A large gathering of religious from Bangalore gathered today at Maitreya Centre for Eco-Justice and Eco-Spirituality for a rare opportunity to hear Fr Joe Rozansky – Director, Franciscan Office for Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC), in Rome. He was introduced by the Minister Provincial Fr Babu Jose Pamplany, OFM who is Fr Rozansky’s host in Bangalore.
Previously, Fr Rozansky was the Director of the Franciscan Post-Novitiate program in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the Director of the Franciscan Postulant program in the Bronx, New York City.
Before professing his final vows to the Franciscan Order in August of 1975, he received his Masters Degree in Theology from the Washington Theological Coalition in Washington, D.C. in 1975. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Siena College in 1971, and entered the Minor Seminary of the Franciscans in September of 1963.
Fr Rozansky was ordained in May of 1976. From 1985-1996, he pursued a Master’s Degree in Economics from American University. He also helped found and sustain the Brazil Network, a small NGO dedicated to working with Brazil. In Brazil he discovered much about working among and for the poor; he learned about how the Church community can stand up for become active in all matters applying to justice in all areas that affect the lives and opportunities of the poor. It was while active in his Brazilian ministry that he began to understand the importance of the so-called Four Conversions:
- Personal conversion
- Relationship conversion
- Political conversion
- Ecological conversion
Our gathering of religious brothers, sisters and priests from many congregations, some of whom travelled long distances, heard how the Franciscan community have adopted attitudes that hark back to how their founder St Francis of Assisi approached life in all its wonder. Specifically they bring a certain Franciscan attitude to seeing God in everything, to treating all with respect, to placing Mankind as part of creation, and that all creatures are brothers and sisters. With this in mind they have a disposition that promotes human dignity, a dignity that ensures environmental justice. The Franciscans form a community that “reads the signs of the times” and in this way take up a supportive and co-operative role with those working for justice among local people, wherever they are in the world.
After lunch everyone joined into smaller groups during which time each group could dialogue on matters raised in the course of Fr Joe’s address. Such questions included “Is there an awareness in my community of environmental justice?” And, “Can I see two positive actions that I can do in favour of environmental justice when I leave here?” These and other questions brought forth a variety of fascinating responses that certainly deserve further discussion by interested religious in the future. In this way perhaps, religious who meet for such purpose might develop a series of “best practices” in their effort for the environment. We at Maitreya would definitely make our facility available for any regular meetings that may be envisaged.
A fine luncheon with morning and afternoon refreshments were provided at Maitreya, and everyone had a most pleasant day of inspiration thanks to Fr Joe Rozansky. We wish him and all who work in many countries for justice to the poor and for the environment, our prayerful blessings for this great work.
If you would like to know more about the Franciscans‘ work, please kindly visit for following web links:
www.ofm.org (go to ‘JPIC’, ‘Fran Resources’, and ‘Other Resources’)
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