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World Day of Peace: Educating Young People in Justice and Peace

By Ryan Lothian

“Dear young people, you are a precious gift for society. 

 Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems. Do not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, to choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication. 

Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love! Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm.”
 Pope Benedict XVI’s address for the celebration of the World Day of Peace 2012

On this Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Catholics across the globe pray together in the World Day of Peace. The theme for 2012 is Educating Young People in Justice and Peace,” a perfect alignment with the mission and work of Franciscan Mission Service. 

In the tradition of St. Francis and St. Clare, we promote peace and justice year-round. We engage in a mission of presence, accompaniment, and advocacy. Strong theological and cross-cultural training, we believe, lead to respectful and effective mission service.In his address, Pope Benedict XVI talks about what it takes to become a peacemaker. “In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution.”

We recognize these very needs and address them during our 13-week formation program for our missioners-in-training. Our missioners are taught that, when we enter other cultures, it is more important for the people to see us, get to know us, and to be known by us; this is the essence of a ministry of presence.

Rather than coming with the intention of implementing program after program, missioners who engage in a ministry of presence spend time with and listening to the people, empowering them to believe in themselves, to identify solutions, and to value their own opinions.

For the poor people in Bolivia, Zambia and South Africa, our missioner are the witnesses that the pope calls for, “[T]oday more than ever we need authentic witnesses, and not simply people who parcel out rules and facts; we need witnesses capable of seeing farther than others because their life is so much broader.”

Michael Redell and Kitzi Hendricks, our newest missioners

As we joyously send two new young people into the mission field this month, we look forward to training more in the fall. It is our hope that in 2012 you continue to journey with us and lend your prayerful and financial support to Franciscan Mission Service, where lay people — of all ages — work for peace, justice and hope.

“All you men and women throughout the world, who take to heart the cause of peace: peace is not a blessing already attained, but rather a goal to which each and all of us must aspire. Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey; let us work together to give our world a more humane and fraternal face; and let us feel a common responsibility towards present and future generations, especially in the task of training them to be people of peace and builders of peace.” – Pope Benedict XVI

Are you discerning your call to promote justice and peace? Talk to us about going on mission.

We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

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