FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

February 2, 2017

www.franciscan.org

What would Francis do?

Positive steps to support our Muslim neighbors

BY TONI CASHNELLI

PHOTO PROVIDEDAl Mascia attended last night’s meeting with hundreds of area Muslims.There’s a place in America where Muslims are not “foreign” or “them”. They’re the people next door.

Dearborn, Mich., the birthplace of Henry Ford, has the second-largest Arab population outside the Middle East. Almost a third of its 98,000 citizens are Arab-Americans or of Arab descent.

“My mother’s neighbor is an immigrant from Syria,” says Br. Al Mascia, whose Song and Spirit Institute for Peace is based in nearby Berkley, Mich. “They’re good friends. She belongs to the same church as Mom. We drive there together. We go shopping at Kroger together.”

But in all-American Dearborn, people are frightened for themselves and their families. And in the wake of last week’s anti-immigrant Executive Orders, they came together to voice their concerns. Last night, Al was one of a thousand residents,  religious and community leaders from Greater Detroit who gathered for an Emergency Town Hall Meeting at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. (Story, right.)

Song and Spirit’s ministry builds upon our shared humanity. In response to the immigration actions, “We had a meeting Monday morning about what we should do besides draw from the familiar lexicon of observations, such as, ‘Our hearts go out to the families’” affected by the ban, Al says. As a primary response, “We are going to try to advance the ‘Franciscan Model of Civil Discourse’ promoted by the Franciscan Action Network.”

PHOTO BY AL MASCIA, OFMThe “Francis Pledge”, a commitment to civility in discourse, is an acronym spelling out seven positive steps:

  • Facilitate a forum for difficult discourse and acknowledge that dialogue can lead to new insight and mutual understanding
  • Respect the dignity of all people, especially the dignity of those who hold an opposing view
  • Audit myself and utilize terms or a vocabulary of faith to unite or reconcile rather than divide conflicting positions
  • Neutralize inflamed conversations by presuming that those with whom we differ are acting in good faith
  • Collaborate with others and recognize that all human engagement is an opportunity to promote peace
  • Identify common ground such as similar values or concerns and utilize this as a foundation to build upon
  • Support efforts to clean up provocative language by calling policy makers to their sense of personal integrity

“We’re going to try that out,” Al says. “We’ll be collaborating in a civil manner – thinking critically but not spending our energy criticizing.”

Above all, “We have to be attentive.”

Muslims voice fears at Town Hall

BY BR. AL MASCIA, OFM

PHOTO BY AL MASCIA, OFMLawyer panelists explained the meaning behind the legalese.When over 1,000 people responded to the RSVP saying they would attend Wednesday night’s Emergency Town Hall meeting in Dearborn, Mich., someone had to call the mayor. The original venue for the gathering was the Arab American National Museum on Michigan Avenue, but that could only handle about one-quarter of the expected attendees. So Dearborn Mayor John “Jack” O’Reilly made some calls and was able to secure the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center with a capacity of over 1,200. A half-hour into the evening’s program, there was standing room only!

This impromptu meeting arose out of the felt need of the local Muslim community to process the recent presidential Executive Orders placing bans on travel. Serious restrictions had already impacted the family lives of many local Muslims and there was no effort made on the part of those at the meeting to disguise their fear and apprehension that worse things were on the horizon. Remember, over 30 percent of Dearborn residents are Arab-American or of Arab descent!

My reasons for attending this meeting were many; certainly to stand in solidarity with so many of my neighbors, but also because I needed some help in better understanding exactly what these executive orders mean so that I can speak more credibly with those I encounter day-to-day.

Fortunately, the gathering was sponsored by such eminent organizations as the ACLU, the National Network of Arab American Communities and the United Way. The panelists were all lawyers and did an excellent job helping us lay people better understand the hidden meanings behind all of the legalese.  After each panelist had made their opening remarks the floor was then opened up for questions and answers. Right away people queued up behind the microphones set up around the auditorium, and it was then that the tenor of the evening shifted. One by one people came up and—only after just a few days of the restrictions being in place—shared heartbreaking stories of elderly parents being detained indefinitely at airports, adult children being unable to return home after business trips abroad and newlyweds beginning their lives together under the shadow of fear.

Honestly, I left the meeting somewhat stunned, my head spinning and full of questions! It was all so big, so intense and so undeniably human that I couldn’t help but feel small and humbled by it all. So, could the worst really be yet to come? Is it true that thousands of my neighbors are feeling so angry, scared and afraid? And what can I do to avoid being just a helpless bystander? Well, there was no questioning that I was experiencing an important part of history this past Wednesday night at the Emergency Town Hall Meeting, I just hope and pray the future takes a significantly different turn!

Kyrie

(from Mass for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi)

For the homeless man

who sleeps on the steps

of the building we pass

on our way to concerts,

Kyrie Eleison

 

For us who pass by

the homeless woman

who sleeps on the steps

of the building we pass

on our way to ball games,

Christe Eleison

 

For rich nations

who let the homeless

sleep soundly on steps

of the buildings they pass

on the way to war,

Kyrie Eleison

–Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM

A sign of the times

(Jan. 26 on the blog Pax et Bonum, two friars from Holy Name Province launched a campaign of solidarity with those impacted by the immigration ban.)

BY BR. CHRISTIAN SENO, OFM, and BR. RAMON RAZ, OFM

PHOTOS PROVIDEDChristian Seno, OFMBy now you are aware of the Executive Orders that President Trump has recently signed. These will adversely affect immigration into the United States. The moratorium on immigration from certain Muslim countries in the Middle East and the building of the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border will greatly impact the lives of our brothers and sisters who are fleeing violence and seeking a better life, including refugees trying to obtain asylum and refugee status in the United States.

We are launching a social media campaign to raise awareness and to advocate for our immigrant, migrant, and refugee brothers and sisters. Additionally, we hope that this campaign will serve to remind people that welcoming the stranger is part of our call as disciples of Jesus Christ, who said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me… whatever you did for one of these least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25).

Jesus was a stranger and today Jesus is still a stranger – present in our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters.

To show your support:

Ramon Raz, OFM, is raising awareness of the plight of immigrants.

  • Print the attached #I Am a Stranger sign or hand-write your own sign featuring the following words: “#I Am a Stranger… and you did not welcome me” -Matthew 25.
  • Take a photo of yourself (friars preferably in your habit) holding the attached sign.
  • Post the image on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
  • Be sure to include the hash tag #IamaStranger in the body of your post, as well as additional information you might want to include.
  • Be sure to share yours and other Franciscans’ posts. The more Franciscans and other religious posting this important message, the stronger our statement against injustice will be.
  • Also, please make the posts public. If we can’t see it, it won’t be impactful.

(Excerpted with permission; Christian and Ramon are in post-novitiate formation with Holy Name Province.)

  • Stephen Binz previews his book with a story on the missions in the February issue of St. Anthony Messenger.New from Franciscan Media: Author Stephen J. Binz helps introduce St. Junipero Serra to a wider audience and broaden the understanding of pilgrimage in his latest book, Saint Junipero Serra’s Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions (Servant Books). “It will promote our new saint as an inspiration for missionary discipleship today, with an emphasis on Franciscan and Native American spirituality,” says the author. For each mission, the guide offers the street address for a GPS, the mission’s website, a brief history, the story of the mission’s patron or namesake, and information about the mission bells. “You’ll be given a tour of the mission church, as well as a prayer service for your visit.” To learn more: shop.franciscanmedia.org. Binz writes about the missions in the February issue of St. Anthony Messenger magazine.
  • “Race & Racism in Cincinnati” is the topic of a presentation/discussion 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Faith United Church of Christ, 6886 Salem Road (near the Athenaeum).  Ren Austing of St. Francis Seraph Ministries, who shared the information, says the program will “probably be about half presentation about the history of racism in Cincinnati, past and present, and half interactive processing likely in small groups. This is the second year of successful programming by the local group Rethinking Racism, which is a collaborative of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, the Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center, and the YWCA. Five current SFSM staff members have attended events by this group and two of us have participated in the planning committee.”  RSVP to 513-579-8547 if you’d like to attend.

Standing with immigrants

Franciscan Friars

of the United States of America

As Franciscans, we are morally outraged by and resolutely denounce the January 27, 2017 Executive Order addressing the U.S. immigrant and refugee admission program….While the action’s stated intention is to protect the U.S. from terrorism, it is ill conceived and counter to our country’s founding principles. Furthermore, whether intended or not, it is perceived as targeting Muslims and as suggesting that all Islamic immigrants and refugees are suspect.  This is an affront to the human dignity of our refugee sisters and brothers fleeing persecution and war, and the many immigrants who hope for a better life on our shores. We believe that the order as written and implemented sows division and animosity, making the solidarity that leads to security less possible. More at: usfranciscans.org

 

 “The Church must not remain silent or inactive,” says CTU President Mark Francis, CSV.The Rev. Dr. Mark Francis, CSV

President, Catholic Theological Union

The mission of CTU is as clear and simple as it is challenging: “to prepare effective leaders for the Church, ready to witness to Christ’s good news of justice, love, and peace.” This mission is rooted in our deeply held conviction that, especially in moments like this, the Church—together with our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers, people of all faiths, and all women and men of good will—must not remain silent or inactive. We must be more attentive than ever to God’s call for us to strive tirelessly for justice. At the same time we must deepen our commitment to reconciliation and the sacred solidarity of the entire human family and not allow ourselves to fall prey to the spirit of divisiveness that seems to have so many of us in its viselike grip.

www.ctu.edu/presidents-response

 

Franciscan Action Network

Washington, D.C.

 The United States must not turn our backs on refugees from around the world at the very time when they are most in need of safety from war and persecution. By effectively stopping the resettlement of Syrian refugees and narrowly preferencing religious minorities, this announcement is tantamount to the Muslim ban that was threatened during the Presidential campaign. This is a clear case of religious discrimination and must be decried as such which is why the Franciscan Action Network established Franciscan Commitment for Resistance of Muslim registry, which currently has over 1,000 individual signers and one religious community with over 1,000 members. We stand with our refugee brothers and sisters and all those who are seeking protection. franciscanaction.org

A history of trust and respect

(Fr. Loren Connell is responding to the immigration actions by sharing resources in this weekend’s parish bulletin for St. Aloysius in Detroit.)

The DVD In the Footprints of St. Francis and the Sultan, produced by Franciscan Media in 2013, is a valuable resource for interfaith understanding.Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In 1219, while Christian crusaders from Europe were besieging the Egyptian port city of Damietta, Francis of Assisi ventured forth to meet the Muslim sultan of Egypt, Malik al-Kamil.  If St. Francis’ intention was to convert the sultan from Islam to Christianity, he failed.  If, however, his intention was to establish a relationship of mutual trust and respect across ethnic and religious boundaries, he succeeded admirably.  The two men grew to respect each other and the sincerity with which each followed his faith.  Indeed, scholars see Islamic influences in Francis’ later prayer life.

From the time of St. Francis onward, the Order of Friars Minor has interacted with Muslims in the Holy Land.  The friars’ presence there began to be formalized around 1300.  Any relationship of seven hundred years would have had its low points.  Occasional misunderstandings aside, some severe, the friars continue to live and serve in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine, where they minister to Arab Christians and Muslims alike.

Several parishioners have talked with me about our president’s recent Executive Order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.  In today’s bulletin you can read what the Church says about Muslims, what the American bishops and Archbishop Vigneron say about the Executive Order, and what the Rule (St. Francis’ directions for the friars) and General Constitutions (a contemporary adaptation) of the Order of Friars Minor say about the friars’ relationship with Islam.

Peace and every blessing,

Loren, OFM

A Catholic perspectiveFrom the USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants website: http://justiceforimmigrants.org/The recent Executive Order from President Trump temporarily restricting some immigrants and refugees from entering the U.S. has been a source of concern for many, including politicians and religious leaders, including some of our bishops.  These times provide us with an opportunity to review Catholic Principles on Migration.  A fuller explanation can be found at: justiceforimmigrants.org1. Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.2. Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.3. Sovereign nations have the right to control their borders.4. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.5. The human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected.This particular teaching is rooted in the broader Catholic Social Teaching. A fuller explanation can be found at: usccb.orgThe main themes are:1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation3. Rights and Responsibilities4. Option for the Poor and the Vulnerable5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers6. Solidarity7. Care for God’s CreationThese teachings are a rich treasure of wisdom and can help us think through and respond to the complexities of the current times as we strive to build a just and compassionate society. — Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM

Archives at bottom

Send comments or questions to: sjbfco@franciscan.org

ARCHIVES

FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

What would Francis do?

Positive steps to support our Muslim neighbors

BY TONI CASHNELLI

PHOTO PROVIDEDAl Mascia attended last night’s meeting with hundreds of area Muslims.There’s a place in America where Muslims are not “foreign” or “them”. They’re the people next door.

PHOTO BY AL MASCIA, OFMThe “Francis Pledge”, a commitment to civility in discourse, is an acronym spelling out seven positive steps:

Muslims voice fears at Town Hall

PHOTO BY AL MASCIA, OFMLawyer panelists explained the meaning behind the legalese.When over 1,000 people responded to the RSVP saying they would attend Wednesday night’s Emergency Town Hall meeting in Dearborn, Mich., someone had to call the mayor. The original venue for the gathering was the Arab American National Museum on Michigan Avenue, but that could only handle about one-quarter of the expected attendees. So Dearborn Mayor John “Jack” O’Reilly made some calls and was able to secure the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center with a capacity of over 1,200. A half-hour into the evening’s program, there was standing room only!

A sign of the times

PHOTOS PROVIDEDChristian Seno, OFMBy now you are aware of the Executive Orders that President Trump has recently signed. These will adversely affect immigration into the United States. The moratorium on immigration from certain Muslim countries in the Middle East and the building of the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border will greatly impact the lives of our brothers and sisters who are fleeing violence and seeking a better life, including refugees trying to obtain asylum and refugee status in the United States.

  • Stephen Binz previews his book with a story on the missions in the February issue of St. Anthony Messenger.New from Franciscan Media: Author Stephen J. Binz helps introduce St. Junipero Serra to a wider audience and broaden the understanding of pilgrimage in his latest book, Saint Junipero Serra’s Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions (Servant Books). “It will promote our new saint as an inspiration for missionary discipleship today, with an emphasis on Franciscan and Native American spirituality,” says the author. For each mission, the guide offers the street address for a GPS, the mission’s website, a brief history, the story of the mission’s patron or namesake, and information about the mission bells. “You’ll be given a tour of the mission church, as well as a prayer service for your visit.” To learn more: shop.franciscanmedia.org. Binz writes about the missions in the February issue of St. Anthony Messenger magazine.

 “The Church must not remain silent or inactive,” says CTU President Mark Francis, CSV.The Rev. Dr. Mark Francis, CSV

A Catholic perspectiveFrom the USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants website: http://justiceforimmigrants.org/The recent Executive Order from President Trump temporarily restricting some immigrants and refugees from entering the U.S. has been a source of concern for many, including politicians and religious leaders, including some of our bishops.  These times provide us with an opportunity to review Catholic Principles on Migration.  A fuller explanation can be found at: justiceforimmigrants.org1. Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.2. Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.3. Sovereign nations have the right to control their borders.4. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.5. The human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected.This particular teaching is rooted in the broader Catholic Social Teaching. A fuller explanation can be found at: usccb.orgThe main themes are:1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation3. Rights and Responsibilities4. Option for the Poor and the Vulnerable5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers6. Solidarity7. Care for God’s CreationThese teachings are a rich treasure of wisdom and can help us think through and respond to the complexities of the current times as we strive to build a just and compassionate society. — Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM

FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

PHOTO PROVIDEDAl Mascia attended last night’s meeting with hundreds of area Muslims.There’s a place in America where Muslims are not “foreign” or “them”. They’re the people next door.

PHOTO BY AL MASCIA, OFMThe “Francis Pledge”, a commitment to civility in discourse, is an acronym spelling out seven positive steps:

PHOTO BY AL MASCIA, OFMLawyer panelists explained the meaning behind the legalese.When over 1,000 people responded to the RSVP saying they would attend Wednesday night’s Emergency Town Hall meeting in Dearborn, Mich., someone had to call the mayor. The original venue for the gathering was the Arab American National Museum on Michigan Avenue, but that could only handle about one-quarter of the expected attendees. So Dearborn Mayor John “Jack” O’Reilly made some calls and was able to secure the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center with a capacity of over 1,200. A half-hour into the evening’s program, there was standing room only!

PHOTOS PROVIDEDChristian Seno, OFMBy now you are aware of the Executive Orders that President Trump has recently signed. These will adversely affect immigration into the United States. The moratorium on immigration from certain Muslim countries in the Middle East and the building of the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border will greatly impact the lives of our brothers and sisters who are fleeing violence and seeking a better life, including refugees trying to obtain asylum and refugee status in the United States.

 “The Church must not remain silent or inactive,” says CTU President Mark Francis, CSV.The Rev. Dr. Mark Francis, CSV

FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

February 2, 2017

What would Francis do?

Positive steps to support our Muslim neighbors

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist