What a year this has been for our work together as the Franciscan Action Network (FAN)! While our planet struggles with climate crises, the world’s peoples suffer from wars, and our fellow citizens in the U.S. contend with economic and political challenges, we Franciscans remain faithful to our call to be messengers of God’s love and joy in every circumstance.
Never has our collective Franciscan voice—proclaiming care for those in poverty and on the margins, kinship with all of creation, and peace to those suffering violence—been more needed. And never have young people in particular, many of them anxious about climate change, gun violence, and mental health problems, needed our warm Franciscan embrace more.
With the grace of God and your generous support, FAN had some breakthroughs this year. To name a few:
Our first-ever Franciscan Justice Leadership Conference in October brought together more than 100 young and older adults to build relationships and do advocacy on Capitol Hill with the theme of “Preserving God’s Planet, Together.” This beautiful gathering empowered participants, reinvigorated our network, and showed FAN’s role in helping to rejuvenate the entire Franciscan movement.
Our innovative annual benefit in June, holding a banquet for our impoverished neighbors at the Franciscan Center in Baltimore, demonstrated concretely how encounter with those in need, direct service, and advocacy come together in Franciscan-hearted solidarity.
FAN’s “Working for Environmental Justice” campaign educated our constituents about cases of environmental racism in New Mexico, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, and built a group of nearly 1000 advocates who took action on specific policy initiatives at the national, state, and local levels. Meanwhile our “Roots of Migration” webinar and related advocacy raised consciousness about the need for more compassionate immigration policies.
Franciscan Justice Circles, our local affinity groups, are spreading across the U.S. especially on college and university campuses, where they meet a need for spaces of meaningful connection and mutual support among young and old who want to connect their faith to action for justice, peace, and creation.
FAN did this work on a tight budget in 2023 and needs your help to keep going in 2024. Our organization has long relied primarily on contributions from Franciscan religious communities as well as volunteer labor from vowed religious, but some of those precious communities are becoming less able to give over time. We need individual donors to step in to keep our Franciscan voice heard in Washington and to allow us to meet the burgeoning demand for Justice Circles and other youth engagement across the country.
Whether you can give $3000 or $30, your year-end gift is needed, valued, and will make a critical difference in FAN’s work in 2024. If you can help, please donate.
At the end of his life, St. Francis said he had done what was his to do and counseled his followers to find out what God was calling them to do. Thank you for your prayers and partnership with FAN, and may God bless you richly during Advent, Christmas, and New Year for doing what you are called to do!