St Francis knew war, too, Franciscan tells students

Friar2Crop

Father Russel Murray, OFM, president of of the Franciscans’ Commission for Dialogue

By Emil Anton

ROME — On Holy Thursday, March 25, The Lay Centre welcomed two Franciscans and a group from DePaul University for an afternoon on the theme, “Peace and Justice in the Franciscan Tradition.

The students and faculty had already visited Assisi, where St. Francis founded his religious community of friars, and were preparing for the start of the Easter Triduum in Rome. 

FriarGroupCrop

Father Pascal Robert, OFM, speaks with students from DePaul University in Chicago and with Lay Centre residents on justice and peace in the Franciscan tradition.

The Lay Centre invited two Franciscans to address the group on the topic: Father Pascal Robert, vicar of the International Fraternity for Dialogue in Turkey and former dean of the National Catholic Institute of Theology in Pakistan; and Father Russel Murray, president of the OFM Commission for Dialogue and former professor of theology at the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.

At lunch, the students of The Lay Centre mingled with those from DePaul. After some informal conversation, the friars spoke about their Franciscan vocations.

Father Murray from the United States spoke of an oft-forgotten aspect of the life of St. Francis — his time as a soldier.  Most people see St. Francis as a utopian figure, who preached to the birds and spoke about peace, he said. But the saint also knew war and violence, he said. Thus, he concluded, the story of St. Francis speaks also to those who are surrounded by war and affliction.

Friar1Crop

Father Pascal Robert, OFM, vicar of the International Fraternity for Dialogue in Turkey

Father Robert from Pakistan spoke about the unusual beginning of his vocation, saying he was almost “pressured” by a Franciscan priest to “go and see” the Franciscan way. He also shared stories about his work for peace and reconciliation in Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Father Robert from Pakistan spoke about the unusual beginning of his vocation, saying he was almost “pressured” by a Franciscan priest to “go and see” the Franciscan way. He also shared stories about his work for peace and reconciliation in Muslim-majority Pakistan.

After the friars’ presentations, the students were encouraged to speak with each other about what they had just heard, and then to ask questions. The students also shared about their experience of the Franciscan spirit in Assisi and gave tips to those who had not yet been there.

Professor Ken Butigan of DePaul University, who led the group, said their “pilgrimage was, for a number of students, life-changing.” 

Located in Chicago, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States.

(Photos: Beata and Emil Anton)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s