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Franciscans hope to go on peace mission to Afghanistan

A group of Franciscan friars, members of an itinerant fraternity, have expressed the desire to go on a peace mission to Afghanistan.

The itinerant fraternity comprises friars from various continents, between 35 and 40 years of age. The Franciscans wish to emulate St Francis who, 800 years ago, went to see Sultan Malek El-Kamil.

The Minister General of the order, Fr Giacomo Bini, said that although the gesture could have adverse consequences for Franciscans in Pakistan, it is in keeping with the Franciscan charism.

"Our peace is called Jesus Christ, and it is a peace that does not seek immediate, effective results, but is made up of small gestures that open new horizons," he said. "It is a peace that combats every form of vengeance and hatred, choosing ways of reconciliation and communion. However, only God knows the time and way."

"We have a special methodology of peace and reconciliation," the Minister General explained. "For us, the commitment to peace is expressed with our presence in areas where there is opposition, divisions, tensions. We go there and behave, simply, as Christians."

Francis himself sent his followers to Muslim countries. "Since then, we are present in Morocco, where we are respected and work with youth," Father Bini continued. "We have communities in Libya and Egypt, with Arab brothers who direct schools attended by students who, in the majority, are Muslims."