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First National Meeting of the Peace Circles

Province of the Most Holy Trinity, Chile

19 April 2024

From April 12 to 14, in accordance with the provincial plan of animation (JPIC 2022-2024), the first national meeting of the Peace Circles, organized by the brothers of the Province of the Most Holy Trinity, took place in Chile.
Among its primary objectives: the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence and the construction of a culture free from hatred.

The meeting brought together the communities of Castro, Angol, Parral and Mostazel, for a total of 16 participants, including Br. Julio Campos OFM, Br. Máximo Cavieres OFM, and Br. Jaime Campos OFM, of the provincial JPIC staff, and 13 lay persons.

Jesus at the center of everything
One of the salient moments of the meeting was the online presentation from Colombia of the theologian Br. Juan Rendón OFM, on the theme “Foundations for a culture of peace”. He began by recalling the meeting of the Holy Father with some brothers of the Tuscany Province (Italy) in observance of the 8th centenary of the gift of the Stigmata which St. Francis received on September 14, 1224.  “For Pope Francis, the Stigmata recall the pain suffered by Jesus in his flesh for our love and our salvation, but they are also the sign of the Paschal victory: precisely through the wounds, the mercy of the Risen One crucified moves toward us, as if by channels”, observed Br. Juan. Subsequently he analyzed the relevant aspects of the Medellin Conference, the Extraordinary Chapter of the Order in Medellin, and the General Chapter of Madrid, underlining that, to be in line with the foundations of JPIC and to be builders of peace, it is very important to return to the social and theological geography, and to return to where Jesus is, “which places us definitively, not as sporadic visitors, much less as benefactors of the poor or victims of any system. It makes us citizens of the world, inserting us into its dynamics, its languages, its organizations”, he said. 
Finally, he issued a challenge.  “We are before St Francis and Francis.  Before Francis and Franciscanism.  Faced with the institution and the charism.  We have the duty and obligation to practice Franciscanism starting from what has been called the DNA of Franciscan spirituality, from JPIC”, concluded Br. Juan Rendón.

A culture of peace
Br. Julio Campos OFM, provincial JPIC animator, underlined the relevance of the topics addressed.  “The meeting coincided with Iran’s attack on Israel, hence the scourge of war, tragedy and death are situations that the world experiences today and our Franciscan evangelization cannot be left behind”, he said.  “It is very important for us to develop the foundations for a culture of peace in our country, which suffers from family violence, violence in the context of the Mapuche conflict, crime and insecurity for many people. There are many sources of violence that we want to address with the strength of the gift of peace”, he concluded.

The role of the laity
Sonia Maureira, a member of the Peace Circle from San Francisco de Parral parish, commented on the event thus: “We are called to commit ourselves, so we need to inform ourselves, to share experiences, because this helps us when we are weak or if what we are doing is on the right path”.
Gloria Puelma Orellana of San Francisco de Asís Parish, Mostazal, remarked: “I trust that the expectations, desires and learning will find space in each participant, to continue to build the values of the Kingdom in our family, community, parish and circles”.
Finally, for Paola Clavelle, from the parish of San Buenaventura in Angol, the meeting was wonderful “because it allowed us to share the experiences already developed and to demonstrate the creativity of the communities at work”.

Also contributing Br. Ronald Villalobos A., OFM

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