December 9, 2021

In this issue

The Vision of St. Paul of the Cross
By Tim O'Brien
A common theme that arises when studying great, visionary leaders is that of not having a pre-determined outcome and often a lack of clarity. This is combined with a determination to make their vision a reality, in spite of these concerns.

In his book, Listen to His Love: A life of St. Paul of the Cross, by Bennet Kelley, CP, we are presented with a man of vision, with a focus of gathering companions to share in his vision of proclaiming the Passion of Christ as the greatest act of God’s love. This vision was accompanied by Paul's vision of being clothed in a black habit and eventually included the Passionist Sign.

Paul also broke a lot of the traditions of his time by offering spiritual direction and missions while he was still a layman.

"So Paul was certainly a pioneer and forerunner of those lay people who today preach, give missions and engage in spiritual direction. In these areas Paul was far, far ahead of his time."  (p.45)

Paul endured a lot of grief from his contemporaries and from some of his writings, he acknowledged the difficulties that he faced on a variety of fronts. He maintained his vision, however, and eventually founded our beloved Passionist Congregation, in spite of difficulties. Paul was able to found the Congregation because the Charism, the memoria passionis, was this foundational insight and vision, and his constancy of purpose was firmly rooted there. This singular vision carries through to today and is being realized in new ways. I think Paul would have understood our visioning process and the forward movement of the mission of the Congregation.

Modern leadership studies provide a myriad of examples of leaders who work through difficulties to make their vision a shared one. Peter Senge in his landmark book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, names Shared Vision as one of the disciplines. In an organizational sense, the leader gathers companions to share the vision and move the mission forward.

Our Province Visioning Process has produced a lot of results and recognition of the difficulties that we have faced and will continue to face as we move forward. It has also produced a sense of Shared Vision, firmly rooted in the Passionist Charism. The Passionist Family is in the process of mission fulfillment, as stated in the Province Mission Statement:

 Mission Statement: The Passionists of Holy Cross Province
We Passionists proclaim God's love for the world revealed through the Passion of Jesus Christ.

"The Passionists, a family of priests, brothers and laity, reach out with compassion to the crucified of today. We keep alive the memory of Christ's Passion through our commitment to community, prayer, ministries of the Word, and service to those who suffer. We welcome all who seek renewed life through the power of the Cross and the hope of the Resurrection". 

Did you see the latest Proclaiming Our Passionist Story video last week?
During the first week of Advent, we tell the story of Passionist Faithfulness.
We find models of faithfulness within our Passionist story.
For Your Reflection: What does a Thriving Church Look Like?
Adadpted from the Catholic Leadership Roundtable

Participants at the Leadership Roundtable’s Catholic Partnership Summit in February 2020 were asked, "What does a thriving Church look like?" in a variety of contexts. We invite you, through an ongoing series of reflections, to consider the answer to this question. For today, consider:

               "What does a Church that values servant leadership look like?"              


  • “A thriving Church looks like Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. There is humility. There is a sense that the structure of the Church and her leadership is organized in a way that is radically different from other organizations. This is rooted in service.”
  • “It is a humble, listening Church that values every voice and brings them into harmony to form a symphony directed at proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus and moving people to fulfill his mission.”
  • “It is about servant leadership, a change of heart and mind, a courage to think and act differently, for example, a Church of the poor.”

What does a Church that values servant leadership look like to you?

“How pleasing to our good God are those who let themselves be held in Godʼs divine arms like a little child, and nursed at the infinitely loving breast of God. Meditation on the Passion will teach you this and you will grow in faith, hope and love.”
If you would like to share your thoughts, ideas or reactions from anything in this newsletter, we would love to hear from you!

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