Walking the Walk
Custos Yusuf Bagh, OFM, is the spiritual leader of Franciscans in Pakistan, a country in which only 1.6% of the population is Christian. Friars in his Custody of St. John the Baptist, a “twin” to our own SJB Province, serve their people in parishes, schools and poverty programs. Sectarian violence is frighteningly common. In 2013 suicide bombers killed 127 people at a church in northwest Pakistan. Recently the Taliban slaughtered 148 people – including 132 children – at a school in Peshawar. Knowing how precarious life is for Christians in Pakistan, Yusuf is not discouraged. “We continually, almost on a daily basis, hear about robberies and snatching of things, corruption, injustices and all sorts of slavery and inhuman treatment of people,” he wrote last year. “There seems to be no way of stopping such things and there is no immediate remedy to such situations. While we may not have full control of the situations we sometimes find ourselves in, the Scriptures offer us hope and courage to continue doing good and keep on seeking ways and means to meet God in people.”
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“We, the Franciscans of St. John the Baptist Province, commit ourselves to increase our awareness of issues surrounding refugees, migrants, and victims of human trafficking in order to develop more proactive Franciscan responses on the provincial, friary and personal level.”
— 2008 Chapter Resolution,
Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province, USA
Greetings and peace!
Welcome to our provincial Justice and Peace web pages. During the coming year we hope to raise some issues of importance to us as Franciscans and also of importance to you. We encourage you to spend some time reading and reflecting on these articles that affect our daily lives as members of the Catholic Church, citizens of this country and followers of St. Francis of Assisi.
There are many unjust structures and many issues in our lives today that need to be explored. We might not have all the answers but, hopefully, we’ll have a clearer understanding of them. Then knowing all the facts we can determine what we can do to make our little part of the world a safer and more just place in which to live.
During the last 14 years Sr. Donna Graham has brought many challenging issues, articles and insights to our readers. As she moves on, we thank her for her dedication and service to the friars of SJB Province and to our readers. I look forward to this new challenge and ask that you let me know what you think are the important issues in your lives. Hopefully together we can do our part in building a more just and peaceful world.
Br. Scott Obrecht, OFM
JPIC Animator

Peace Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O divine master, grant that I may not
So much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
In pardoning that we are pardoned,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.