As part of the Earth Day event Villagio per la terra held in the park of Villa Borghese in Rome, the Capuchins Friars of Central Italy (with their publications Assisi Missio and Frate Indovino) set up a large Tent of Peace. On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, April 22-23, 2023, several of the brothers presented a mission project called The Franciscan Family and the Trauma of War. A Mission of Peace for Ukraine.
It was the result of consensus and collaboration between the OFM Capuchins, OFM Conventuals and the Secular Franciscan Order, when they came together to consider ways of responding to the Russia-Ukraine war beyond fundamental emergency responses. So, the Offices for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of both the Capuchin and Conventual General Curias along with the Ukrainian Third Order Secular Franciscans asked the Capuchin Social Theatre Department to teach a group of Ukrainians a methodology of Social Theatre capable of working in the psycho-social sphere to treat war trauma.
Br. Joel de Jesus OFMCap (Capuchin JPIC office), Br. Michael Lasky OFMConv (Conventual JPIC office) and Br. Stefano Luca OFMCap (Capuchin Social Theatre Department international director) led a meeting at the Tent of Peace where they recounted the more than 100 hours of training done with seven young Ukrainians and then presented the documentary Franciscan Social Theatre Training. Responding to the Ukrainian War Trauma [directed by Regia Mattia Canovi; 20’]. The video features not only the mission project itself, but also focuses on its fruits thanks to these trainees who initiated as many as eleven healing workshops (six in Ukraine and five in Poland). With the skills acquired from this training, they were able to offer them for children and adults, blind and visually impaired, autistic children and internally displaced persons.
The collaboration between the three Franciscan families has been a significant expression of the charism of Apostolic Life that characterizes us. To carry out such missions of peace together as an inter-obediential fraternity has ensured that we not only generate a means for rebirth in the lives of those who are suffering, but also that we rekindle a desire to walk in the way of faith amidst the darkness of war. Indeed, the trainees – through the daily witness of the three brothers – have drawn closer to Christ. Leading the way toward peace through fraternity means leading the way toward evangelization.
What’s next? The collaboration between the Capuchin and Conventual Curia JPIC offices continues. And a new mission focusing on tormented Syria is beginning to surface. Stay tuned!