“Greta Thunberg warns: “Time to panic! Why 3 Brexit summits? Time for “Notre Dame cathedral thinking”

Greta meeting Pope Francis

You’re probably familiar with Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old who has galvanized global strikes for the climate. Recently she met Pope Francis at the Vatican after his weeekly audience on wednesday. Accompanied by Tomas Insua, the Executive director of GCCM, She carried a sign reading “Join the Climate Strike,” which she showed the Pope after he greeted her.

A day earlier, Thunberg urged European Union leaders to “panic” about climate change, as she addressed a committee of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. She went on to condemn politicians for spending their time “arguing about taxes or Brexit” in the face of a building climate crisis. “Our house is falling apart, and our leaders need to start acting accordingly,” Thunberg said. “If our house was falling apart, our leaders wouldn’t go on like you do today. You would change almost every part of your behavior, as you do in an emergency.””If our house was falling apart, you wouldn’t hold three emergency Brexit summits, and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and environment,” she added, to applause from the committee. Greta Thunberg warns: Time To Panic!

Young Catholics around the world are taking steps to douse the flames. Together, they are the Laudato Si’ Generation, and they are mobilizing for climate justice. Members of Laudato Si’ Generation have participated in the climate strikes Greta started, and they are planning a highly visible presence in the next strike. The next climate strike will take place on May 24, the anniversary of Laudato Si’.

We invite you to spread the message of love by sharing Greta’s video on Facebook.  Like this Facebook post to take her message even further.

We pray thanks for the courageous spirit of Greta and all the young people who are taking back their future.

How good is the “Good Friday” for Refugees in Malawi

Capuchin friars leading the way of the cross in the Dzaleka refugee camp

On Good Friday 2019, refugees from Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC joined together to celebrate the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at the Dzaleka refugee Camp in Lilongwe, Malawi. Despite their difficult sitution living in a refugee camp, they came out in large numbers to commemorate the suffering and death of Jesus Christ by following “The Way of Cross” for about three Kilomiters in their shanty refugee camp. A long the way, they sang and prayed for reconciliation, love, peace, and justice in thier various countries.

Situated in southeastern Africa, Malawi is landlocked between Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. Over the last few decades, this largely agrarian nation experienced turbulent times. Despite inflation, corruption, HIV/AIDS and underdevelopment, Malawians are tenacious and remain incredibly friendly people. Despite being a poor nation, Malawi currently hosts close to 40,000 refugees. Most refugees come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

According to the UNHCR the Dzaleka refugee camp, originally built for a population of some 9,000 people now has more than tripled in size to nearly 28,000 people. Between 400 to 900 people arrive in Malawi as refugees per month.

Malaria, water shortages, dwindling food rations and respiratory infections are rampant in the encampments. Without proper funding, these and many other problems will persist. The Dzaleka camp’s health center serves a combination of 65,000 refugees and Malawians. Nearly 60 percent of the individuals cared for are Malawians.

When moving along the streets of the Dzaleka Camp, I noticed the desparation and the struggling of the people. I think more needs to be done to support them. The Malawian government and a few NGOs support the refugees including the UNHCR, and the Jesuits Refugee Services- JRS. The Capuchin friars in Malawi in collaboration with the Arch-Diocese of Lilongwe support the refugees through social-work including spiritual and pastoral care by the celebration of Holy Mass and other sacraments.

Many Catholics and other Christians joined in the Way of the Cross



New York Times features the work of Fr. Mike Crosby OFMCap and SGI on climate change!

A significant article in the New York Times this morning begins with interactions between the late Fr. Mike Crosby, O.F.M., Cap. and then Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Read it here!

Global Catholic Climate Movement

A few weeks ago, over 1 million young people joined climate strikes around the world. They marched for a solution to the crisis that threatens
their future. An outpouring of support will lift the spirits of those who
look to us for hope. Host an Earth Day event.

Catholic events strengthen our community and much more. They are visible signs of progress in a world hungry for change.

We’ve created resources to help you tell the story of your community’s
leadership for Earth Day–including a template social media post, a flyer, and more. They’re all free of charge right here.

This short video showcases Earth Day resources and how to register your event.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05S0zRyeum8&feature=youtu.be

There is less than a month left until Earth Day. This Earth Day we’re
lifting up forests, especially those in the Amazon, and the communities
that protect them. Register now to host an eventHost an event 

From Cape Town to Costa Rica, India to Indiana, Catholics are uniting to
protect the vulnerable people and places we love. Visible Catholic
leadership in your community will do a world of good. On behalf of all
those who are looking to us with hope, thank you for taking action today.

Here is the link to register: https://catholicclimatemovement.global/earth-day-2019/  

Marisa for GCCMP

FRANCISCANS INTERNATIONAL BEGINS 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS

2019 marks Franciscans International’s 30th anniversary and it is being celebrated in three phases: in Geneva (March), in Rome and Assisi (July) and in New York (November).

Minister General, Br. Michael A. Perry, was present at the Geneva event.  At the Mass on 16th March 2019, he shared the following words in his homily:

Following the example of St. Francis of Assisi, Franciscans International began 30 years ago as a concrete response of Franciscan men and women, religious and lay, who had witnessed firsthand the consequences of social exclusion, violence, abuse of fundamental human rights. These same Franciscans also recognized that violence leaves no one unscathed: oppressed and oppressor alike. Recognizing the potential for collaboration between the core elements of Franciscan spirituality and its vision of the human person and the natural environment, and the core values enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, FI has worked tirelessly to promote a constant dialogue between spiritual and humanistic values seeking strategic areas for joining forces, thus forging bonds of cooperation for the advancement of all peoples and protection of our endangered planet.

The words of the Gospel writer, “love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you,” (cf. Mt. 5:44-45) are as relevant today as ever to the mission of Franciscans International, and even to that of the United Nations. They challenge all those who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all who self-identify as people of faith, to enter into the ‘fray’ of the human struggle for life, peace, security, dignity, fundamental rights, and the promotion of a world where all peoples might share in the fruits of the earth. These are not words referring to some unattainable utopian dream having nothing to do with the reality of human existence, its inequalities, its sufferings. Rather, they are prophetic words declaring to all peoples in every age the true destiny of all of human life, human societies, and the natural environment.

Franciscans International (FI) is a non-profit, international non-governmental human rights organisation established in 1989. Its staff consists of professionals of diverse backgrounds working to translate grassroots voices in human rights advocacy action at the United Nations level. Franciscans International seeks to promote and protect human rights and environmental justice. 

The Significance of The Pope’s Visit in Morocco – Celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the Encounter Between St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan

Pope Francis’ visit to Morocco carries strong symbolic significance because it commemorates the 800th anniversary of the meeting between Saint Francis of Assisi and the Sultan Malik al-Kamil of Damietta, thus representing the constant desire for dialogue and cordial relations between Catholicism and Islam. This trip follows the recent visit to United Arab Emirates during which importance of interfaith relations was highlighted, opening a new page in Christian-Muslim relations, dusting off latent tensions and distance that had characterized them.

Following the example of St. Francis and that of Pope Francis, the Capuchin Franciscan friars who serve in several Muslim- majority countries, have organized several events this year to commemorate the 800th anniversary. These include:

World Water Day 2019: A Message by Pope Francis

On the occasion of World Water Day, which takes place today 22 March, the Holy Father Pope Francis sent a message to Prof. José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO.

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development gratefully welcomes the Message of the Holy Father and invites  Episcopal Conferences and institutions working on water-related issues to contribute to its dissemination through this press release:

Communiqué of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

on the Occasion of the World Water Day-
March 22nd, 2019

Every year, the United Nations celebrate the World Water Day on March 22nd. Many institutions and organisations from different countries celebrate this event, in order to give more visibility to the many, complex, and often worrying water issues.

This year, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has decided through this Communiqué to support the celebrations that are taking place, since the theme chosen by the UN for March 22nd, 2019 is very meaningful and symbolic: “Leaving no one behind”.

We welcome with gratitude the Message that the Holy Father has addressed to the FAO for this Day, and would like to invite the Bishops’ Conferences and institutions addressing water issues to contribute to its dissemination.

The parable of the shepherd who sets on to seek for the lost sheep[1]; the emphasis of evangelical teachings on the loving care for the poor, the humble, and the marginalised[2]; and the social implications of the Christian faith[3] make us long for truly nobody to be left behind in terms of access to drinking water. In fact, it is worth using ambitious parameters: «regular, continuous access to drinking water that is economically, legally and truly accessible and acceptable from the viewpoint of usability» [4].

Access to drinking water, as well as access to sanitization services [5], was recognized a right by the General Assembly of the United Nations, back in 2010[6], when for a number of years the Holy See, some countries and several civil society organisations had already been asking for such a recognition. Since then, many States have included this right in their national legal systems, as enshrined also in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and as acknowledged in 2017 also by a judgement of the Superior Court of Justice of Brazil that has even unusually – one might say – quoted the encyclical Laudato si’. In line with the social teachings of previous Pontiffs, as well as with the diplomatic statements of the Holy See, indeed this encyclical of Pope Francis re-iterates that: «access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity» [7].

It is an unquestionable duty of States – regardless of their political system, and/or their economic and technological capacity – to do their best for the entire population to truly enjoy such a right. Governments and public administrations may decide to opt for services provided by private sector agencies or associations, to contribute to the universal access to drinking water. This, however, should in no way reduce the Government’s responsibility towards society at large: «public authorities have the task of settings norms and controls» [8], and oversee the action of the actors involved in water management. At the same time, the public authority should also guarantee the respectful use of water, avoiding pollution and waste, without forgetting that it is a resource essential to life in general, and to several biomes, and not only to human existence. In the light of the principle of subsidiarity [9], then, there is a need for local communities to be – wherever possible and relevant, and however always under due scrutiny of public authorities – able to manage their access to drinking water. This implies assessing the needs, monitoring the quality of water available, and providing for the funding and maintenance of infrastructure. The initiatives taken by the Catholic Church in this direction are many-fold in several developing countries.

The appeal “Leaving no one behind” implies a special care for the poor, the people living in rural or far away mountain areas, those who are in situations of chaotic and dangerous migration, or who have found a shelter in refugee camps; for the population whose traditional sources of water supply have been polluted or depleted owing to excessive pumping; for prisoners, orphans; for those who are stigmatized or marginalized for ethnic, cultural reasons, or due to sickness or diseases.

With reference to this, our Dicastery considers access to drinking water in schools and healthcare centres (hospitals, clinics, outpatient dispensaries), namely those owned and managed by the Catholic Church, to be a priority. We therefore encourage monitoring actions in schools and in the aforementioned healthcare centres, to promote the following:

·         Access to drinking water;

·         Access to sanitation (taking into account the specific situations of people with physical disabilities);

·         The state of relevant infrastructure;

·         Hygiene procedures, as well as controlling and maintenance procedures for the infrastructure.

Meanwhile, measures are to be taken aimed at improving the aforementioned elements wherever needed, for example: the construction of infrastructure, the sharing of technology, the development and updating of procedures.

And this because the terrible statistics about thirst are not to be considered a fatality without remedies, whereas engineering and managerial knowledge is already there to allow for the supply of water even in the most remote areas, including on the high seas. And also because water management cannot depend upon «a utilitarian criterion of efficiency and productivity for individual profit» [10], because such a view would mean considering it as any other commodity, to be provided only to those who can pay, even though they would use it for secondary goals, and to build infrastructure only in areas able to reimburse the investment cost: such a view opposes the universal destination of water.

Access to drinking water as a common good is one of the pre-conditions for the wellbeing of the entire human family[11]. Access to water is not an end in itself, but a condition for life to flourish, in order to have «life to the full»[12].

[1] See the Gospel according to Luke 15, 4-7.

[2] See the Gospel according to Mark 10, 46-49; according to Luke 1, 52-53; according to Matthew 25, 34-40.

[3] See Pope Francis, Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, chapter 4.

[4] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Water, An essential element for life. Designing Sustainable Solutions. An Update, Contribution of the Holy See to the 6th World Water Forum, held in Marseille in March 2012.

[5] The issue of access to sanitation, mainly promoted by the World Health Organization, receives less attention than access to water. Yet, it is of paramount importance for several reasons such as people’s intimacy and safety, as well as public health and pollution. Hence, it cannot be overlooked nor considered a taboo.

[6] Resolution 64/292 dated July, 28th 2010.

[7] Encyclical letter Laudato si’, § 30.

[8] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Water, An essential element for life. Designing Sustainable Solutions. An Update, Contribution of the Holy See to the 6th World Water Forum, held in Marseille in March 2012.

[9] See the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, § 185-189; Benedict XVI, Encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, § 47 e 57.

[10] Laudato si’, § 159.

[11] See the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, § 164-166.

[12] The Gospel according to John 10, 10.

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MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS ON THE OCCASION OF THE “WORLD WATER DAY 2019”