Franciscan Justice Circles
Our times need grassroots, Franciscan inspired advocacy and action.
Learn more below about our initiative connecting Franciscan-hearted individuals through prayer, action, and advocacy in cities across the country.
Frequently asked Questions
What are Franciscan Justice Circles?
Local grassroots communities who, inspired by the Franciscan charism, unite to advocate for social and environmental justice. They are independent, ongoing, volunteer-led groups empowered to engage the issues in their communities that are important to them through advocacy and action. Supported by the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) and the national network of Franciscan Justice Circles, groups explore more deeply the social justice foot of the Two Feet of Love in Action, and engage important local issues to challenge the behaviors and policies that perpetuate injustice and obstruct the realization of shalom – where all creation can flourish.
Who are Franciscan Justice Circles for?
Anyone who wants to foster a Franciscan future is welcome. If you are searching for ways to address the root causes of injustice in our society, and do so in the context of Franciscan community, then joining a Franciscan Justice Circle (FJC) is for you. The FJCs need people who are more experienced in Franciscan ways as much as they need people who are new to them–the Circle will be better because you are there.
Why get involved in a FJC?
Joining an FJC provides one with a welcoming space to come together in community with a diverse group of people who all feel called to integrate Franciscan values into their lives in a way that moves them beyond themselves. This unique program invites people to build on their experiences of charitable works, challenging them to take actions that address the root causes of injustice in their community. FAN will provide a handbook and materials to guide each Circle through the process.
How do FJCs progress?
FAN will help each group deepen its knowledge and spiritual awareness of the Franciscan tradition, which builds upon the Gospel call to build the Kingdom of God where all of creation can flourish. Each Franciscan Justice Circle will develop in its own locale, discovering its particular area of action. The members of each Justice Circle will go through four phases, which allow members to grow in faith, deepen Franciscan spirituality, practice a culture of encounter and move to faith-rooted action in public life. There will be some individual variation from Circle to Circle as to how long a group spends in each phase, and progression may not always be linear.
How is this different/same as Secular Franciscan fraternities?
The Franciscan Justice Circles are not a substitute for a fraternity by any means, open to both professed Franciscans as well as lay Franciscans and are not restricted to any particular church. Current members of Secular Franciscan fraternities are very welcome to participate in a Circle if they would like. The Circles uniquely provide a space where people with Franciscan hearts can unite in their desire to actively live a holistic lifestyle of justice that embraces both charity and advocacy.
Can my fraternity or religious community be associated with the Franciscan Justice Circles?
Yes! If you already have a group formed and could benefit from the faith-rooted advocacy support that FAN provides, along with the opportunity to network with other Franciscan Justice Circles, we welcome you to join our growing movement. We would be happy to explore how we can integrate our efforts together.
How can we form a FJC?
Forming a small group in order to start a FJC is a task that calls for creativity, reaching out to your personal contacts as well as getting out the word in your local community, such as at places of worship or in other networks. The ideal FJC consists of a small core group, ranging from four to twelve people, but varies by each group’s unique circumstances. To assist you in extending the invitation to more people, we have prepared promotional materials, available on the Resources page.
The Director of the Franciscan Justice Circles is happy to connect members within geographical regions who might not know each other yet.
What is the time commitment?
The Circles are ongoing and FAN recommends meeting one to two times each month, for one to two hours. Our hope is that you form lasting relationships in the Circle that strengthen your Franciscan call.
Where do FJCs happen?
The FJC can meet at any location that is accessible and provides an environment free of distractions, such as a home, church, or school.
What does it mean to be Franciscan-Hearted?
We use the term “Franciscan-hearted” to refer to people who feel a special connection with the examples and spirituality of Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi, believing in their relevance in today’s world, but who are not official members of any Franciscan order (professed Franciscans). They may belong to a Franciscan parish, have friendships with or been educated by Franciscans, or work at a Franciscan institution, as examples. Franciscan-hearted people are those of us who try to live lives of Franciscan values and spirituality and grow in our call to be a living Gospel, a call which Francis and Clare also strove to respond to in their own lives.
Members of the New York City Franciscan Justice Circle
“As followers of Christ, we cannot fail to be concerned for the welfare of the weakest; we must also draw the attention of society and the civil authorities to their plight.”
Current Circles Include:
- New York City FJC
- Tri-State FJC – Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky (Cincinnati, OH)
- Southern California FJC
- Boston FJC
- Metro Washington DC
- Delaware Valley (DE, NJ, PA)
Circles in Formation:
What People Are Saying
“My participation in the SoCal Circle has enhanced my formation and has made me a better Franciscan.”
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