|Memorial Day Statement
A PRAYER FOR PEACE AMONG THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM
The peace works of Secular Franciscans
2005 the National Peace and Justice Commission of the Secular
Franciscan Order created a statement for Memorial Day.
We recalled the letter the SFO Executive Council sent to
President Bush in 2003 asking him not to invade Iraq.
year, with the war continuing unabated, we recall the words of John
Paul II who said in 2003, “War is always a defeat for humanity.”
The first defeat is that the war was not avoided.
With the ease of communication among all world leaders today,
peace discussions can and should
continue to a successful conclusion.
The second defeat is the loss of life and damage to the
environment that cannot be made new again.
The third defeat is that war cannot have a successful
bitterness left after a peace treaty between victor and vanquished
will lay the foundation for the next war—very soon
or generations later.
Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in #2307: “The fifth
commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life.
Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the
Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the
divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.”
mission as followers of Jesus living the Gospel in the spirit of St.
Francis is to move toward a culture of peace.
We must see with a new vision that every human being is our
very own sister and brother. As we begin to see the world through the eyes of Christ, the
violence is appalling, and we will commit ourselves to ending it.
We will do the work of peace and contribute to the world’s
of the Franciscan family are doing the work of peace in different ways.
That is because there is not one work of peace.
Peace must be approached in various ways, as different people
are directed by the Holy Spirit.
Appendix to this statement gives examples of different ways members of
the Franciscan family do
the work of peace.
peace works of Secular Franciscans, including charity and advocacy
for justice, are well known to all of us.
are some descriptions of peace actions taken by Franciscan friars and
sisters. We realize that there are many more peace actions than these
in the Franciscan family. These
were posted on websites that we were able to locate. Even within the groups mentioned, there are sure to be other
peacemaking efforts of individuals that are not posted.
The links will take you to the websites from which the
information was taken.
Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota
held a Franciscan Peace Camp from
August 1 - 5, 2005 for 28 children ages 5 – 12.
The children learned about famous peacemakers such as Martin
Luther King, Jr. Mahatmas Gandhi, and Dorothy Day.
They learned the three steps of STOP, THINK, and ACT, rather than
hitting, back pushing or name calling.
“The way to break down violence is to learn peace at an early
age…and to practice it at every age.” http://www.fslf.org/html/jpic/fullarticles_peace.html
Franciscan Peace Center,
a ministry of the Franciscan
Province of the Scared Heart, proposes a spiritual and educational
program of transformation and concrete involvement in peacemaking
activities. In addition to prayer and contemplation, the Franciscan
Peace Center believes that the use of the principles of active
nonviolence can address the issues of violence in our society. This
approach grows out of the thought and practice of
Gandhi and its further development and use by Martin Luther King,
Jr., and others. “We find
that some of Francis' actions, though preceding the formulation of the
principle of active nonviolence, nevertheless reflected it. This is
evidenced in Francis' encounter with the Sultan and in his romanticized
taming of the Wolf of Gubbio. Active nonviolence, it seems to us, is a
true Franciscan ideal.” http://www.thefriars.org/peace/index.htm
Click on Mission Statement and Philosophy
Franciscan Peace Watch was
founded by the Dutch Franciscan friar Kees van Vliet in 1983 to
demonstrate against the placement of American nuclear cruise missiles in
the Netherlands. At first it was a group of only Franciscan friars and sisters
who were going to The Hague to participate in a peace-vigil and
demonstrations. In 1988 the
decision was made not to place the cruise missiles in the Netherlands.
The group liked what they were doing and stayed together to keep
holding vigils for peace in many other places. The Franciscan Peace
Watch uses different methods to achieve their goals.
Often there are silent vigils that can be joined by anyone who
wants to join. “Members
of the Peace Watch can be found at conferences of arms manufacturers, at
peace demonstrations, at anti-racism demonstrations and also at other
visible places in town. Sometimes there are direct causes for a vigil to
be held: the start of a violent conflict somewhere in the world, human
rights that are abused, political actions that threaten peace etc.”
Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY
Sisters of Mary commit
themselves to take corporate and public stands to effect systemic change
for the common good based upon their deeply held belief that love of
neighbor and justice cannot be separated.
The sisters commit themselves to support legislation to curtail
the availability of weapons, oppose military aggression and the
continued build-up of nuclear weapons, promote economic conversion, work
for just and humane solutions in criminal justice and oppose the death