(November 19 – December 2, 2022) Having spent fifteen days in the Amazon, I arrived in Bogotà, Colombia and was able to preside and preach at Mass at the Parish Church of San Luis for the Feast of Christ the King. At the invitation of the Pastor, Friar Fabian Esteban ARRIETA BOTERO, I also shared with the people of God some of the Order’s efforts regarding Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
Staying at the Inmaculada Concepción Friary in Bogatà gave me the opportunity to have some fraternal conversations about JPIC with the student friars, as well as presiding and preaching at Mass.
Several days in Corozal, Colombia, afforded me the opportunity to meet with the JPIC delegate for the Custody, Friar Leonardo RIOS. He organized a meeting with the young adult group at the Parish Church of Santa Clara de Asís. They are engaged several new projects including:
- the possible installation of solar panels
- the “Threads of Love Project”: a microenterprise that trains women in the production of clothing, thereby creating new jobs for poor families in the area.
- a children’s “Laudato si’ Fashion Show,” featuring dresses for girls made from plastic bottles and suits for boys made from plastic bottle caps.
This young adult JPIC group is using a Franciscan JPIC catechesis created several years ago for the Americas Project, a joint project of the Federación América Latina Conventuales (FALC) and the Conventual Franciscan Federation (CFF). The friars in the Custody hope to establish similar JPIC groups in all their parishes.
The first Sunday of Advent gave me an opportunity to provide some assistance to the local friars, celebrating Mass and visiting with the people of the Santa Clara parish and several of its outlying chapels. There was also time set aside for working with the friars on future JPIC projects for the Order.
Toward the end of my visit, I was able to lead all the friars of the Custody in a JPIC continuing formation program. It was held in Cartagena, at the Sanctuary of St. María Bernarda Bütler, a Franciscan sister. Madre María Bernarda is often remembered for her saying to her sisters, “Open your houses to help the poor and marginalized. Give preference to the care of the indigent over all other activity.”
Friar Michael LASKY