Please participate in the Call-in Day to Congress on Monday, February 26th. Your advocacy is critical to help the nearly 1.8 million Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. They may face deportation as soon as March 6, unless Congress reaches a bi-partisan deal to protect them. Bishop Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and your own Franciscan Friars urge you to be part of this “call to action.”
As Franciscans, our approach to social issues is always to seek deep solidarity with those who are vulnerable or on the margins of society. This stance was embodied by our founder, St. Francis of Assisi, who ignored the norms of his society and made direct encounter with the most despised and vulnerable of his time a priority. When we embrace our world, we seek to repair broken relations that lead to a variety of social issues and maladies: turning away the stranger/the immigrant; the challenge of climate change; lack of care for the elderly and disabled – both physically and mentally; a dis-ease with the dying process; the death penalty; and, as we mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, a particularly tragic one, abortion. Our approach is in line with the leadership of the Catholic church in that we utilize the rubric of the consistent ethic of life.
Another one of our thriving ministries under Franciscan Care is Hands of Hope, which is an outreach ministry serving the poor and homeless of our community. Each weekend, a meal is prepared and then served to our neighbors in need. Throughout the day, we share fellowship and resources of hope and healing for the physical, mental, and personal needs of our guests.
As followers of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of peace, we, the Franciscans Friars of the United States join with the many public and religious leaders and fellow-citizens who have condemned the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA.
We hold that all forms of racism, white supremacy, neo-nazism, xenophobia and hatred are wrong.
In flurry of activity, President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” (you can read the full text here). The key points of the Executive Order are:
90-day ban on entry into the US from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan
120-day suspension of the refugee resettlement program
Indefinite suspension of the arrival of Syrian refugees
64% decrease for refugees admitted into the US in 2017
Prioritization of refugees who are religious minorities suffering religious persecution
Mandated review of stricter vetting procedures for refugees and immigrants.
The Franciscan OFM friars of the United States have issued a joint Franciscan Statement on the Immigration Ban:
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25.35).