Celebrating Freedom

July 1 began the weekend celebration of one of our most precious gifts in this nation: freedom.

There is the freedom to move about and be where we want to be. Freedom to freely choose our way of life. Freedom to  be who we are. Freedom to grow and be all we can be. Freedom to speak out. Freedom to work. Freedom to love. Freedom to embrace our God. Freedom to follow a dream. Freedom to follow our conscience and choose what is morally right or wrong. That freedom helps shape every aspect of our life, yet it is taken for granted, seldom thought about and rarely recognized.  At least, not recognized until it becomes threatened. Our medical personnel may, in the near future, be required to assist in abortion despite moral objection. Freedom of conscience. Employers are required to provide insurance that enables and finances birth control and abortion. Freedom for the right to life, to embrace our God and live our faith. No matter where we choose to be—a Church, a theater, a shopping mall, a highway, a nightclub, or our own home—someone who has “freedom” to carry a weapon can attack anywhere, anytime and slaughter innocent victims. Freedom to move about and be where we want to be.

In our Land, identities are being stolen. Jobs are being denied because someone is not the “right person” for the job. “Right person”? Maybe not “right” because they are gay, or have the “wrong” color skin,or family background. Many live in the street without food or a roof over their head. Families wake each day hungry and remain hungry, despite working long hours every day. Children are denied a good education. Families and individuals are denied any medical care because of poverty. Where is their freedom to be who they are and be all they can be? Now, just as in years past, Freedom comes with a price. Many of us have members in our own family who fought for our Freedom. Some gave their life to protect it. Hopefully we recognize how blessed we are to live in this Land, and that WE do all we can do to insure that true Freedom and “justice for all” is alive in every heart and home. And so, as in all things in Franciscan life, we begin in prayer.

We Still Gather

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the July 2016 newsletter.

This past week from Thursday thru Sunday I attended a reunion of former religious from my younger days. We were Salesians of St. John Bosco. About 15 years ago 4 guys formed a group, called SOB’s. Yeah, I know . . . the name was picked by our founding members while sitting in a bar after a few drinks. While the name isn’t critical what is important is that the group has grown to over 200 who share posts on our Yahoo group site. Each year we gather. This year I planned the gathering in Chicago. Continue reading “We Still Gather”

FAN Statement on Orlando

Press Statement: Franciscan Action Network Decries Mass Shooting in Orlando, Asks Politicians to Both Pray and ActFaith and Good Works are Needed to Ensure Once and for All We Put an End to Violence

Washington, D.C. – The Franciscan Action Network (FAN) stands in prayerful solidarity with the people of Orlando, Florida, especially the LGBTQ community, as they struggle with the aftermath of the country’s largest mass shooting in our nation’s history.  FAN also decries anti-Muslim rhetoric following the tragedy, especially from a presumptive nominee for President of the United States.

The horrific violent attack was a tragic convergence of hatred, easy access to assault weapons, and Islamophobia.  While we pray for all the victims and their loved ones, we also urge our nation to address root causes of violence, especially in light of this most recent hate crime and rhetoric coming from politicians and the media. FAN calls on Congress to enact a federal ban on the manufacture, purchase, and possession of automatic weapons designed for use on the battlefield.

As Christians, we follow the Jesus who insisted that the greatest commandment is love of God and neighbor and preached “Blessed are the peacemakers.”  As Franciscans, we look to Francis of Assisi who forbade his followers to bear arms and greet everyone with a greeting of peace.  As US Americans, we desire that our country truly offers “liberty and justice for all.”  And we call on Congress to act immediately to ensure that we put a stop once and for all to mass shootings that are plaguing our nation.