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Press Release: Minister General Visits Ukraine to renew his solidarity

10 April 2022
From 10 to 16 April, the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, Br Massimo Fusarelli, accompanied by the Minister Provincial of Assisi, Br Francesco Piloni, will visit Romania, Ukraine and Poland. The Minister General is representing his entire Franciscan family, consecrated brothers, friends of the lay family and all volunteers. He will thus be present in the area of conflict and neighbouring countries to listen, welcome and be a sign of solidarity for all those who today are experiencing and suffering the deep wounds of war. From 10 to 12 April, the Minister General will be part of an international delegation of religious leaders for an "Interfaith Pilgrimage of solidarity with the Ukrainian people". The ultimate goal of the mission - organised by the Peace Department and the Elijah Interfaith Institute under the inspiration of Glocalities - is to demonstrate by example that in times of war and division, we can and must continue to appeal to the highest values of humanity that unite us, and that unite all religious faiths. The delegation of religious leaders - who will make this crucial visit to the refugee camps and the city of Chernivtsi - will consist of: the Archbishop of Canterbury (Emeritus), Rowan Williams (Anglican, United Kingdom), Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg (Jewish, United Kingdom), the Grand Mufti (Emeritus) Mustafa Ceric (Muslim, Bosnia), Archbishop Nikitas Lulias (Orthodox Archbishop, United Kingdom), Grand Imam Yahya Pallavacini (Muslim, Italy), Swami Sarvapriyananda (Hindu, India/USA) and Abbess Sister Giác Nghiêm (Buddhist, France). The highlight of the delegation's visit will be a public event on 12 April in the main theatre of Chernivtsi in Ukraine. The testimonies of refugees will accompany the words of the delegation participants. This will be the first public event allowed at the theatre since the beginning of the war. Therefore, it is an event and occasion of historical importance. James Sternlicht, the founder of the Peace Department, said: "At this time, in a world gripped by deep darkness, we must come together to heal humanity". Rabbi Goshen-Gottstein, founder and executive director of Elijah Interfaith Institute, echoed this sentiment: "As far as I know, this is the first time ever that an interfaith delegation has undertaken a mission of friendship and solidarity, entering a country at war. This is all the more remarkable considering the high level of the religious representatives." The event can be accessed via live video streaming on a page available on the day of the event at www.FaithinUkraine.com/Stream. The delegation will also make a short visit to the Franciscan Friars of Transylvania at the Marian shrine of Csíksomlyó and then to Suceava in Romania, and finally to Chernovtsy in Ukraine. From 13 April, the Minister General will continue his visit by visiting a house of the friars of the Greek Catholic rite and two houses of the friars of the Province of St Michael, meeting the refugees and the people in need of assistance. Finally, he will conclude his visit in Poland by meeting in Kalwaria with the friars and the many refugees who have found hospitality there. Br Massimo Fusarelli accepted this invitation to go to this land and people wounded by the consequences of the conflict in the name of all the friars of the Order.   For contacts and information: Br Evodio João: Director of Communications, ejoao@ofm.org or comgen@ofm.org
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