The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Commission of the Custody of the Holy Land initiated recently encounter and dialogue, first, among the postulants in Montefalco on January 28, then, among the novices in La Verna on January 30-31.
As part of its task to promote and animate among friars the values of JPIC as essential to Franciscan vocation, the Commission directed its attention to collaboration with the houses of initial formation through fraternal encounter and dialogue.
The commission’s delegation, headed by its president fr. John Luke Gregory and joined by its members fr. Carlos Molina and fr. Mark Vertido Palafox (other members of the JPIC commission are fr. Mario Hadchiti and fr. Samhar Ishak) started each meeting with an introduction to JPIC values and activities at the different levels in the Order of Friars Minor. In connection to this, fr. John Luke and fr. Carlos shared their experiences and the reflections from the JPIC International Council of the Order in Petropolis, Brazil (November 21-27, 2022).
Talking about the JPIC activities in the Custody made clear that the vocation of each friar in the Holy Land is not limited to the guarding of the holy places, which remains the essential component of the mission in these territories, but is also a life immersed in the daily pursuit of justice and peace through the various social and charitable services like housing, education, or elderly home, and through ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
Aside from these, the Custody is also engaged in welcoming migrants and refugees in Rhodes or in spiritual assistance to migrant workers in Tel Aviv and in places. In the context of war and conflict, the Custody, through the initiative of the friars in Aleppo, founded in 2017 the Franciscan Care Center's post-traumatic war treatment program for children, which was recognized by Petropolis Council urging the establishment of such center in other parts of the world.
After the general introduction and a deepening of the JPIC, a small-group sharing was included allowing the active participation of everyone was included. This aimed to identify social or environmental problems in the local level and to find possible solutions. A presentation to the bigger group followed after.
To complete the general introduction to JPIC, the postulants and novices were also invited to read the prepared summary of the two encyclical letters of Pope Francis, which are Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti.
In the following period, the other houses of initial formation will be visited by the Commission to continue to promote and raise awareness of JPIC.
Fra Mark Vertido Palafox
Secretary of Commission GPIC