Special Edition - Passioinists Responding to the Signs of the Times
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Passionists Responding to the Signs of the Times--
Two action plans from Chapter and Assembly meetings

In his opening reflection at the June 6-11 35th Provincial Chapter meeting of the Holy Cross Province in Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Fr. Joachim Rego reflected on the call of Jesus to Peter “to get out of the boat” and he continued by asking us to accept the risks and dangers of that call and to do the same. Passionists have a unique calling to be in solidarity with the crucified of today by recreating our relationships with fellow human beings who are poor and on the unjust margins of society. He spoke of the solidarity, empathy and compassion that comes with accepting that invitation in our work. This human solidarity also requires of us an active engagement with environmental concerns, because it is the poor who suffer first from environmental harm, even though they have contributed the least to its causes. Fighting poverty and facing our ecological crisis are not either/or propositions. As we’ve heard, “You can’t have healthy people on a sick planet.”

At that meeting, as a culmination of the long-term visioning process for the province, calls to action were highlighted relating to five key areas of Passionist life and ministry:  Charism, Community, Collaboration, Outreach and Preaching.  Two of the calls to action that emerged from the Chapter are particularly compelling for the Passionist Solidarity Network and will form the basis of much of our work going forward.  They are:

  • Embracing Laudato Si--Taking Action to Care for Our Common Home In response to the pressing crisis of global climate change, we affirm our commitment to the teaching of the Church expressed in Laudato Si and the calling of our charism to respond to the suffering of the Earth and its creatures, we recommend that all members and entities of the province (community residences, ministry sites, and province organizations) affirm and embrace the spirit of Laudato Si’ by taking action to care for the Earth as our “common home.” 
  • Responding to the immigration crisis-- Affirming Holy Cross province’s longtime commitment to Hispanic ministry and the suffering of the most vulnerable of today, we call ourselves to explore ways in which we respond to the desperate plight of refugees by offering care and compassion for immigrants and migrants.

Later in June, at the St. Paul of the Cross Assembly in Jamaica, conversations were also very much in keeping with these concerns and they will be further discussed by the leadership of that province with an eye toward collaboration.  

If you are interested in participating in the emerging working groups for these projects, please contact me, David Horvath, david@earthandspiritcenter.org

Peace of Wild Things

While we have long passed the official marking of "Earth Day",  our attention is needed every day.
Kentucky farmer and prophet, Wendell Berry wrote:
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Our Fractured World: Coming together

by Ray Sanchez, CP

Our world is fractured. Every day we face new challenges as a society. The last decade has seen a rise in sectarian violence, hatred and discrimination, violence against women, and a rapidly warming planet that holds a profoundly different future for our children than it did for our grandparents. It can be overwhelming to think about all of the critical issues that need to be addressed all over the world. It can be paralyzing.

You want to help, but with issues so large, it can be tough to decide where to begin, or where to focus your efforts. The isolating effect this has on us is what defeats us. We know that solving these problems will require hard work and a new mindset. That means that it isn’t about me doing it alone. It will require us to work together as a global community, to communicate across borders, identities, ethnicities, and importantly, across religious groups.

How we work against the disempowering feeling of isolation is by realizing we can’t do it alone, that we are not meant to do it alone, and that we need to find people who share our commitment to creating a more peaceful world. In other words it means joining a group that is already working for these ends in a way that shares our values and hopes. There has been a proliferation of groups trying to tackle the different issues that face us. So we need to prioritize the issues we feel strongly about, as part of a process of discernment. Bringing this to prayer and asking God to direct us towards the area we are called to be involved in can help us to decide. We can’t do everything, but we can discern where to best put our limited energies. The next step is to look at the groups tackling that issue, be it climate change, animal protection or human rights, and which group best shares our values. By joining that group we join our energy with others and cease to feel isolated.

Passionist Solidarity Network - Sign on letters

  • Cosigned letter to Lesley C. Ziman, Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources U.S. Department of State to support the renewable energy ($179 million) and adaptation ($177 million) foreign assistance allocation included in the Fiscal Year 2019 omnibus legislation and signed into law by the President on February 15, 2019 (Public Law No: 116-6). 
  • Cosigned letter – To the Bank of America and Sun Trust to end their financing of private prisons.  The private prison industry is detaining over 70 percent of immigrants in ICE custody and are complicit in the epidemic of mass incarceration that devastates communities of color. These banks have a major role in financing private prison companies.

Watch the Earth Rise

Emergence Magazine offers this special video reflection on the famous photo that changed everything in terms of how we view our planet.  

Earthrise tells the story of the first image captured of the Earth from space in 1968. Told solely by the Apollo 8 astronauts, the film recounts their experiences and memories and explores the beauty, awe, and grandeur of the Earth against the blackness of space. This iconic image had a powerful impact on the astronauts and the world, offering a perspective that transcended national, political, and religious boundaries. Told 50 years later, Earthrise compels us to remember this shift and to reflect on the Earth as a shared home. 

Action:  Watch Earthrise:  https://emergencemagazine.org/story/earthrise-film/

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.  

Sunday, July 7th by Don Timmerman, Catholic Worker
Sunday, July 14th by Dianne Bergant, CSA

Additional homily resources from the Ignatian Solidarity Network

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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