Third Order Regular

  • June 16th 2020
  • Published by Fr. Joe Lehman, TOR, Fr. Kevin Queally, TOR

Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Statement by Franciscans, Third Order Regular 
Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”   -Pope Francis

In these turbulent times, it is important for us to be true to the Gospel call to be peacemakers and reconcilers as T.O.R. Franciscans. Our long Franciscan penitential tradition helps us to understand the frustration and anger of our African-American brothers and sisters, as they experience injustice and exclusion. The tragic death of George Floyd and the national outcry in response gives us pause to reflect on how we can bring any semblance of peace and justice. as Franciscan peacemakers.

We reflect on our Holy Father Saint Francis’ visit with the Sultan, his presence in that moment of war, the Crusades, and his longing for a peaceful reconciliation. Saint Francis and the Sultan became friends. We recall also the words of the Second Vatican Council: “Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights, on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” (Gaudium et Spes # 29.2)  

While violence cannot be condoned in any way, it is nonetheless important to speak out against racism. The dignity of every person is the touchstone of Catholic Social Teaching, and so insofar as actions and policies have violated that dignity, as Franciscans of the Third Order Regular we cannot remain indifferent or silent.

As Franciscans T.O.R. we dedicate ourselves to the Prayer of Saint Francis, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” We hope to sow love where there is hatred, to bring pardon where there is injury, instill hope where there is despair. 

“What is needed, and what we are calling for, is a genuine conversion of heart, a conversion that will compel change, and the reform of our institutions and society. Conversion is a long road to travel for the individual. Moving our nation to a full realization of the promise of liberty, equality, and justice for all is even more challenging. However, in Christ we can find the strength and the grace necessary to make that journey.“  From Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - A Pastoral Letter Against Racism (USCCB, 2018)

Very Rev. Joseph Lehman, TOR
Minister Provincial

Fr. Kevin Queally, TOR
Vice-Chair

International Board of Directors
Franciscans International