Climate Pilgrimage From the Vatican to Katowice, Poland for COP24

Pilgrims started the walk  with a prayer from St. Peter’s Square, Vatican

On October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, we embarked on the climate pilgrimage from St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican to Katowice, Poland, the site of this year’s UN climate talks, COP24. The 1500 Km (950 Miles)  walk will last for over 30 days with several climate advocacy events scheduled along the way to Katowice. Prior to our departure from the Vatican, we had prayers and blessings led by Fr. Don Francesco Pesce, the Vicar of the Diocese of Rome. We also had a few words of encouragement from Yeb Saño, the former lead climate negotiator for the Philippines and the leader of The Climate Pilgrimage. You might recall the devastation of the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 6,000 people and was likely made more powerful by climate change. Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan are among the pilgrims. They are marching in solidarity with the most vulnerable people and lifting up a strong cry for climate justice.

Three hours into our first day’s journey, we stopped for an online ecumenical prayer service that was organized by the Global Catholic Climate movement and joined by Christian and environmental leaders from around the world.

The Climate Pilgrimage shares a message of care for creation along the way encouraging communities to address the core message and calls to action in the way that best suits the local contexts.  Wherever we stop to rest we take the opportunity to meet the local community to listen and to share with them our call for climate justice. More information about the pilgrims’ call to action is here.  Several days into the journey we have walked and had conversations with people in different communities along the way including Anguillara Sabazia, Campagnano di Roma, Romita di Cesi, Spoleto, Trevi,  Foligno, Assisi, etc see the Italian part of the journey. 

The pilgrims meeting locals along the way

We are on this pilgrimage because we want to raise a prophetic voice for action on climate change. Grounded in the values of the Catholic faith, we want to urge leaders to act in courage and love to protect the Earth. Achieving this vision will protect people around the world, especially the most vulnerable.

Our pilgrimage is guided by laudato si,’ Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on climate change and ecology. Many of us pilgrims are Catholic, and all of us are grateful for the wisdom in the encyclical, which is addressed to “every person living on this planet.” (3)
Laudato Si’ encourages us to see that “a great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of
renewal.” (202) We pray for the healing of humanity’s spirit. We pray for justice for the poor and vulnerable, who are disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate
change–its dirtier air, sicker families, more extreme weather, and growing hunger.
Laudato Si’ draws us toward an “ecological conversion,” in which the values of our
faith–love of our Creator, love for our neighbours– is demonstrated in how we preserve
the resources of our common home. (216) We pray for ecological conversion among people of faith and all people of good will.

As I walk along with other pilgrims from different parts of the world praying, singing and admiring the mountains, valleys, trees, flowers, birds, and the people we meet along the way, I realize, like Saint Francis, the beauty of creation and the image of God in each one of them. I am reminded of  St. Francis’  Canticle of creatures and his view of “cosmic fraternity”, the idea that all creatures have dignity in them and so we need to treat them as our brother and sister.

As they walk, pilgrims get in touch with the creation of God

A Swahili proverb says  Mwenda pole hajikwai. “He who moves forward slowly does not trip” so our pilgrimage went forward slowly but surely.  Walking, we discovered that the world desperately needs dreamers who bring together their individual dreams. Hopes that unite the different people. People who bring together actions, small gestures, good practices. Everyone who can help to stop climate change.

Why do we walk? Because as Erlin Kagge, a Norwegian writer, says: “I put my shoes on. I let my thoughts wander a bit. And now I’m sure of one thing: putting one foot in front of the other is one of the most important actions we can perform. So let’s go.”FOCSIV Italia,

climate pilgrimage, ben
As we walk, we carry with us people’s prayers written on ribbons praying for climate justice



Ben Ayodi OFMCap



Honduran Migrant Caravan accommodated at a Capuchin Pastoral centre as they move to the US border.

A carivan of migrants to the US
Honduran migrants make their way to the US

A group of more than 4,000 Honduran migrants who are attempting to reach the US border overland have crossed into with Guatemala – despite warnings that they would be turned away at the border.   Singing the Honduran national anthem, praying and chanting, “Yes, we can,” the group, who say they are fleeing violence and poverty, crossed the border on Monday afternoon and headed towards the city of Esquipulas.
“We are not criminals, we are migrants… Like the ancient Israelites, the Honduran people are walking in their exodus, fleeing from political and economic slavery imposed by corruption and the deterioration of government systems. There are many forced migrations and in Latin America these migrations are marking the current history” Agenzia Fides

The migrant caravan has swelled from about 1,500 to 4,000  since setting out last week from San Pedro Sula, which has become one of the world’s most dangerous cities thanks to a toxic combination of gang and state-sponsored violence, corruption and impunity.

In  Chiquimula, Guatemala, the big group was received well at the Capuchin pastoral centre. The Capuchin friars at the centre provided vital necessities including food, water, medicine, accommodation and other amenities before the group moved to the next town.

Shelters and churches along the border have been flooded as a result of the surge as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have been releasing hundreds of migrants from detention at a time.

hondurus migrants
Migrants at the Capuchin pastoral centre in Chiquimula, Guatemala

The group includes dozens of families with infants and children who hope travelling in numbers will reduce the risk posed by criminal gangs that prey on vulnerable migrants. The passage through Mexico is one of the world’s most perilous migration corridor.  Rampant violence and poverty in Central America continue to force people to abandon their homes in search of safety and jobs. Honduras remains one of the most dangerous countries in central America.

Many of the Hondurans travelling in the caravan are children, some travelling with their parents and some without.  Because children are afforded special protections in the United States, their arrival is creating anxiety within the Trump administration, which has pledged to decrease illegal immigration. President Donald Trump said last week that he would consider separating migrant families at the border once again, after reversing his controversial “zero tolerance” policy in June. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is tracking the caravan as the Hondurans make their way north toward the U.S. border.

Benayodi OFMCap

Source: Agenzia Fides

In the footsteps of St. Francis: Capuchin friars promote peaceful co-existence in Pakistan.

Fr. Francis Nadeem
Muslim and Christian Children express a desire for peace and harmony through Paintings Lahore (5 Oct 2018)

Children from different schools including Islamic seminaries of Lahore expressed their ambitions for peace through paintings and artistic, models during an Art Exhibition held at St. Mary’s High School, Gulberg, Lahore.  This significant occasion was organized by the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue & Ecumenism (Catholic Bishops’ Conference – Pakistan).

Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap (Executive Secretary National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue & Ecumenism), Br. Faisal Francis OFM Cap, Moulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom, Moulana Mufti Ashiq Hussain and Moulana Muhammad Mukhtar were the Chief guests of the occasion. The guests inaugurated the Peace Art Exhibition by cutting the ribbon.

In his message, Fr. Francis Nadeem emphasized the need for the promotion of peace and tolerance. He expressed that today the entire world is in the grip of terrorism. In our motherland, the situation is also terrible. He appealed to the entire nation to be united and work together for the restoration of peace, progress and stability of the country.  He said that we are one nation and it is our national duty to contribute our efforts for this dignified cause.

Moulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom and Mulana Mufti Ashiq Hussain appreciated the emotions and ambitions of the children while watching the paintings and posters on the subject of peace. The celebration ended with the prayer of peace. The prayer was led by Br. Faisal Francis OFM Cap.

Feast of St. Francis: Online prayer service


Every October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis celebrates the saint who saw all created beings as his brother or sister. Please join us for an online prayer service to celebrate the feast of St. Francis, the last day in the Season of Creation. Yeb Saño, former lead climate negotiator for the Philippines and one of the pilgrims on The ClimatePilgrimage, will speak. He will be joined by Christian and environmental leaders from around the world in prayer and reflection to celebrate the closing of the season.

Date: 4 October

Time: 9:00 AM Eastern (please see your local time here)

Please register here.   If you are not able to join us for the prayer service, please register to receive a recording.

full program Oct 4 2018 Online Prayer Service

Hope in Puerto Rico


Almost exactly one year ago, the people of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, were devastated by a hurricane that was likely made more powerful by climatechange.  Mudslides swept away homes and roads, there was little food or water for weeks, and many people went without electricity for months. In total, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives.

The photo above was taken at a Season of Creation event in Morovis, Puerto Rico, a town where the hurricane knocked down trees, destroyed homes, and disrupted electricity supply—electricity was fully restored only after an eight-month wait.

With the help of local friars, the people of Morovis are finding hope in their faith. As for so many of us, during the Season of Creation they share prayer and action together. As they rebuild from this hurricane and look ahead to the hurricanes to come, their unity and faith are a blessing.

I invite you to take a moment to pray with me.

Creator God, thank you for the good gift of your creation.
Please help us protect it and the people who share it:
Our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico
And those who live in all the nations of the world.
Thank You for the people who gather in Your name
To honor You and to serve “the least of these”
During this Season of Creation
And throughout the year.

PS: If you’ve planned a Season of Creation event but haven’t registered it yet, please register it now.

Tomas Insua, GCCM

Season of Creation

This week, we’re reminded why our participation in the Season of Creation is so important. Two major storms–Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut–have taken precious lives.

Typhoon Mangkhut hit the Philippines, where 59 of our most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers died, most of them buried in landslides. Hurricane Florence struck the East Coast of the United States, killing 16 people. Storms like these are likely to be increasingly powerful because of climate change.

Over the weekend, Pope Francis tweeted “Let us deal with climate change through international cooperation: each person’s choices have repercussions on the life of everyone.”

Pope Francis is lifting his voice for creation. This Season of Creation, Christians around the world are doing the same.


On October 3, the day before the Feast of St. Francis, pilgrimage will take the first steps of a 1,500-kilometer (almost 950-mile) journey for climate justice.

They are starting at the Vatican and walking all the way to Katowice, Poland, where the UN climate talks will be held. These talks will cement the next stage in the Paris agreement, and there’s a lot up for discussion.

Pilgrims are walking to send the message that Christians around the world want to solve the climate crisis. Coming from the Philippines, the Pacific Islands, and across central and Eastern Europe, they are walking in unity to call for action that protects our most vulnerable sisters and brothers.

In the coming weeks, we’ll share information about how you can add your voice to the pilgrimage. For now, we ask you to please consider making a donation to support it.


The Global Climate Action Summit just wrapped up in San Francisco. Leaders from the fields of business, education, and faith came together to show that they are taking action now, and to call on governments to catch up.

Catholics’ voices were heard loud and clear, sharing prayers and action throughout the week-long event.


Across the globe, Christians are lifting their voices for the Season of Creation. From this op-ed that was written by Anglican bishops from four continents to this op-ed that was written by a Catholic priest in Mexico, our leaders are sharing a message of hope and urgency for the season.

You’re invited to raise your voice by writing a letter to the editor for your local newspaper.  Letters to the editor are a surprisingly effective way of reaching local policy makers. More information is here.

Through the prophet Isaiah, we hear the Lord say “You are my witnesses.”

We witness to God’s love for all people, especially the most vulnerable. We call on each other and our leaders to embody this love by protecting the common home we share.

PS: If you’ve planned a Season of Creation event but haven’t registered it yet, please register it now.

Tomás Insua
Executive Director
Global Catholic Climate Movement


Audience of Pope Francis with the Chapter Participants

Message of the General Minister, Br. Roberto Genuin, to the Holy Father

Holy Father,

We Capuchin friars gathered for the 85th General Chapter are deeply grateful for this opportunity to meet with you that you have benevolently granted. We offer you our fraternal thanks and we wish to renew, into your hands, in the manner and with the words of St. Francis of Assisi, the profession of “obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope.” (Earlier Rule, prologue, 3)

All the brothers of the Order, here represented by the brother capitulars, express their cordial closeness to you and, as you never fail to ask, remember you in their daily prayer to the Lord that He might support and strengthen you in your apostolic ministry, even when trials and tribulations make themselves felt.

“Come, learn from me … and you will find rest.” (Mt 11:29) These were the words of Christ that guided the brother capitulars in these days of brotherhood and reflection. Moved by the desire to be ever more his true disciples in our time, we studied and discussed in particular the topic of the Ratio formationis for the whole Order. The text, having been in development for a long time with collaboration from the various expressions of our life in the world, saw us unquestionably united and in agreement about the values that characterize our identity and charism, and that we can sum up in the terms fraternity and minority.

Holy Father, the Capuchin Order has begun to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the day when Pope Clement VII, on July 3, 1528, authorized a group of friars to live sine glossa the Rule and Testament of St. Francis of Assisi. Five hundred years marked by a great number of brothers, canonized saints and everyday saints, blesseds given this title by the Church and blesseds kept in the secret of the heart of the Capuchin brotherhood, all intensely drawn in and in love with the gaze of the Crucified, which is the same gaze of God’s Love for humanity.

So seduced, they dedicated their lives to an industrious charity, to welcome and to closeness to all, in a continual going out of themselves in order to make a return on the gift they had received. This is why the Capuchin friars have always been known as friars of the people, not closed in their own relationship with Christ, as precious and fertile as this is, but able to give back with simplicity and generosity what they themselves have received, going out to meet all kinds of people and making known to the men and women they met that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is truly good news, and brings peace and joy to those who receive it.

As you, Holy Father have remarked, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. […] With Christ joy is constantly born anew.” (Evangelii gaudium, 1)

Therefore, we Capuchin friars are moved again today to put ourselves and our international fraternity at the service of the Church and the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are moved anew to go out to meet the world, among those who have forgotten or rejected Him as well as those who do not yet know Him, that the joy of the Gospel may reach everyone.

Beloved Father, we thank you very much for your fraternal closeness, for your evangelical courage, and in a special way, for the push to renew our religious life and the charism we have received, putting these at the service of the Church and its mission in the world. We assure you of our great esteem and our constant prayer, that the Spirit may support and strengthen the flame that, through you, is being lit in the Church and in the consecrated life in particular.

Holy Father, we are eager to listen to your words today. May they guide and confirm us in our will to persevere in the propositum vitae that the Lord inspired in Brother Francis and the “the Lord Pope confirmed” (Testament, 15) by his apostolic authority.

And before we continue our journey, I ask for your paternal blessing. I ask for myself at the beginning of my service as General Minister, and I ask for all the Capuchin brothers throughout the one hundred and ten nations of the world where we are present, that each, strengthened in his own purpose, might live poverty in gladness, chastity in fidelity, and obedience with joy, ready to let himself be approached by Christ, our joy and our hope.

Br. Roberto Genuin, OFM Cap.
General Minister

Rome, 14 September 2018
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Who is Br. Roberto Genuin, the New Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchins

Rome, September 3. At 9:30 in the morning all the friar capitulars gathered in the church of the International College for a special liturgy and a prayer for the election of the new Minister. In order to recall to those present that minister is a service to the brothers, a passage was read from the gospel of Matthew (20:20-28) as well as the section from The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul in which our holy father Francis indicates the qualities that the minister must have (FA:ED II: 364-366). Then the capitulars followed the outgoing General Minister, who carried a lamp lit from the Paschal Candle, into the auditorium. There the lamp was placed before the Book of the Gospels while each took his place. The assembled capitulars then sang the Veni Creator Spiritus in order to invoke the assistance of the Spirit in this important moment in the life of the Order. Immediately following, the Chapter Secretary proceeded to the roll call and then the distribution of ballots. Following the voting, the tellers examined the ballots, the result of which was the election of Br. Roberto Genuin on the first ballot. Br. Roberto has served multiple terms as Provincial Minister of Venice. The new General Minister accepted the election by his brother capitulars and they immediately stood and offered their applause.

Curriculum Vitae

Roberto-Genuin-copiaBr. Roberto Genuin was born on September 20, 1961 in Falcade, a town in the Belluno civil province of the Italian region of Veneto, to Antonio Genuin and Valeria Adami. They were a large and practising Catholic family. He was baptized a few days later on September 24. At eleven years old he entered the Seraphic Seminary of Castelmonte (Province of Udine). He made the year of novitiate in Lendinara (Province of Adria-Rovigo). Br. Roberto made temporary religious profession on October 3, 1980 and perpetual profession on June 30, 1985. In 1986 he completed the bachelor of sacred theology summa cum laude at the Laurentianum inter-provincial theologate in Venice. Br. Roberto was then ordained priest in his home parish in Falcade on June 27, 1987. As a member of our International College in Rome from 1991 to 1996, Br. Roberto completed the research doctorate in utroque iure at the Pontifical Lateran University.
While still a deacon Br. Roberto was an animator of the Seraphic Seminary (1986-1987) and then became its director (1987-1991). After his studies in Rome, he was appointed guardian in Venice as well as assistant director and professor at the Laurentianum theologate (1996-2008). Having been elected Vicar Provincial, Br. Roberto participated in the General Chapters of 2006, 2012, and 2018 as a delegate. In 2008 he was elected Provincial Minister and then reelected in 2011. Following a reconfiguration of Provinces in 2014, he was then appointed the first Provincial Minister of the new Holy Cross Venetian Province. In 2017 Br. Roberto was appointed guardian of the friary of Rovereto.
During his service as Provincial Minister, Br. Roberto visited all the friars of his Province in Italy and abroad, where many work as missionaries or in other services to the Church in Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Brazil, Greece, Hungary, Georgia, Israel, and Switzerland. At the Order’s request, Br Roberto sent young friars not only to the provincial delegations of Greece and Hungary, but also to new presences in Georgia, Switzerland, and to the Europe Project fraternity in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Br. Roberto was an assiduous collaborator in the Commission for the revision of the Constitutions, making all the corrections to the juridical apparatus. He was also a member of the preparatory commission for the General Chapter of 2018, which then elected him General Minister.
In today’s voting (3 September 2018), during the Eighty-fifth General Chapter in Rome, Br. Roberto Genuin was elected General Minister on the first ballot.