“But any kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” (Gaudium Et Spes: The Church in the Modern World, Vatican II, 1965, #29)
Statement from the United States Secular Franciscan Youth and Young Adult Commission Regarding Racism and Our Responsibility to Young People
Saint Francis of Assisi devoted his life to rebuilding the Church, healing wounds, and bringing peace as well as dignity to all. Secular Franciscans are called to follow in his footsteps. Living Christ-centered lives is essential, especially in light of racism that permeates our society. We are called to seek the divine seed in all God’s children and strive for unity. Racism only brings hatred where there should be love and is counter to our Franciscan charism.
The Franciscan Youth and Young Adult (FY/YA) Commission challenges our brothers and sisters to animate young people in this important work. In order to do that, we must prepare ourselves first. Recent events have forced all of us to identify systemic racism in society. It is not enough to simply say this is a problem for someone else. The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, which we profess to live, demands that we “be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of [our] human lives and [our] courageous initiatives.” (art. 15) We see many young people already participating in social justice action, and they need our presence, Christian example, and support. It is important that young people know their stance against racism is valid. Secular Franciscans are called to help them discern an appropriate response based on a gospel perspective. Through study, dialogue, and prayer we have a responsibility to grow in our own Franciscan charism and our knowledge of Catholic Social Teaching. Only then can we walk confidently with our young people as we confront difficult issues together.
We are specifically directed by our Rule to “foster communion with” youth and young adults, and to adopt “appropriate means for growth in Franciscan and ecclesial life.” (art. 24) In other words, we invite youth and young adults on the journey toward finding Christ within themselves and others. They are hungry for change. Secular Franciscans need to be ready to support young people as they discern their role in society, the Church, and the world.
Some Secular Franciscans may not currently be working with official youth fraternities (YouFra). However, genuine relationships found in our families, among our friends, and in our fraternities should not be discounted. When the Holy Spirit creates an opportunity for dialogue or action, we need not be afraid. If we are properly prepared, we are able to listen with openness in our hearts and speak the truth with love and peace, “For the Holy Spirit will teach [us] at that moment what [we] should say.” (Luke 12:12)
This is a time to work together in assisting our youth and young adults in achieving their own goals against the evils of racism. The FY/YA Commission is committed to educating ourselves and then stepping forward in solidarity with our young people, remaining faithful to our Franciscan spirituality. We ask that you consider the same challenge.
MONTHLY INTENTIONS OF PRAYER OFS-YOUFRA
To underline the communion with the Pope, we offer the intention of the Holy Father for the month and an intention for OFS according to the life and important events of the Order.
Local Fraternities pray for both.
|January||For true human fraternity – We pray for all those suffering from religious discrimination and persecution; may their own rights and dignity be recognized, which originate from being brothers and sisters in the human family.
OFS: For the national fraternities of Benin, Togo, and Costa Rica. Our Father…
|February||For religious sisters and consecrated women – We pray for religious sisters and consecrated women; thanking them for their mission and their courage; may they continue to find new responses to the challenges of our times.
OFS: For the national fraternities of Argentina and Venezuela. Our Father…
|March||For a Christian response to bioethical challenge – We pray for Christians facing new bioethical challenges; may they continue to defend the dignity of all human life with prayer and action.
OFS: For the national fraternities of Austria, Bolivia, Portugal, and Romania and for the success of the school of formation in Argentina. Our Father…
|April||For health care workers – We pray for health care workers who serve the sick and the elderly, especially in the poorest countries; may they be adequately supported by governments and local communities.
OFS: For the CIOFS Presidency and for the national fraternity of Cuba. Our Father…
|May||For faith-filled young people – We pray for all young people, called to live life to the fullest; may they see in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage that faith generates, and the dedication to service.
OFS: For the fraternity of Canada. Our Father…
|June||For families – We pray for Christian families around the world; may they embody and experience unconditional love and advance in holiness in their daily lives.
OFS: For the national fraternity of El Salvador. Our Father…
|July||For the elderly – We pray for the elderly, who represent the roots and memory of a people; may their experience and wisdom help young people to look towards the future with hope and responsibility.
OFS: For the unity and cooperation and collaboration of local and National fraternities. Our Father…
|August||For small businesses – We pray for small and medium-sized businesses; in the midst of economic and social crisis, may they find ways to continue operating, and serving their communities.
OFS: For the national fraternity of Brazil. Our Father…
|September||For the abolition of the death penalty – We pray that the death penalty, which attacks the dignity of the human person, may be legally abolished in every country.
OFS: For the whole world suffering from Covid-19 disease, and especially for health workers. Our Father…
|October||For a Church open to everyone – We pray for the Church; ever faithful to, and courageous in preaching the Gospel, may the Church be a community of solidarity, fraternity, and welcome, always living in an atmosphere of synodality.
OFS: For the national fraternities of the USA and France. Our Father…
|November||For children who suffer – We pray for children who are suffering, especially those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war; may they be guaranteed access to education and the opportunity to experience family affection.
OFS: For the CIOFS Presidency. Our Father…
|December||For volunteer not-for-profit organizations – We pray that volunteer nonprofit organizations committed to human development find people dedicated to the common good and ceaselessly seek out new paths to international cooperation.
OFS: For better collaboration between OFS and YouFra in the World. Our Father…