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"Brothers and Sisters All!"
October 23, 2020

president

I was waiting for October 3, 2020 to come. And it came with a bang, a big one at that. On this date, Pope Francis signed his latest Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (FT), in Assisi, Italy, right at the tomb of Saint Francis of Assisi. This is a truly historic date. I personally will never forget it. Besides, it coincided with my 67th birthday. Now we have two reasons to continue celebrating. Agree?

 

Since the first official document crafted by Pope Francis, I have been calling these documents “the love letters of Pope Francis” to the whole of humanity. Yes, they are love letters because they come from the Pope’s deep love for people, for Mother Earth, for relationships and encounters, for dreams of a better future, for community, for the preservation of cosmic equilibrium.

 

In Fratelli Tutti, no. 8, Pope Francis says,

 

“It is my desire that, in this our time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity … No one can face life in isolation … We need a community that supports and helps us, in which we can help one another to keep looking ahead … How important it is to dream together … dreams are built together … as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.”

 

In my long years in Latin America as a Missionary, I often heard people saying that the most powerful (and dangerous) persons are those who dream awake. It is the imperative of the Gospel to dream together for the common good. Let us shy away from dreaming only to reach selfish and individualist motives.

 

In our on-line Employees’ Recollection yesterday, our facilitator, outlined and elucidated for us the main lines of Fratelli Tutti. He reminded us to continue aspiring to be instruments of peace, to promote transformative encounters, to keep our prophetic voice loud and alive. He underscored without mincing one word that the whole planet earth is not only in a situation of Environmental Crisis but due to the destruction we have caused this our mother home, we are in an Environmental Emergency. And he emphasized on EMERGENCY.  We are a few years short of the tipping point and the point of no return with regards to global warming. The consequences could be disastrous.

 

But, there should be no room for despair, for us, men and women of faith. So, brothers and sisters all, we are challenged, as educators, as culture formators, to do something now. Even though some of these actions we undertake seem insignificant, let us do them now. Mind you, others will see this good example, and they might feel compelled to follow suit. And there, the revolution for the common good starts. Somehow, we can say later on, with conviction, that we have done something and did not remain as fence-sitters or bench-warmers.

 

Here at SLC San Fernando, we will keep our environment green. We will continue to move towards paperless meetings. We will take care of our facilities and resources. We will strictly implement the culture and practice of recycling. We will strive to reach our goal to make SLC plastic-free. We will …! And the list of doable things goes on.

 

I encourage you all to read through, study and be challenged by this latest Encyclical of Pope Francis. It is very inspiring. Allow me to end by quoting Article 225:

 

“In many parts of the world, there is a need for paths of peace to heal open wounds. There is also a need for peacemakers, men and women prepared to work boldly and creatively to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter”.

 

As part and parcel of our beloved SLC Community, may we be these men and women working creatively for renewed encounters.