Publication Date: January 13, 2020
Reflection Date: January 19, 2020 - The 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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The Measure of Being Pro-Life

During this week when we mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which legalized abortion in all 50 states, our readings remind us that the Lord has formed each human being “to be his servant from the womb.” (Is. 49:5) Like St. Paul, every child, woman, and man “is called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” (1 Cor. 1:1)

Image courtesy of John Hain from Pixabay

We believe that each human being is made in the image and likeness of God. In The Violence of Love, Saint Oscar Romero writes, we “believe that in each person is the Creator’s image and that everyone who tramples it offends God.” How we treat the child in the womb, the new immigrant to our country, the lonely and the lost, the homeless on the street, people suffering from addictions, the handicapped, the elderly, the vulnerable, is how we treat our God. Recently, a woman, who each time I am blessed to spend time with her teaches me how to live the Gospel, cried “I know I am not smart. I know I am slow. But I am a human being and I have feelings. I hurt when someone bullies me. I hurt when someone takes advantage of me. I hurt when someone hates me and does not even try, or want, to know me.” The way anyone treats this beautiful “apostle of Christ Jesus” is how they treat our God; our God who came to live among us on earth as a vulnerable child and who died as a vulnerable adult. The way anyone treats this beautiful person of God is a gauge to how they value the sanctity of any life.  

In Laudato Si, Pope Francis addresses the importance of concern for all vulnerable beings however “different”, “troublesome” or “inconvenient” they may be. The measure for being pro-life is what we do each day to respect the dignity of each human being we encounter. The measure for being pro-life is also what we do each day to systematically and tirelessly oppose anything that will destroy or diminish the life of any person. The Franciscan Action Network is a good example of working tirelessly and consistently to support a consistent ethic of life.   

Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Friend and Former Board Member

Suggested Action:
This week, consider your treatment of each human being you encounter and, without judgement, evaluate how you treat them. Is this how you would treat our God?

Suggested Petitions:
Heavenly Father, bestow your merciful peace on our troubled world. We pray…
For all people of faith. May the Lord’s kindness and love fill our hearts and pour out generously over our fellow human beings. We pray…

Collect Prayer:

Almighty ever-living God,
who govern all things,
both in heaven and on earth,
mercifully hear the pleading of your people
and bestow your peace on our times.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Despite Weather, Welcome Reception a Success

(L to R) Steve Schneck, Fr. Mike Lasky, OFM Conv., Patrick Carolan

Even though we received an unexpected snow blessing from Mother Nature, our welcome reception for our new executive director, Steve Schneck was a success.

About 30 partners and friends joined us last week for conversation and fellowship at a local restaurant gathering place near the FAN offices in Washington, D.C. Steve was able to introduce himself and connect with many of our partner organizations and make some new friendships.

After a brief introduction from FAN President, Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM, Conv., Steve remarked, “We are at a critical moment in the history of the world, our country, and the church. I think Franciscan-hearted people are exactly what we need in these times.” He went on to say how humbled and excited he is to get to work with everyone.

Thank you to all those who made the effort to come. We missed those who weren’t able to be there but look forward to connecting with you in the future. Click here to see some photos of the event.

Applications Open for the Faithful Climate Action Fellowship

Over and over, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) has made statements about the climate crisis as a moral issue, reminding people that inaction is unacceptable. Time is running out and as people of faith, we must encourage bold action among our leaders, both within the church and at the Capitol.

To contribute to this effort, FAN has joined several creation care partners in developing the Faithful Climate Action Fellowship. Inspired by young people like Greta Thunberg and all those spearheading the Climate Strike rallies, this campaign will recruit young religious leaders across the country to spur their faith groups to enter the conversation and push for bold action. The 10-month program will consist of joint study, leadership training, and action.

Ideal fellows will be aged 18-24 years, demonstrate active grassroots leadership connections in their respective home faith communities, and possess a passion for climate action. Each fellow will receive a $500 stipend upon completion of the program. If you or someone you know fits this description, apply for a spot on the Faithful Climate Action Fellowship team.

For more information and to submit an application, click here.

Two Movies That Will Inspire You to Work for Justice

The Franciscan Action Network has been made aware of two films, currently in theaters which are inspiring stories of social justice.

"Just Mercy" is based on an award-winning book of the same name by attorney Bryan Stevenson, played by Michael B. Jordan. Raised in rural Delaware, Stevenson regularly attended the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he developed a strong sense of justice and compassion. He earned a law degree and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard, and in 1989 he launched the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama, which is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, along with challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. Just Mercy follows the story of Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx) who was convicted and sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Watch the trailer and get tickets here.

"Dark Waters", starring Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, and Bill Pullman, is inspired by a true story of one man – Rob Bilott – and his decades-long battle against big chemical companies who have been poisoning us and our communities. The film exposes how companies like Dupont pollute the environment with forever chemicals causing massive impacts on public health - and have gotten away with it. It also tells the story of how one person’s strength and courage can stand up to powerful interests to create lasting change.
Watch the trailer and get tickets here.

Caritas for Children Seeking Executive Director of Ministry and Development

CARITAS For Children is an organization "about building relationships encouraging charity and mercy" and is seeking an Executive Director of Ministry and Development.

From the job description:
"The Priest filling this position will be an effective communicator in writing, an enthusiastic preacher, and preferably an experienced missionary. If you have a natural and heartfelt charism for human communication, a desire to perform the Sacraments globally, you will easily help us grow awareness of this special caritas mission among our existing sponsors and prospective caritas-loving families. Throughout this ministry, you will be giving real hope and a future to thousands of children worldwide! This will make a lasting difference in their lives as well as to all those who they, in turn, will touch with their love."

Find out more about this position and how to apply by clicking here.

Look for New Documentary “Democracy Rebellion” on PBS

Over the next several weeks, a new documentary called "The Democracy Rebellion," filmed and reported by veteran New York Times and PBS Frontline correspondent Hedrick Smith, will feature stories of everyday Americans who are fighting for change in the communities they live in.

The hour-long film showcases ordinary citizens rebelling against the politicians and power brokers, fighting against Citizens United, voter suppression, dark money, gerrymandering, and pressing for reform.

Check your local listings to find out when the documentary is scheduled to air near you.

We are Getting Ready for the Polar Bear Plunge

It’s that time of year again and the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) has once again teamed up with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) to take part in the Polar Bear Plunge happening at National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C. on Saturday January 25th.

St. Bonaventure tells us that to love God, we need to love all that God created. He teaches us that what we choose to do here on this earth will have an effect on it. As part of FAN’s commitment to care for all of creation a member of our staff or board has participated in this annual event to #KeepWinterCold. Five years ago, it was our executive director Patrick Carolan and board member Fr. Jacek Orzechowski along with a group from St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, MD. Watch a video of their plunge here.

This year, FAN’s Plunge team will be: our new Executive Director, Steve Schneck; our Director of Campaigns and Development, Jason Miller; and FAN friend and food justice advocate, Patrilie Hernandez. These valiant people will brave the icy waters and #TakeThePlunge! Will you join them? You can plunge in your community or support FAN’s plunge by donating.

Donating to the plunge is easy. Click here to make a donation to our team or if you prefer not to donate online, you can donate directly to FAN via check:

Franciscan Action Network
P.O. Box 29106
Washington, DC 20017

Be sure to write “Polar Bear Plunge” in the memo line.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers as we advocate for the entirety of creation. If you happen to be in the D.C. metro area and want to watch Steve, Jason and Patrilie take the plunge, you can join us at 10am on Saturday January 25th. Send us an email to let us know that you’ll be joining us--we will save you some hot chocolate!

The Franciscan Action Network sends out a weekly reflection and newsletter to our members. We hope you find the content educational and inspirational.

If one of these articles touches your heart, please consider donating to FAN by clicking this link.

Contact Us

Franciscan Action Network
P.O. Box 29106
Washington, District of Columbia 20017

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