro focuses primarily on the Hispanic Catholic experience, but it is for the entire church in the United States The model could become a standard for evangelization initiatives across Catholic communities. It draws from the Scriptures and from centuries of missionary and evangelizing wisdom.

 

The redefinition of American Catholicism in the 21st century—driven in great part by the fast-growing Hispanic presence—is a true blessing and opportunity for all. Five centuries ago, Hispanics planted the first seeds of Catholicism in this land. Two centuries ago, European Catholics and their children built a massive presence that continues to permeate much of the religious and social life of our country. Once again, Hispanics, along with Catholics from various other cultural families, find themselves in a unique position to build the foundations of U.S. Catholicism for decades. The 10 ways described above that Hispanics are redefining American Catholicism give us a good sense of what is happening, what is possible, where to invest and how we can accompany this important sector of the Catholic population in the United States.

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New Study Finds That 4.2 Million Kids Experience Homelessness Each Year

Posted on 27. Nov, 2017 by .

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Taken from NPR:

Marquan Ellis was evicted from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was 18.

His mother battled with a drug and gambling addiction while he stayed at his godmother’s house. But he couldn’t stay there forever.

He found his way to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth where he enrolled in the independent living program.

He isn’t sure what he would have done if he hadn’t found that program: “I would have been on the street looking for someone to help, looking for my next meal, looking for my next shower, looking for my next place to sleep.”

Like Ellis, some 4.2 million young people experience unaccompanied homelessness in the course of a year, according to a new study from Chapin Hall a research center at the University of Chicago.

One in 30 teens experience some type of homelessness and it’s more common the older you get: one in 10 for young people aged 18 to 25. The study also found that African American youth are 82 percent more likely to experience homelessness.

Marquan was one of those young black men in Nevada, which has the highest rate of unsheltered youth in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This refers to people sleeping on the streets, in cars or in parks. Cities like San Francisco, Las Vegas and San Jose had high rates of unaccompanied youth that were unsheltered.

Young people often end up homeless because of family breakdown, abuse or abandonment and it’s a problem that isn’t properly addressed, says Arash Ghafoori, the executive director of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth.

“We really need to dial back and focus more on prevention,” he says. “There’s certain subsets of homeless youth that really require culturally sensitive and specifically tailored services.”

The LGBTQ community is one of those communities; they are 120 percent more likely to experience youth homelessness than other people, according to the new report.

This population is often hidden, and this new study is a rare look at the scope of the problem; other takeaways include that these young adults often don’t show up for school, or frequently switch between schools. As a result, many don’t have high school diplomas.

“This is a stage in which young people are developing experiences and skills that will stay with them throughout their lives,” says Matthew Morton, a research fellow at Chapin Hall and the lead researcher on the report. “Every day of homelessness is a missed opportunity to support their healthy development and also their capacity to contribute to stronger communities and local economies.”

Schools are uniquely positioned to reach these populations — and some of the biggest school districts in the country are facing this problem too. In New York, new data showed that 110,000 students had no permanent place to sleep at night. The number is double what it was a decade ago.

The same goes for Texas where there are more than 113,000 000 homeless studentsand about 16,800 of those kids were unaccompanied by a legal guardian. Just this week, Texas Appleseed, a public service law center based in Austin, released a report summarizing nearly 100 interviews with young people who had experienced or were experiencing homelessness in Texas.

“Schools are at the front line of this issue to make sure all kids needs are met,” says Jeanne Stamp, the director of the Texas Homeless Education Office, a state program funded by the federal law that protects homeless youth. She trains homeless liaisons in Texas school districts that ensure homeless students have transportation, uniforms or school supplies, and they work to connect families to community resources such as food pantries.

It’s important for schools to be the one stable place for kids, where they can keep their friends and teachers, Stamp says.

“Children who move around a lot or live in poverty tend to not do well academically,” she says. “That instability really undermines their ability to learn.”homeless-students-e870f7206fef60b3cc006b44788c7f4deeafe256-s800-c85

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Advent Reflection

Posted on 27. Nov, 2017 by .

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Join us this Advent season for prayerful reflection and hopeful anticipation. Each week we will share with you a special Advent reflection for the following Sunday that will be available online, on social media, and can be downloaded for your continued use.

This week, Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, CMN’s Managing Director, invites us to reflect on the gift of waiting and how being alert can help us discover parts of our world contrary to God’s vision.

Click here to download the reflection for the first week of Advent.

To download the complete set of Advent 2017 Reflections, click here.    

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Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted on 27. Nov, 2017 by .

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Last week, the Nebraska Public Service Commission approved a route for TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

This decision comes after Donald Trump advanced Keystone XL within days of taking office. It shows that we can’t count on our leaders to stop TransCanada from building the pipeline — no matter what the cost to our environment.

But together, we can still stop this pipeline by cutting off the funding for it. Wells Fargo is a key funder of TransCanada. So we need your help to push the bank to stand with the landowners and tribes along the path of Keystone XL and not fund this dangerous pipeline.

Tell Wells Fargo: Cut off the money for Keystone XL!

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MINORITY AS A PLACE OF ENCOUNTER: AUDIENCE WITH THE HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS

Posted on 27. Nov, 2017 by .

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On November 23, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the members of the Franciscan Families of the First Order and the Third Order Regular.

The following is the Pope’s address to those present:

 

Address of the Holy Father

Dear brothers,

The “Lord Pope”, as Saint Francis called him, welcomes you with joy and in you welcomes the Franciscan brothers who live and work in all the world. Thank you for what you are and for what you do, especially for the poorest and most disadvantaged.

“Let all be called in general ‘Friars Minor’”, we read in the Regula Non Bullata.[1] With this expression, Saint Francis does not speak about something optional for his brothers, but manifests a constitutive element of your life and mission.

In effect, in your form of life, the adjective “minor” qualifies the noun “Friar”, giving to the bond of fraternity its proper and characteristic quality: it is not the same thing to say “friar” and to say “friar minor”. Therefore, when referring to fraternity, it is necessary to keep in mind this typical Franciscan characteristic of fraternal relationship, which demands of you a relationship of “Friars minor”.

From whence came the inspiration to Francis to place minority as an essential element of your fraternity?[2]

Since Christ and the Gospel were the fundamental option of his life, in all certainty we can say that minority, while not lacking its ascetic and social motivations, was born from contemplation of the incarnation of the Son of God, and is summarized in the image of making oneself small, like a seed. It is the same logic of “becoming poor, though he was rich” (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). The logic of “renunciation”, which Francis implemented to the letter when he “divested himself of all earthly goods, to the point of nakedness, in order to give himself entirely to God and to his brothers and sisters”.[3]

The life of Francis was marked by the encounter with the poor God, present in our midst in Jesus of Nazareth: a humble and hidden presence that the Poverello adores and contemplates in the incarnation, in the Cross and in the Eucharist. On the other hand, we know that one of the evangelical images that most impressed Francis is that of the washing of the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper.[4]

Franciscan minority is presented for you as a place of encounter and of communion with God; as a place of encounter and of communion with your brethren, and with all men and women; and finally, as a place of encounter and communion with creation.

Minority as a place of encounter with God

Minority characterizes in a special way your relationship with God. For Saint Francis, man has nothing of his own other than his own sin, and is worth as much as he is worth before God, nothing more. Therefore your relationship with Him must be that of a child: humble and trusting and, like that of the publican in the Gospel, aware of his sin. And beware of spiritual pride, of Pharisaic pride: it is the worst form of worldliness.

A characteristic of your spirituality is that of being a spirituality of restitution to God. All the good that is in us and that we can do is a gift from Him, He Who for Saint Francis was God, “all good, the supreme good”,[5] and all must be restored to the “most high, all powerful, good Lord”.[6] We do so through praise, that leads us to come out of ourselves to encounter others and to welcome them in our life.

Minority as a place of encounter with brethren and with all men and women

Minority is lived first of all in the relationship with the brothers that God has give us.[7] How? By avoiding any behaviour of superiority. This means uprooting easy judgments on others and speaking badly of our brothers behind their backs[8] – this is in the “Admonitions”! – rejecting the temptation to use authority to suppress others; avoiding making others pay for the favours we do for them, while seeing those others do for us as owed to us; turning away from anger and unease at the sin of our brother.[9]

Minority is lived as an expression of the poverty you have professed,[10] when one cultivates a spirit of non-appropriation in relations; when one values the positive that is in the other, as a gift that comes from the Lord; when, especially ministers, exercise the service of authority with mercy, as is magnificently expressed in the Letter to a Minister,[11] the best explanation that Francis offers of what it means to be minor in relation to the brothers entrusted to him. Without mercy there is neither fraternity nor minority.

The need to express your fraternity in Christ ensures that your interpersonal relationships follow the dynamism of charity, so while justice leads you to recognize the rights of each person, charity transcends these rights and calls you to fraternal communion; because it is not rights that you love, but brothers, whom you must welcome with respect, understanding and mercy. Brothers are important, not structures.

Minority must also be lived in relation with all the men and women you encounter in your travels in the world, avoiding with the greatest care any attitude of superiority that may distance you from others. Saint Francis expressed this demand clearly in two chapters of the Regula non bullata, where he links the decision not to appropriate anything (to live sine proprio) with the benevolent welcome to every person, to the point of sharing life with the most despised, with those who are considered truly the least of society: “Let the friars beware of themselves, wherever they have been … that they appropriate no place for themselves nor defend it against another. And whoever has come to them, friend or adversary, thief or brigand, let him be kindly received”.[12] And also, “And they ought to rejoice, when they conduct themselves among vile and despised persons, among the poor and weak and infirm and lepers and those begging along the road”.[13]

Francis’ words urge you to ask, as a fraternity: where are we? With whom are we? With whom are we in relation? Whom are our favourites? And, given that minority calls not only to the fraternity but each of its members, it is appropriate for each person to carry out an examination of conscience on his own style of life; on his expenses, on his robes, on what he considers necessary, on his own devotion to others, on fleeing from the spirit of caring too much about oneself, also one’s own fraternity.

And please, when you carry out an activity for the “little ones”, the excluded and the least among us, do not do so from a pedestal of superiority. Think rather that all you do for them is a way of recompensing what you have freely received. As Francis admonishes in his Letter sent to the whole Order, “Keep nothing of yourselves for yourselves”.[14] Make a welcoming and available space so that all the minors of your time may enter into your life: the marginalized, men and women who live on our streets, in parks and stations; the thousands of unemployed, young and adults; many sick people who have no access to adequate care; many abandoned elderly; mistreated women; migrants in search of a worthy life; all those who live in the existential peripheries, deprived of dignity and also of the light of the Gospel.

Open your hearts and embrace the lepers of our time and, after having become aware of the mercy that the Lord has used towards you,[15] use mercy with them, just as your father Saint Francis used it;[16] and, like him, learn to be “infirm with the infirm, afflicted with the afflicted”.[17] All this, far from being a vague sentiment, indicates a relationship between people so profound that, transforming your heart, it will lead you to share their destiny with them.

Minority as a place of encounter with creation

For the Saint of Assisi, creation was “magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of His infinite beauty and goodness”.[18] Creation is “like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us”.[19]

Today – as we know – this sister and mother rebels because she feels mistreated. Faced with the global degradation of the environment, I ask you as sons of the Poverello to engage in dialogue with all creation, giving your voice to praise the Creator, and as Saint Francis did, take particular care over this, overcoming any economic calculation or irrational romanticism. Collaborate with various initiatives for the care of our common home, always remembering the close relationship there is between the poor and the fragility of the planet, between economics, development, care for creation and the option for the poor.[20]

Dear brothers, I renew Saint Francis’ request: be minor. May God keep and nurture your minority.

Upon you all I invoke the Lord’s blessing. And please, do not forget to pray for me.

Thank you.

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[1] 6,3: FF 23.

[2] Cf 1Cel 38: FF 386.

[3] Letter to the bishop of Assisi for the Inauguration of the Shrine of Renunciation, 16 April 2017.

[4] Cf. Regula non bullata, 6, 4: FF 23. Admonitions 4, 2: FF 152.

[5] Praise to God Most High, 3: FF 261.

[6] Canticle of the Sun, 1: FF 263.

[7] Cf. Testament, 14: FF 116.

[8] Cf. Admonitions, 25: FF 174.

[9] Cf. ibid., 11: FF 160.

[10] Cf. Regula bullata, 1, 1: FF 75; Admonitions, 11: FF 160.

[11] Cf. FF 234-237.

[12] 7, 13-14; FF 26.

[13] 9,2 FF 30.

[14] 2,29: FF 221.

[15] Cf. 1 Cel 26: FF 363.

[16] Cf. TestamentFF 110-131.

[17] Legend of the Three Companions, 59: FF 1470.

[18] Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, 12.

[19] Ibid, 1.

[20] Cf. ibid., 15-16.

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