May Newsletter-In times of uncertainty and struggle
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St. Gabriel's Passionist Parish, Toronto, Ontario 

Most Merciful God,
We come to You in our weakness. 
We come to You in our fear.
We come to You with trust.
For You alone are our hope.

We place before You the disease present in our world.
We turn to You in our time of need.

Bring wisdom to doctors.
Give understanding to scientists.
Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity.
Bring healing to those who are ill.
Protect those who are most at risk.
Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one.
Welcome those who have died into Your Eternal Home.

Stabilize our communities.
Unite us in our compassion.
Remove all fear from our hearts.
Fill us with confidence in Your care.

We ask this through Christ the Lord


Passionists Responding to COVID-19
Staff preparing meals in Mater Dolorosa’s kitchen.
Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center
Sierra Madre, California

When California’s Governor instituted the stay at home order for the state, Mater Dolorosa closed the retreat center to in-person gatherings. In response, Director Michael Cunningham and the retreat center staff opened their hearts and their kitchen, establishing a food ministry to feed those in need in their local community.
The National Catholic Reporter highlighted Mater Dolorosa’s food ministry in an article published on May 5, 2020. Click here to read the full article.

Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center
Houston, Texas

Holy Name retreat center was closed when the state of Texas issued a stay at home order. The retreat center produced a video to let their retreatants and the local community know that they are missed, and they are loved. Watch the video on our website.

Ministry Vision Fulfillment Team
Holy Cross Province

The Ministry Vision Fulfillment Team produced a video highlighting some of the ministerial outreach from our Passionist Family in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch the video on their website.  

Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center...
Citrus Heights, California

During the stay at home order in California, Christ the King’s efforts and opportunities to connect with the surrounding community remain abundant. Check-in phone calls, prayer offerings and bi-weekly reflections are just some of the things being done to let everyone know the Passionist Family at Christ the King is walking together with them during this challenging time. Christ the King livestreams Mass with Jack Conley, CP, every Thursday at 9:00 am, PDT, On their Facebook page

The Passionist Earth & Spirit Center

Click here for a list of resources that the Earth and Spirit Center has created and curated for cultivating mindfulness, equanimity, and compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to Claire Smith for her compilation from the May 2020 Holy Cross Province News

Update from Haiti
"In Haiti's case, regarding the pandemic, the official numbers cannot be trusted. The official count as of today is of 100 positive cases. In reality, I think we need to multiply this by at least a one thousand. Last week, two deportees with COVID escaped twice and went back to their homes in Port Au Prince. The second time, the police decided not to look for them anymore. The rich are able to buy tests and keep their names off the official list. They can afford to pay for private care. ...  Estimations run wild. It is said that 85% to 35% of the population will be infected. These are the extreme scenarios. From 5 thousand to 100 thousand deaths are expected."

Our friend and brother, Fr. Hugo Esparza CP has sent us this report about the pandemic's effects on his work in the neighborhoods of Haiti. Please keep him and the people of Haiti in your prayers.  Fr. Hugo has also created an inspiring web resource describing their projects in terms of their hopes and aspirations.  Read Fr. Hugo's full report here.
How is your community holding up in response to the pandemic?  How are you staying safe and healthy? What unique challenges are facing you? What are you finding you can do to support your surrounding communities? What is inspiring you in these times that effects the entire Passionist Family and our world so much?  Contact me, David Horvath, and share your experiences.  My email is

Pope Francis invites you to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week

May 16-24

Everything is connected.  We’re living through history-shaping events. Laudato Si’ teaches us how to build a better world–together.  People everywhere are crying out for hope, and our faith is urgently needed to light the way. For Laudato Si’ Week, 16-24 May, Catholics are uniting in solidarity for a more just and sustainable future. The Laudato Si' Week website offeres resources to 

  • Reflect and prepare through online trainings, 16-23 May
  • Join the worldwide day of prayer, 24 May
  • Put preparation into action during the Season of Creation, this September
Details are here
Listen to the Pope!

"In September 2019, The Passionist Congregation in England and Wales issued a statement in recognition of the climate and ecological emergency, as a pledge to work to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in our own generations by 2025 and to call on government to tell the truth about the emergency and to work towards a zero emissions target also by 2025."

Their assertions are simple but radical:
  • We will tell the truth
  • We will take action
  • We are committed to justice
Read about this statement from the newsletter, Passio 5

Berkley Forum:
Religion and the COVID-19 Pandemic - Environmental Health

There are some bigger sharks out there.

What are the lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic on the intersection of climate change and global health? How can religious ethics inform approaches to global health and the environment, especially in light of the current pandemic? How might coronavirus-related behavior change figure into long-term action on global climate change? What are the next steps in environmental health following the conclusion of the pandemic?

The Berkley Forum gathers opinion and analysis with editorial responses to these questions from a range of academics, cultural writers and theologians.

Read the entries for the forum here.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days - In These Times

This month, on what would have been its annual Lobby Day, Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) organizers hosted a virtual even featuring guest speakers Rev. Dr. Betty Whitted Holley, Archbishop Mark MacDonald, and Shanta Ready Alonso who each spoke briefly about this year’s “ask" to legislators.

The full recording of the webinar can be found here.

Also, the Franciscan Advocacy Network hosted a virtual gathering at EAD to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  Their featured speaker was Franciscan Sister of Rochester, MN, Joan Brown OSF, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light. Her inspiring and challenging talk declared society to be in an “evolutionary, transformational moment” and called for us to be repairers of the world.  You can watch the recording on the Franciscan Action Network website, here.

New Partnership and Website for the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology
The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology have announced a new partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Faith for Earth Initiative.  Read the UNEP press release.   Also, the Yale Forum launched a new website. It is rich in resources ranging from overview essays, annotated bibliographies, statements, engaged projects, and sacred texts of the world’s religions. It also has sections on the climate emergency, Laudato Si’, and our multimedia project and Emmy Award winning film, Journey of the Universe. 
Gun sales and violence on the increase

We are alarmed by reports of the spike in gun sales during the novel Coronavirus pandemic. While panic food buying is discouraged, we must also deplore panic gun purchasing.

We share a digital toolkit prepared by Guns Down America to educate the public about the dangers of stockpiling weapons. As Franciscans, we add our faith voice to that of Guns Down America in calling for Stop the Coronavirus Gun Surge.

Thanks to FAN Newsletter

This year, in light of COVID-19, the ecumenical Festival of Homiletics is moving online. And "because the world needs good preaching as we grapple with a global pandemic," organizers are providing free access.  It will be live-streamed for on May 18-22. This year's theme is “Preaching a New Earth: Climate and Creation.” 

Reserve a spot

Explore this free, open-source online book titled Living Earth Community: Multiple Ways of Being and Knowing (Open Access Publishers, 2020). Edited by Sam Mickey, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, this book is the fruit of a conference at Oak Spring Garden Foundation held October 26-29, 2018. Living Earth Community is a celebration of the diversity of ways in which humans can relate to the world around them, and an invitation to its readers to partake in planetary coexistence. From May 11 – July 1, a series of videos will be released that highlight different chapters of the book. You can watch these videos here.

Thanks to Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

Linking Justice and Peace in the Lectionary

Justice and peace homily resources are available from various 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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