Day of Celebration for the Franciscan Family at COP21

By Sr. Sheila Kinsey, FCJM

December 5, Day of Celebration for the Franciscan Family in Paris at the OFM Convent in Rue Marie Rose. Nearly 200 persons joined in the joyous occasion. The day began with an inspiring and encouraging reflection by Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, General Minister of the OFM’s. He stressed several significant areas of Laudato Si:

Urging us to be concerned about the well being of Earth and the importance of addressing climate change.

Challenging us to be responsible for the dignity of all of creation

Asking us to look seriously at our personal decisions regarding our efforts for the integration of care of the Earth and our care for one another.

Calling us to look at the simplicity of our lifestyle. Emphasizing the importance of dialogue.

Sr. Joan Brown, OSF, recent recipient of the Challenge for Change Award at the Whitehouse. For years she has worked on the integrity of creation reaching out to the poor and to the needs of the Earth. She has done this as the Executive Director of Faith and Light in New Mexico and with her own Rochester Franciscans in the United States. She showed a powerful PowerPoint demonstrating her work in gardens, recycling, advocacy efforts for the care of the environment and for immigrants. Her work is inter-faith reaching out to Moslems, Protestants, Buddhists and non-believers. She also brought a banner from the children showing the effects of climate change and having the message: Remember our future.

At the Eucharistic celebration several priests of the area joined in the liturgy. Gifts were presented representing various parts of the world. Fr. Michael continued to develop the Laudato Si message with the focus on healing of the Earth and of compassion for one another. There was a beautiful liturgical dance honoring the beauty of creation performed by the Provincial Fr. Michel LaLoux, OFM.

A wonderful potluck pranzo followed with much festivities and good conversations. All of the participants at Mass were invited to join in this joyous occasion and many brought delicious food to share.

Later in the afternoon some COP 21 Franciscans went to the auditorium for the many displays and presentations which were prepared for this time. They wrote their commitment to work on climate change and posted these on the trees. Then they went around and enjoyed the many displays and thoughtfully reflected on the messages.