Franciscan Justice Circle Resources
As you begin to think about formation of a Franciscan Justice Circle, we want to provide you all the materials you will need to begin to build interest in this special form of advocacy. In each section below, you will find documents to promote your new Justice Circle along with guiding documents, prayers and more to use at formal meetings.
Essential Guiding Documents
The Facilitator’s Guide and Member’s Handbook listed here are meant to offer guidance and information to help you navigate the Phases as you build your Justice Circle. Further below you will find additional resources for each Phase development.
Click on the links below to view and download each of these resource guides. We ask that you consider the environment before printing them and print on both sides of the paper when possible.
Facilitator’s Guide (PDF, 26 pages)
Member’s Handbook (PDF, 19 pages)
Franciscan Justice Circle Group Guidelines (PDF, 1 page)
Framework for a Franciscan Justice Circle Gathering (PDF, 2 pages)
Explainer of Phases
The Franciscan Justice Circle process follows four phases. While not always linear in their progression, the phases help guide us to build upon our communal progress towards addressing the causes of injustice, while continually deepening our personal integration of Franciscan values.
Franciscans have a rich history of advocacy, beginning with St. Francis himself when, in his 1220 “Letter to the Rulers of the People,” he encouraged civil authorities to be mindful of Gospel truths.
Franciscan advocacy in our current time is the strategic and deliberate process to bring about change in policies and practice, while also being a way to help people realize their power and give effective input in the decision making processes that impact them.
FAN has compiled a small library of Advocacy Resources to help you get started. Click here to access these Advocacy Resources.
We have compiled this comprehensive set of prayers for your use and it will be updated periodically. Please kindly consider the environment before you choose to print.
Recommended Materials for each Phase:
Phase I: Building Relationships and a Franciscan Foundation
Rooted in Scripture, Franciscan Justice Circles are an invitation to Come to the Table and sit beside the Lord, to sit alongside one another.
- Reflection from Pope Francis on Fraternity (PDF, 1 page)
- Franciscan Values Guiding FAN (PDF, 2 pages)
- Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing (PDF, 1 page)
- Audio recording of a Talk on St. Clare by Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF (Audio MP3, 54 Minutes)
- Introduction to consensus decision making, A short guide to collaborative decision-making for activist groups, co-ops and communities by Seeds for Change, 2020 (PDF, 16 pages)
Phase II: Living in Solidarity
Inspired by Franciscans living the Gospel, the heart of this phase is the ability to listen to the marginalized, as Francis and Clare did to the lepers of their day, thereby discovering a God who lives in every heart.
- Compassion and Kinship, TED Talk by Greg Boyle, SJ (Video, 20 minutes)
- The Telling Takes Us Home: A Reflection on the People’s Pastoral Letter video (Video, 11 minutes)
- “The Telling Takes Us Home: Taking our place in the stories that shape us, A People’s Pastoral from the Catholic Committee of Appalachia.” 2015 (PDF, 84 pages) Particularly, “Integral Ecology and the Culture of Encounter” and “Practicing Resurrection in Crucified Places”
- “How Should We Think About the Poor?”, Article by Kenneth E. Untener (PDF, 4 pages)
- Catholic Social Teaching Handout from the USCCB (PDF, 2 pages)
- Blog article “When Fighting Poverty, Listen to the Impoverished” by James Abro, Nov. 7, 2019. (Online, 4 minute read)
Phase III: Continuing the Incarnation
Rooted in Scripture, we respond to God’s call by envisioning next steps to address injustice, following Jesus’ example of servant love.
- Two Feet of Love in Action Handout (USCCB) (PDF, 1 page)
- Introduction to the Pastoral Circle (Video, 8 minutes)
- Pastoral Circle (PDF, 5 pages)
- St. Francis’ Letter to the Rulers of the People and Leonardo Boff’s modern day version of this letter (PDF, 2 pages)
- Article: On Civility in Political Communication by Fr. Albert Merz, OFM (PDF, 3 pages)
- What is Advocacy (PDF, 3 pages)
- Advocacy Planning Cycle (PDF, 9 pages)
Phase IV: Loving through Action
We move as sisters and brothers into the public sphere to speak the truth to power, seek justice for the oppressed, and put right the relations that are broken among people and between people and creation. Like Francis & Clare we become Fools for Christ and do the unbelievable!
- A Call to Conscience: Catholic Teaching & Civil Disobedience (PDF, 2 pages)
- The Enduring Power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Principles of Nonviolence, A Pastoral Reflection (PDF, 36 pages)
- “To Hell with Good Intentions”, article by Ivan Illich (PDF, 7 pages)
Additional Recommended Materials by Topic:
- There is a wealth of material from the Commission on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition, www.franciscantradition.org where you can become a member for free and access writings and videos.
- Franciscan Nonviolence: Stories, Reflections, Principles, Practices and Resources, by Ken Butigan, Mary Litell, OSF and Louis Vitale, OFM. Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service.
- St. Francis and the Foolishness of God, by Marie Dennis, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Joseph Nangle, OFM, and Stuart Taylor, 1993/2015
- Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, 2016
- Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from St. Francis, by Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM, 2018
Care for Creation
- Care of Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth by Ilia Delio, OSF, Keith Douglass Warner, OFM and Pamela Wood, 2008
- “Laudato Si”, Papal Encyclical by Pope Francis, 2015 (PDF)
- “Creation as the Body of God” article by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM (Online, 4 minute read)
- “Religious by nature: An interview with Keith Warner, OFM on the environment” (Article, 10 minute read)
Catholic Social Teaching
- 101 Questions and Answers on Catholic Social Teaching. By Kenneth Himes, O.F.M., New York: Paulist Press. 2013.
- “Faith, Charity, and Justice”, article by Ernesto Cortés, Jr. April 22, 2007 (Article, 6 minute read)
Poverty and Human Rights
- Faireconomy.org has resources and activities around economic justice for group workshops; including resources on the following topics: Taxes, Race, Income, Wealth, Debt, CEO Pay, Migration, Housing, Policy, History.
- A Toolbox: Human Rights, Sustainable Development & Climate Policies: Connecting the Dots (Franciscans International) (PDF, 30 pages)
- Handbook: Making Human Rights Work for People in Extreme Poverty; A Handbook for Implementing the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights (Franciscans International and ATD Fourth World) (PDF, 60 pages)
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