The purpose of this new Passionist Solidarity and Mission Office is to help our missionaries in their task of evangelizing the people, but where their stomachs are empty there’s a concomitant need for development. Solidarity, then, is “the way to peace and at the same time to development “ (Christifideles Laici, 42.) Mission and Solidarity are inextricably conjoined. Likewise Evangelization and Human Promotion are inextricably conjoined, as Paul VI tells us in Evangelii Nuntiandi, 31. How can the New Way be proclaimed unless we promote, through Justice and Peace, the true and authentic growth of humankind? Solidarity is the duty of wealthy countries to assist the poorer ones in overcoming their underdevelopment. (SRS 22.) Development demands solidarity. Without solidarity there’s no development. (SRS 33.)
Don’t we see the name of Jesus written on their foreheads? Their candor, their innocence and their questioning glances are begging a response from us. These young girls from our Kerala mission in India are a reminder of the selfless sacrifice of our missionaries. They speak to us of Evangelization, but also of human promotion and development. 2
On the front cover: Passionist missionary Fr. Lombardo Lonoce, together with a family and a Baobab tree , in Tanzania.
International Commision for Solidarity e met this time at our General House in Rome, on 4th and 5th of February. The usual members (Aristín, Roy Sánchez and Nando Valsecchi) were joined on this occasion by: • John González, as representative for the English-speaking laity; • William Lebba, representing the African continent, and • Francesco Nicolò, as representative for the Italian laity. Thus, for the first time ever, and promoting the JPIC so as to lay persons have actively par- constitute a network allowing ticipated in the Commission for us to undertake activities and Solidarity, as we seek to deter- campaigns together, thus mine how best to incorporate a enabling us to reach every comgreater number of laity from munity and individual religious. our Passionist Family. This is Each person present undertook not an easy objective to attain to gather all pertinent informaand we agreed to affirm that the tion on such projects as are JPIC is something very specific already underway in our varito the laity, to their Christian ous communities and parishes and Passionist vocation, and in this broad field of Justice and that a thorough process of for- Peace, in order to allow us to mation and coordination is publish the information in a required if they are to seriously booklet which could then be undertake the commitment. sent to all religious of our We treated the following Passionist Family. themes: 2. The need to improve our 1. The need to insist that all website: www.jpicpassionist. the Provinces, and Vicariates org so as to make it a useful should designate a religious to point of encounter for all of us assume the task of animating who are engaged in the work of
Solidarity, Justice and Peace. We must try to enrich it through our common effort. 3. Finally, we agreed to try and have four days of prayer and reflection on JPIC in all our communities in the course of the present year. We also agreed to participate in such international campaigns as may be organized by the United Nations which, throughout the year, will affirm our desire to be ever more aware of the reality facing our world. We were adamant on the importance of including the JPIC in the Initial Formation
programmes (for our postulants, novices and students) and in ongoing formation, through talks, courses and workshops. In the coming months there will be courses and workshops in Latin America: Mexico, the Argentine, Chile and Colombia. Each person present informed fully on the work so-far carried out in his area, and we shared the various difficulties encountered. We thus encouraged one another to continue with this demanding work of animating and motivating our communities.
Days of Prayer and Reflection on JPIC in our communities
1. 16th October: World Food day. Reflection on the Right to Food in a Hungry World. The following day, 17th October, is the World Day for the Eradication of Poverty. These are two good occasions to reflect on our solidarity with millions of people facing hunger and poverty. 2. 10th December: World Human Rights Day. It will have been sixty years since the United nations approved a universal declaration on Human Rights, and we should pray together in all our communities on this critical theme of fundamental importance. 3. 30th January: Martyrs of Non-Violence Day. On January 1st we shall all, as a Church, celebrate World Peace Day. Seeing that on this day most of us will be engaged in various other activities, we have decided to devote the whole of the month of January to the theme of Peace, and we’d like to conclude it with the anniversary of Gandhi’s death, so as to come closer to the Beatitude of Peace. 4. 15th May: International Family Day. A good occasion to pray together for all the world’s families..
Missionaries in R. D. Congo he Democratic Republic of the Congo is a huge country with more than 60 million inhabitants with a brilliant future awaiting it if it could be rid of the war and the nefarious ambitions of the multinational corporations. The Passionist missionaries arrived there in 1930 and wherever they went they opened schools, medical dispensaries and hospitals. At the moment there are 52 Passionists and they too look to a wonderful
future, given the large number of young men who are requesting to enter their seminary. At the moment there are 8 theology students. Right now a new novitiate building is under construction at Kikwit. It has a total of 20 rooms, capable of housing 20 novices every year beginning this July. In other parts of the building there will be a library, recreation room, a reading room, a kitchen, and a laundry area. There is a good-sized chapel in the middle of the building large enough to accommodate neighboring families who live far from the parish church of St. Etienne. The grounds, which they have in concession, cover 9 hectares (22.24 acres.) Itâ€™s good for cultivating the ground and breeding animals, and it
will even be possible to put in a fish farm, as there is a small stream. We have added a preparatory school year and at the moment there are 9 candidates. We have 11 postulants doing their philosophy and theology studies. Two deacons were ordained not long ago and another deacon is doing a year of pastoral experience. Our main difficulty regarding formation has been financial: • Many young people are asking to enter, but our economic means and housing facilities simply don’t allow us to accept them. They themselves haven’t the means to cover the cost of formation. • The reigning poverty in the country makes it difficult to discern true vocations. (Many
would like to become priests as this places one on a higher social strata, so this makes proper discernment vital.) • However, the biggest stumbling block for all would-be candidates finding a way to cover the cost of their formation. This explains the reduced number of theology students in the course of these last years. • The arriving students are of a very poor cultural caliber, so a year of preparatory formation is fundamental before they can continue with higher studies. • There is a dearth of formation personnel. • The relationship of the Congregation with students’ families: even after they become religious there is still a need to care for their families who are often very poor.
The Congo seminary under construction
Lay volunteers he Passionist Volunteers International (United States) were founded in 1973 with a view to making our Passionist presence felt among the poorest of society. “The main value the program seeks to embody is to be in communion with the people we serve and with each other through the shared experience of providing direct services that address particular needs of a community”. An attempt is made to form a community between the volunteers and those amongst whom we minister. Our field of activities is for the most part in Jamaica and Honduras, although we are also engaged in Brooklyn, New York. You can read a lot more on the web page (www.passionistvolunteers.org). Our motto is, fittingly, “To Construct, Serve and Believe.” Every year a considerable number of volunteers witness to their solidarity. We’ll be waiting for you!
Volunteers checking vision in an ophthalmological programme. The same group of volunteers took eyeglasses for the poor in El Salvador.
JPIC Australia My name is Jose Ramon Sanchez, CP, and I am a member of the Australian Province. I am chair of my provinces JPIC committee, as well as a member of the Congregationâ€™s Commission for Solidarity, Mission and JPIC. Our provinceâ€™s commitment to the work of JPIC is not old, only about 8 years, but it is growing. I have been chair of this committee for only about 2 years. Most recently, our Provincial Council has seen that it is important to free me, at least part time, to work in this area. This has enabled me to pursue a number of projects including working to ensure our houses are ecologically sound in their use of electricity, water and waste disposal; begin to organize immersion experiences to take young people affiliated with us for a 3 week visit to do voluntary work in orphanages in Vietnam and the Philippines with a Passionist guide to help them reflect on what it means to be with the crucified; and become involved in a more concrete way with local NGO's as well as network with the JPIC representatives for the congregation in the PASPAC region so as to collaborate on projects of justice. I believe we have made a concrete start at shifting the thinking of our province to see that JPIC is not only 'a theme' but rather 'The Theme,' central to our Charism, that will take us into true Gospel living and keeping alive the memory of the Passion.
P INTeRNaTIoNal s s I o N I s T s
e held our ordinary meeting on October 3rd and 4th 2008 as usual at our community in New York. The new Superior General of the Sisters of the Passion and Cross, Mother Angelica Alcorta, participated for the first time. As usual at our meetings we shared among ourselves the work carried out by each of our members, especially regarding our presence at the UN. Kevin Dance explained his work at the United Nations which, in the course of these last few months, was centered on the following themes: • Millenium Development Goals. • Funding for Development:
The Doha (Qatar) Round will evaluate its progress. • The Permanent Forum for matters related to Indigenous Peoples. • NGOs involved with Israel and the Palestinians. • Commission for Social Development. More information is available on: www.passionistsinternational.org . Sister Mary Ann Strain c.p. spoke on her work at the UN, centred above all on defence of the dignity and rights of women and girls. We also reflected on inculcating sensitivity for the suffering of peoples among our religious and communities, as well as on how to discover Christ among the crucified peoples of our day
Social Inclusion ear Passionist Brothers are working to make their communities more inclusive. ► social inclusion is the help. process that ensures equal An important area of work opportunities – so that everyfor Passionists International one can achieve their full at the United Nations is Social potential in life. It includes Development. This looks at policies and actions that proextreme poverty and the dam- mote equal access to (public) age this does to people’s lives services and enable citizen’s and health and their chances participation in the decisionfor development. It looks at making processes that affect the things that exclude people their lives. from participating effectively ► social exclusion is the in their communities and how opposite of social inclusion. It to change this. is the systematic neglect, social Integration is the oppression or discrimination priority theme for the 2009- against people in social insti2010 review and policy cycle tutions, whether by governof the Commission for Social ment, organizations, commuDevelopment. The Commis- nities and households. sion, composed of 46 governIn the first year, 2009, they ments, will try to understand will seek information from how social exclusion makes real people to understand the the experience of extreme scope of social exclusion, poverty worse. They want to what causes it and what damlearn from the experience of age it does. In the second year, people who are forced to live 2010, they will work to create in poverty or from those what social integration policies to Sisters, D and I am writing to ask your
reduce inequalities, promote access to basic social services, education for all and health care, and increase the participation and integration of social groups. With your help we, from Passionists International, can bring the stories and information from you who are in such close contact with the struggles and sufferings of your brothers and sisters. In this way we can help to inform and shape the policy decisions of the Commission. We would be grateful if you would share from your experience some responses to the following questions with us: 1. Brief stories of how people experience social exclusion and what effect it has had on them. 2. From your work can you name some of the things that stop people from taking a full and active part in their community and society? 3. Name some small projects or actions you have developed to enable people to achieve their potential. It does
not matter how small the project is! 4. What would help you and your people to be part of building a more inclusive society? You can answer these questions yourself; or ask the people you serve to give you their answers. We are happy to receive your replies in French, Spanish, Portuguese or English. We can learn from these and pass on the wisdom to governments. We will let you know how your information is used. It would be most helpful if you could send your responses to me. Thank you for your readiness to share your expertise with us. United in our Passion for Life,
Kevin Dance, C.P. Representing the Passionist Family at the United Nations
Sisters of the Cross and Passion ur Congregation, Sisters of the Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ had its origin in Manchester during the 19th Century. Its foundress, Mother Mary Joseph was a young Englishwoman who converted to Catholicism at the time the first Passionist missionaries arrived in England. It arose out of the areas on the margins of the city, from the poor and for the poor of their times. During these last years, searching, in fidelity to our origins, we desire to deepen our option to continue “growing in solidarAngélica Algorta ity with the crucified of today, sharing General Superior with them our conviction of the power of the Cross.” (Covenant of the Passion N.2.) Present in the British Isles and Ireland, the sisters respond to the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, offer retreats and follow their option to care for the earth. They have extended their option to include work with terminally ill people in Bosnia opening two hospice centres there. In Peru, Chile and Argentina the communities are inserted in the peripheral areas of the cities and in rural zones making a clear option for the excluded, sharing their lives and committed to the struggle in favour of ‘another world is possible’. Botswana, is for us a re-commencement after years of ministry accompanying the formation of a diocesan congregation “Sisters of Calvary”. In these last years we have faced the chal-
lenge of working with and accompanying people suffering from HIV and in preventative education. The United States and Jamaica have opted to work in the area of promotion of Women, offering retreats, and formal and informal education. In some cases they work in collaboration with the Passionist Congregation. Two years ago in dialogue with the Passionist Community we formed a small community in Melbourne, Australia to work together with the Priests and Brothers in pastoral work. Knowing that our Charism is that of the Church and that it must be nurtured, the sisters endeavour to share it with the laity. According to the place, we speak of associates, or Passionist family. It is a source of great happiness to know that the family is increasing and that the sisters are no longer alone in bringing â€œthe joy of the resurrection to the pain of the world todayâ€?. (Covenant of the Passion N.8).
Solidarity in Formation ithout a doubt one of the primary difficulties encountered by our missionaries in Kenya, Tanzania, D.R. Congo, Philippines, India, Peru, just to mention some of the more typical ones, is their need to meet the expense incurred in formation. There are many Young candidates in these countries who call at our doors asking to be Passionists. Needless to say some of them are just aspiring to improve their standard of living, understandable given the poverty in their society. Hence the need for a wise process of discernment regarding the authenticity of their vocation. Such a process, by its very nature sometimes long drawn-out, requires some years of experience, and this in turn means considerable expense. One cannot simply accept anybody who comes along out of good will, without a sufficient in-depth knowledge of the aspirant. But it seems hardly acceptable that he be sent back home because there’s no place in the budget for a preparatory school where such young men can spend one or two years prior to a decision. In that space of time we should: • seek to improve their normally low academic level; • enable them to better know us Passionists, and in turn • allow us to better know them. All this requires funding, and these initial steps in formation are often not given their due importance; the acceptance of candidates is therefore restricted and the entrance of new vocations to the Congregation is lower than it should be. All this spells out an urgent call upon the Fund for Formation and the wealthier areas of our Congregation to extend a helping hand to their less well-off brethren. So we are here calling upon all men and women of good will to show generous solidarity toward the ongoing quest for new Passionist vocations. Everyone is invited to make a free-will donation. You’ll find our bank account number on the last page.
The Mozambique Seminarians
Latest Book: Passionist JPIC his book has been published in order to help sensitize our communities and religious. The main objective is to show that a commitment to Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation are deeply rooted in our Passionist charism. The Passionist charism is by no means limited to promoting certain devotions or preaching missions; rather, to make THe MeMoRIa PassIoNIs (Memory of the Passion) is tantamount to living out the very kernel of Jesus’ mandate at the Last Supper, “Do this in memory of me.” Keeping the Memoria Passionis leads us to meditate on Christ Crucified even as we keep in mind the many crucified people of our day, which must in turn lead us to passionately live the struggle for Justice and Peace, and all this because Jesus continues to die today, and we simply cannot remain silent in the face of the enormous amount of injustice which we humans are wreaking on our brothers and sisters living in desperately poor areas. An attempt has been made in the book to explain the main characteristics of JPIC spirituality. JPIC is a way of being a Passionist today. The book tries to explain how JPIC perfectly dovetails with our Passionist charism and hence should be kept very much in mind during initial and ongoing formation.
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