December Newsletter: Pact of the Catacombs; advocacy, action and more
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Pact of the Catacombs for the Common Home
Joe Mitchell, CP

Fr. Joachim, general superior of the Passionist congregation sent out Christmas letter to the Passionist family. His entire message is about the "Pact of the Catacombs for the Common Home." This is perhaps one of the most relevant and inspiring documents the church has produced in many years. The bishops were inspired by the style of another Catacombs Pact (The Pact for a Servant and Poor Church) signed before the Second Vatican Council in 1965.
Here's how Fr. Joachim describes the context: "Recently I attended the Union of Superiors General conference held here in Rome which was attended by almost 150 leaders of male religious orders and congregations. We also had the opportunity to meet and dialogue with Pope Francis. At the end of the final Mass of the conference, the leaders were invited to sign the Pact of the Catacombs for the Common Home For a Church with an Amazonian face, poor and servant, prophetic and Samaritan. This was a Pact signed on 20 October 2019 in the Roman Catacombs of Santa Domitilla by 40 Bishops attending the Amazon Synod about how they wanted to lead their particular churches in the Amazon region."
 Fr Joachim's full statement is available here   |   en Español

Foto: Ghuillerme Cavalli

Climate Change:  Always More Data Available. 
Now, More Commitment Needed.

Did the words of Fr. Joachim inspire you?  How will you convert your empathy for our common home and its people into compassionate action?  Are you feeling the need to pivot from the "bad news" to active hope?

Here is a humble yet powerful example from JPIC India.  

See the whole issue of their PEACE newsletter here. With appreciation to Passionists for Ecological Action, Charity and Education

So what are WE to do?  First and foremost, we begin to act as though another world is possible and then we begin at home.  We can change what we do in our religious communities, parishes, families.  So as the Family of Passionists, following the calls to action at Chapter meetings and from the Congregation, let's do something in our own back yards.

Report on PNS Supported Haiti Project:
Konbit Pierre Toussaint
Fr. Hugo Esparza, CP
In the midst of harsh unemployment, political gridlock, unprecedented violence in the streets of Haiti, we started a volunteering pilot program, following the model of the PVI (Passionist Volunteer International). We are calling this program Konbit Pierre Toussaint. Pierre Toussaint, a former slave of Haitian descent, is now a blessed in the church recognized for his generosity. Under his intersession we have invited 7 young adults who serve as alphabetization (writing and reading) teachers for the adults in the community. We have two of them volunteering at a local orphanage for children with severe mental and physical challenges. Our goal was to have our youth in the Konbit Pierre Toussaint inspire others through their service. So far, we can say for sure, that after 3 month of the program, our volunteers that are being inspired. They are realizing they can make a difference in the life of others.  Read Hugo's full report here.
PSN Sign On and Advocacy
The PSN added our organizational endorsement of the New Way Forward Act to restore fundamental principles of due Process and Compassion to a deeply unjust immigration system.  Read the backgrounder document here to learn more

We also signed on a faith-leader letter urging 2020 Presidential candidates to put #PeopleOverPentagon by calling for significant cuts to the #PentagonBudget, reinvestment in our communities, & a more peaceful approach to the world beyond. Here's the letter:

National JPIC Gathering at the Border

CMSM's JPIC National Gathering

March 16-18, 2020
Las Cruces, NM

REGISTER NOW to save your spot!

The Passionist Solidarity Network is supporting and attending a 2020 Convergence on March 16-18, 2020.  Coordinated by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), it will include JPIC promoters (religious and laity who run JPIC offices, sit on JPIC committees, and are otherwise involved in this work).  We will gather for three days near the southern border, at the Holy Cross Retreat Center in Las Cruces, NM. Using the lens of immigration to Identify, Build, and Witness, we will explore what JPIC promoters are doing to create systemic change, while building our national network for strategic collaborative action. There will be opportunities to discuss and learn about other Solidarity Network issues as well.

Topics could include pastoral accompaniment and solidarity, role of religious, engagement with dioceses, spiritual vision of migration, strategic collaborative efforts, and issues that affect migration and migrants (climate change, economic justice, racism, and militarization). 

*We are looking to set up an OPTIONAL encounter with migrants and service providers in Juarez, MX (across the bridge from El Paso, TX) the morning of Monday March 16th from about 9am-2pm. This will be an optional event with the formal gathering beginning early afternoon in Las Cruces, NM. I and others will likely be staying overnight in El Paso Sunday March 15th.

Registration, housing, and meals will cost $295. Discount for shared lodging option.
U.S. Advocacy - Defund Remain in Mexico Orders

Asylum seekers are migrants who flee their homes because of a fear of violence or persecution. U.S. and international laws state that anyone has a right to apply for asylum in the United States. However, recent changes in U.S. immigration policy are preventing asylum seekers from waiting for their hearings in safety in the United States, instead forcing them to wait in locations in Mexico where they face violence, extortion, sexual assault and kidnapping.

This "Remain in Mexico" policy violates domestic and international law by sending asylum seekers to dangerous conditions without an adequate screening process, effectively denying them access to lawyers and interpreters and preventing many from receiving a fair day in court. More than 55,000 asylum seekers have already been sent to Mexico under this policy.

Faith reflection: Jesus encouraged us to welcome the stranger as we welcome Jesus himself. Instead of turning away people seeking safety, we should be looking for ways to offer greater support.

ActionUrge your members of Congress to welcome those seeking asylum in the U.S. and to focus any federal spending related to asylum seekers on meeting humanitarian needs and addressing the root causes of migration rather than on dangerous policies such as Remain in Mexico.

Thanks to CMSM and the Mennonite Central Committee for this synopsis.

Book:  Wandering and Welcome

“With characteristic agility, Joe Grant invites us to experience the ‘sacred art of becoming fully human.’ Through the depth and pace of Wandering and Welcome he offers again an immense gift of prayer and poetry, an oasis to nourish and challenge.” —Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International

A native of Scotland, Joe Grant received a Master of Divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. He has served as a missionary and minister in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America. As Director of Programs for JustFaith Ministries, he created nationally recognized formation processes for youth and adults. In 2004, he received the National Federation for Catholic Youth  for Gospel Values of Peace and Justice. Joe lives in inner-city Louisville with his wife and family and is a co-founder of the CrossRoads Ministry retreat center. Joe has authored numerous books and articles on scripture, social justice and spirituality, including a prior volume of reflections entitled Still In the Storm, Reflections for Engaging Spirituality in times like these. He maintains a blog entitled, In the Storm Still

Purchase a copy from Franciscan Media

Linking Justice and Peace in the Lectionary

Justice and peace homily resources are available from the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and other religious communities. The Passionist Solidarity Network collaborates with other community justice and peace offices and we would love to see other homily resources coming from the Passionist charism. Contact the Passionist Solidarity Network office if you would like to contribute.

Additional homily resources from the Ignatian Solidarity Network

The Franciscan Action Network weekly newsletter has homily and petition writing resoures.  Sign up here:

The Holy Cross Passionist website features wonderful daily scripture reflections from the Passionist Family.  Three regular contributors are members of the Passionist Solidarity Network Advisory Board. 

The Catholic Climate Covenant has homily helps incorporating Laudato Si’ as well as weekly tip bulletin inserts (including Spanish).  
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