Franciscan Earth Corps
The Franciscan Earth Corps is a new ministry for young adults (ages 18-35) fostering Franciscan Spirituality in action for social & ecological justice in caring for God’s creation. On September 20-22, forty young people gathered at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America for a weekend of prayer, fellowship, learning, and action in forming a new national effort to grow the Franciscan Earth Corps. The Franciscan Action Network is now helping to grow this ministry with guidance and resources to start a chapter in your local area. Below is a great video made by students from Syracuse University in New York that shows the Franciscan Earth Corps and invites young adults to help form new chapters:
The weekend in DC with the Franciscan Earth Corps members was very inspiring and motivating to meet many people from across America working on, or planning great projects in their local communities. We were blessed to have a great speaker begin our weekend with a talk from Sister Ilia Delio, who spoke on the subject of “The Emergent Christ and Franciscan Spirituality.” She has written many great books on Franciscan ecology, spirituality, and prayer. One that is recommended to Franciscan Earth Corps members to read is Care for Creation, by Sr. Ilea Delio, O.F.S. , Keith Douglas Warner, O.F.M., and Susan Wood. Below is a video from Georgetown University’s Woodstock Center with Sr. Ilia Delio talking on Food, Ecology, and Consciousness
The group who met in DC had the opportunities to learn about the resources at the monastery. The group had contemplative prayer time in the beautiful prayer gardens that have replicas of Holy Land sites, Lourdes Grotto, and Portiuncula Chapel. We also got a tour of the garden programs, beehives, and ecology projects at the monastery. We also learned about community organizing, and shared experiences to help form a the beginnings of a great ministry.
I had the pleasure to spend some time with a young man, Andre Rivera, from The Bronx, in New York City who is helping to form a new chapter of the Franciscan Earth Corps. He has a wonderful story to tell, and it is well illustrated in a video he made to help save the Bronx River:
Our weekend ended with a beautiful Mass at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. This church run by Franciscan priests is a wonderful parish, that serves a diverse community with Mass said in Haitian, Vietnamese, Spanish, and English. After Mass, members of the Franciscan Earth Corps joined members of the local community in a guerilla gardening project. The Earth Corps helped beautify an abandoned lot that had the support of the community. Beautiful photos below are from the event taken by Amanda Schulz.
Find a Franciscan
There is now a Find a Franciscan map system to find a sponsoring Franciscan community near you. There are many parishes with a Secular Franciscan Order fraternities, or Franciscan priests, brothers, and sisters who would like to hear from you about helping with the Franciscan Earth Corp or any part of the Franciscan Family. My local Secular Franciscan Order, Mount LaVerna Fraternity, is sponsoring a new chapter of the Franciscan Earth Corps, so if you live in Central Virginia, check us out.