“It’s kind of difficult sometimes … places in the world are so different, cultures, philosophies are different.”
JPIC deals with environmental justice, which is the relationship between the environment and justice for people.
Fr Rozansky said it dealt with peace-building and reconciliation in the friars’ work with the excluded of society.
And it deals with the ethical use of resources, both financial and natural.
On his visit Fr Joe has met with priests, religious, teachers and laity to encourage them in the JPIC message.
“I’ve met with the friars in different places like Sydney, Auckland, Melbourne and Brisbane,” he said.
He spoke to teachers at Padua College, at Kedron, in Brisbane, on September 5 on the topic Peace with People, Peace with our Planet: A Franciscan Perspective.
“It’s a formation session for the staff. We’ll be talking about the Franciscan thing, talking about peace, the environment, environmental justice as manifestations of what (St) Francis did and what we are asked to do today,” Fr Rozansky said.
“The idea of coming to talk to the staff is to ask them ‘what are they doing as Franciscans to get the young people thinking about this kind of stuff’.
“We can’t force anybody to do it.
“I don’t want to be running around like the prophet of gloom.
“If we don’t have an honest dialogue about the environment I think we’re going to have a lot bigger problems in the very near future.”
Fr Rozansky’s vocation has led him to travel the world promoting environmental justice, to the jungles of Brazil aiding indigenous workers and to help form Franciscan novices.
He’s been director of a Franciscan post-novitiate program in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the director of the Fran-ciscan postulant program in the Bronx, New York City.
Before professing his final vows to the Franciscans 1975, he received his Masters Degree in Theology from the Washington Theological Coalition in Washington, DC in 1975.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Siena College in 1971, and entered the Minor Seminary of the Franciscans in September 1963.
Fr Rozansky was ordained in May of 1976.
He was a missionary is Brazil from 1975 to1985.
“I worked in Brazil for 10 years,” he said.
“As a Franciscan, it’s not just a matter a protecting nature, but it’s a question of environmental justice where we are concerned about nature because it’s part of a bigger relationship that we have with one another, the world, with God.
“We need to take all of those relationships into question as we reflect on what’s going on in our world today.
“When I was in Brazil, the first few years I think you’re trying to get your feet on the ground and I think that it helped me to do that in terms of the work I’m doing now.
“I worked a lot in education when I was down there, but at the same time in the background was the military government, the injustices that were going on and we had some really great people down in Brazil at that time.
“We had some great Franciscans, two of the cardinals were wonderful. There was a whole group of bishops down there that really led the charge against the injustices.
“In Brazil, the Church was the only organization, I would say, that was capable of standing up to the military and they became an umbrella to many other organisations that needed support and help.”
From his experience travelling the world, Fr Joe said there were three conversions people needed to be good Catholics.
“A personal one, which would be me and God, an interpersonal one, which is me and the people around me and then a political one, me and the world, the structures,” he said.
“We talk about environmental justice, that’s the way we’ve chosen because it brings together our traditional concern for social justice and includes the environmental justice.
“The bigger problem is trying to convince a good number of our people how JPIC should be part of who we are and what we do.
“That’s in spite of the Scriptures and Church teaching. “Our own (Franciscan) documents are full of it.
“I think when we talk about conversion it really means changing.
“People don’t like to change.
“If you’re talking about on the level of a society it’s difficult.”
Fr Rozansky has also spoken to many people about the impact of mining in Australia.
“Wherever I go, people say to me they are having a lot of difficulties with the mining industry,” he said.
“Things like that are popping up here in Australia right now.
“But I think part of the issues is … what are our bottom-line values.”
Fr Rozansky hopes to continue promoting the goals of JPIC around the world.
“In 2002 JPIC came up with five proposals. They were accepted and we worked on them for six years,” he said.
“When we got together in 2008 basically what we said was that we had not even scratched the surface of what needed to be done.
“If you take any important issue and you go deep enough into it you’re going to find all the other issues tied in.
“I would say we need to continue to convince people that JPIC is who we are and need to help people to make it part of whatever they are doing.
“Too often we talk about things and nothing happens.
“Even if it’s something little we need to do something.
“I think that as you take action, you begin to build on it.
“You see that things are possible and you begin to think bigger and you look for allies.”
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