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franciscan - January 1999

© Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 1998

Minister's Letter

Sister Joyce, Minister Provincial of the European Province of the Community of Saint Francis, writes:

Here we are at the beginning of the final year of this Millennium and it probably feels much like any other New Year, with a few well-intentioned resolutions. As a Community we are intending to make an effort to prepare for the Millennium by regularly reflecting on the biblical theme of Jubilee in the course of this year so may this be one resolution that we are able to keep.

As we look back on 1998 there have been many significant events in church and society which have made their impact on us in various ways: the Lambeth Conference (overshadowed by controversial resolutions on homo-sexuality); the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa; the Peace Process in Northern Ireland to name but a few.

We can take heart or we can begin to feel depressed over such events, depending on our context and our particular prejudice. I was heartened to hear that in the diocese of New Jersey, a service was held in October entitled United in Love, Standing Against Hate. This was a Christian response to a wave of hate crimes in the USA:
- in June, James Bird Jnr was torn to pieces when he was dragged behind a truck in Jasper, Texas for no apparent reason other than the colour of his skin;
- during July and August, several cemeteries on Long Island were vandalised for no apparent reason other than the religious persuasion of the deceased;
- in October, the brutal and senseless death of Matthew Shepard in rural Wyoming, for no apparent reason other than his sexual orientation.
Such stories are not confined to the USA similar stories could be told in most countries of the world.

Maybe this could be our resolution as Christians and Franciscans in this last year of the Millennium: to be united in love, standing against hate, as we align ourselves with the basic gospel commandment to love and take our stand against all forms of prejudice and commit ourselves once again to Christ, the Prince of Peace. §

 

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Copyright 1998-2010 Society of Saint Francis, European Province

CSF European Province First Order Sisters: Registered Charity Number 286615
SSF European Province First Order Brothers: Registered Charity Number 236464
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