THE NATIONAL FRATERNITY OF
THE SECULAR FRANCISCAN ORDER - USA
PEACE AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
Carolyn Colburn, sfo, Chair; Teri Egan, sfo; Jo-Ann Hardwick, sfo; Ray Hardwick, sfo; Patricia Mulligan, sfo; David Moczulski, ofm
Report of the National Peace and Justice Commission
October 2003 to October 2004
The National Peace and Justice Commission held its first meeting at San Juan Bautista Retreat House March 1-4, 2004. The main topic was preparation for the ACC. The workshop presentations were planned in detail. Plans were made for the new webpage. It was decided to continue the newsletter. Guidelines were set for the SFOPJNetwork. It was agreed that we would open it up to all interested Secular Franciscans and friends of St. Francis. We agreed to follow a few issues in depth on the SFOPJNetwork. We decided to have a new manual ready for the ACC and to post it on our part of the NAFRA webpage.
Carolyn attended the meeting of the English Speaking Conference of the OFM JPIC held in Burlington, Wisconsin, May 5-8, 2004. A report has been submitted to the Executive Council.
Carolyn attended the Holy Name Province Globalization Assembly in Albany, NY, June 9-12, 2004. A report has been submitted to the Executive Council.
The National Peace and Justice Commission participated in the ACC. A complete report of our Peace and Justice Commission workshops is posted on our portion of the NAFRA webpage, along with the peace and justice actions of fifteen Regions.
The SFOPJNet, a private interactive peace and justice group on Yahoo Groups, is the means the Peace and Justice Commission has used to keep the Regions informed of the position of the Catholic Church on current issues. All of our information and discussion is grounded in our Rule, Franciscan Spirituality and Catholic Social Teaching. Some of the issues we have followed in depth are trade agreements and their effect on poor countries, immigration at the US Mexican border, the plight of immigrant workers, and the effect of economic decisions on the lives of the working poor in the United States. We have 100 members in our SFOPJNetwork group and continue to welcome all Secular Franciscans interested in peace and justice.
We plan to have the first issue of our newsletter available at the Ministers' meeting in October.
Carolyn has kept in contact with many Regional Peace and Justice Chairs through e-mails and US mail correspondence. Communication with the Regions is one of our first priorities.
At the suggestion of, and with the assistance of, our Peace and Justice Commission Spiritual Assistant, Father David Moczulski, OFM, we sent out a packet of material to all of the Regions about the humanitarian situation in Sudan. The packet included suggestions for prayer and advocacy. At our invitation the National Secular Franciscan Fraternities of Canada, Scotland, England, and Wales have joined with us in this effort.
We have prepared and sent to the Regional Chairs packets of material including prayers, factual information, and suggestions for action on the subjects of trade agreements, the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancun, Mexico, migrant workers, and corporate accountability. We have responded to individual Regions with information for use at the fraternity level on other subjects, such as the separation wall being built between Israel and the Palestinian territories. We stand ready to supply action oriented material on peace and justice issues to the Regional Chairs for use at fraternity meetings.
A sub-committee of the National Peace and Justice Commission is exploring the idea of establishing a communication network with all of the English speaking National Secular Franciscan Fraternities for exchanging peace and justice information. George Ferguson, SFO, JPIC Director for Scotland is working with Father David Moczulski, OFM, Spiritual Assistant for the National Peace and Justice Commission, Terri Leone, SFO, and Joseph Keppler, SFO on this project.
Carolyn wrote articles for the Spring and Summer issues of the TAU. She wrote a column of questions for the Autumn issue, and she is ready to write another column of questions for the Winter issue.
Carolyn participated in writing the Presence in the World Survey for CIOFS.
Much of the information sent out on the SFOPJNetwork is in the form of articles written by Commission members on different subjects, such as aspects of globalization, and comments on the documents that form the body of Catholic social teaching.
In keeping with our rule that: "Especially in public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith," we have developed a program of legislative advocacy that is simple enough for all of our fraternity members who desire to participate.
Legislative alerts that come from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are sent out by Carolyn to the Regional Chairs on the SFOPJNetwork. Individual Chairs are given directions to sign up for themselves with other alert networks that are of interest to them. Suggestions have been the Pax Christi Alert Network, the Catholic Relief Services Alert Network, the Maryknoll Global Exchange Alert Network, and NETWORK a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of the members of the National Peace and Justice Commission who have worked so hard this year to get our Peace and Justice Commission off to a good start. Without them very little of the work described in this report would have been possible. The members of the Peace and Justice Commission with their Regions are: Theresa Egan, SFO, St. Margaret of Cortona Region; Ray and Jo-Ann Hardwick, SFO, St. Francis Region; and Patricia Mulligan, SFO, Lady Poverty Region. Father David Moczulski, OFM, has provided us with very able spiritual assistance.
Carolyn Colburn, SFO
National Peace and Justice Commission, Chair