JPIC 2019 New Year’s Letter

Greetings of peace, dear Franciscan Family!

I pray this finds you well and filled with the peace of our loving Lord.

I wish you all a Happy New Year as we celebrate this World Day of Peace; through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God. I take this occasion to highlight a few things from Pope Francis in his World Day of Peace message entitled, “Good politics is at the service of peace.”

Our Holy Father begins by stating that “Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history.”

I needn’t remind you that we do live in violent times and our very lives and vocations call us to be bearers of peace in this world. “Pope Benedict XVI noted that ‘every Christian is called to practice charity in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the pólis… When animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater worth than a merely secular and political stand would have… Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family’”

It is our Christian responsibility to practice charity at all times; and it is our Franciscan call that reminds us that all are brothers and sisters in Christ – especially those we find difficult to be charitable towards. These are the times we must not only soften our hearts but also our words. It is very easy to get caught up in the “mob mentality” in the polis. Yet, our vocation and profession calls us to a higher standard. We must place Christ at the heart and center of all that is; then we focus all our attention on Jesus, who is represented in the faces of all those we dislike or disagree with.

It is no accident that the message for this new year speaks to the political arena. There are those of the mind that Franciscans have no place in politics. Both Jesus and Francis ministered in the heart of the political sphere because this is where the “least of these” resided and were ignored. It is in this political arena where we must pray, learn and act for justice, to right the wrongs done to our brothers and sisters who have no recourse and are left to fend for themselves.

This month marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that women have the right to choose abortions. We as Franciscans strongly advocate for the right to the life of the unborn – a political action. Every January, there is a March for Life in Washington, D..C. Many of us attend and give heart and voice for the voiceless, the unborn. This is political action at its best. And I personally thank you for it!

But let us not stop there. There is so much to be done in the name of our Lord. This month is also Poverty Awareness Month, Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month as well as when we pray for Christian unity. Yes, my family, there is much to be done in the public arena. The God of Peace has called us to this amazing and difficult work, and I am not willing to disappoint Him. In this new year there is so much to be thankful for as our Lord continues to bless us in our comings and goings. Should we not bless others as we have been blessed?

Thank you for your hearts, your minds and your hands that work for peace and justice. I pray that this year bear much fruit and produce great works in the public arena. It is also my prayer that we continue the good work that God began in us with compassion and civility. Imagine every conversation as a sacred moment with our Lord, who always listens with the ears of faith, hope and love. My heart is full because the greatest of these is love.

Attached please find some goodies to help you pray, learn and study the plight of those living in poverty (Daily Ways to Learn about Poverty in America – January 2019: Calendar, Full Text).

I wish you love, joy, peace, and a very blessed New Year!

Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
National Animator,
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
U.S. Secular Franciscan Order

See Christ, Be Christ.
Share the Vision!
(OFS-USA 2019 Theme)

2019-01-01T22:11:45+00:00January 1st, 2019|Categories: JPIC|3 Comments

OFS USA Chapter Update: 2018 JPIC Award Presented

Carolyn Townes, OFS (left) and Kathleen Carsten, OFS (right) just after JPIC Award presentation. Photo: Bob Stronach, OFS.

Greetings, dear Family!

It was my joyful honor to present the 2018 recipient of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Award, Kathleen Carsten, OFS. Kathy, as she is affectionately known, is a parish nurse and an advocate for the seniors and the plights of senior housing.

Wishing you blessings of peace and all good,
Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
National Animator, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC)

Video of the award ceremony will be posted to the Chapter’s web page shortly.

2018-10-11T23:23:07+00:00October 11th, 2018|Categories: JPIC, National Chapter|0 Comments

Families Crises – A Letter from our National JPIC Animator

Greetings dear National Family!

I pray this finds you well and filled with the Lord’s peace!

If you only have time to skim this letter, please see the highlighted part below.

If you have time to read this entire message, it was written from my heart to yours.

As we continue to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our Holy Rule, I am reminded of our life in fraternity. What a joy and a gift it is to be in fraternity, with family. I, myself, have been welcomed back into fraternity after being without for nearly three years. Yes, I have had my regional and national families, but there is something very special about your own local fraternity. It is the place you are fed and nurtured; it is the warm ground that houses and embodies the seeds for spiritual growth. It is the true foundation of being Franciscan.

I know very well what it feels like to be separated from my Franciscan family. I cannot imagine what it must be like for a child forced to be separated from his or her parents. Our Holy Rule speaks of the family as being the place where we should cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity and respect for life. The family is that sacred and holy ground for cultivating that spirit. And in these times, I do not take that lightly.

I know there are many of our Secular Franciscan brothers and sisters on the ground helping to reunite separated families; working individually and collectively in the forefront, promoting justice by their very courageous actions. We annually recognize someone doing this great work and celebrate them with the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Award. But who are those unnamed Seculars working in this climate of separated families and “zero tolerance” policies?

If you or a fellow Secular is working with other individuals or organizations to help with this current crisis, please let me know.  Please send me a brief description of what you are doing and the organization(s) you are working with – be it a private, public or faith-based organization. If you would email me at ctownes26 @, by this Friday, July 13, 2018, I would really appreciate it.

Please be assured of the prayers of the entire National JPIC Commission as you continue to work for justice in these difficult and trying times. May the Lord continue to give you peace.

Wishing you blessings of peace and all good!

Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
National Animator, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
U.S. Secular Franciscan Order

Confirmed and Renewed: Live the Treasure!
Celebrating 40 Years of our Holy Rule

2018-07-12T21:16:53+00:00July 10th, 2018|Categories: Announcements, JPIC|0 Comments