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March 10, 2022

In this issue


Observations, Memories and Reflections of the Visioning Process (Part 2 of 2)
By Anne Kemp
 
Read part one of this article in the previous issue

The Visioning Newsletter and other forms of communication were a vital part of the process. I have always been of the view that over the long haul, communications outperform every other change strategy mainly in its unique ability to bring people along, thus enabling many more to evolve with the times. Communications, communications COMMUNICATIONS – Marci Madary, our first Visioning Newsletter editor, embraced the possibilities and brought so much energy and creativity both in spreading the good word and including the voices of Passionists through technology! Joe Moons’ communications as Provincial Superior were also so very important - inseparable from our Visioning Process. I honestly do not recall seeing a single message from him which did not, in one way or another, reference the Visioning Process, its purpose and importance.

When the time was ripe after the 2018 Assembly, the Visioning Commission was able to propose and seek acceptance on 5 Visioning priorities. Passionists - lay and vowed - got to work, not crafting a vision statement as we originally thought would happen, not making decisions but doing so much more. Weekly conversations, monthly Zoom calls, working papers, getting ready for the future individually and collectively, spiritually and emotionally, even when the ‘vision’ was not yet clear.  We were taking collective leadership and with them, moving Holy Cross Province toward a shared vision.
 
I reflect back on the use of the question ‘what if,’
which allowed people to imagine more freely what they were hoping.


Along the way, it was my perception that the openness of vowed Passionists and the readiness of lay Passionists to see the lay community as having a growing role in the Province was taking shape.

The Chapter of 2019 was a blessed and remarkable experience. We built houses together from the perspective of each of the priorities – charism, community, collaboration, outreach and preaching, we took walks to reflect, we were honored and impacted with the presence of the Superior General, we heard youth talk about their hopes and concerns for the world they are growing into, we joined in solidarity of the work that the Passionists were doing in support of so many Passionist ministries, such as the work in Haiti, the vibrant work and achievements of the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center and at Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School. Jim Strommer, C.P., said ‘we are all visionaries.’ I remember so clearly, on the last day of Chapter, Ron Corl, C.P., standing up to say that he was overwhelmed with appreciation at what had happened over the past 3 years and urging everyone to keep going with the goals and affirmations rising from the Visioning Process, those of getting ready, gratitude and hopefulness.

Since then, it is my perspective that the getting ready could not have been timelier. Within a year of Chapter, the COVID-19 pandemic was upon us. The Passionist Family, working together, is providing virtual celebrations of the passion of Jesus and retreat center ministry, is committing to Laudato Si’ within the Province and beyond, is ensuring that senior vowed Passionists can live safely and joyfully at Sacred Heart Community, is supporting younger vowed as they minister in countries enduring incredible suffering and is continuing to guide those discerning vocations. These are all very visible.

At the same time, progress to evolve a sustainable governance structure is underway and shared through the Vision Fulfillment Newsletter, Zoom meetings and other forms of communication. I believe this initiative is vital to the flourishing of the Passionist charism, life and ministry in the Province. And, my experience over the course of the Visioning Process suggests to me that it is only possible because of the charism. 

I will close this brief reflection by sharing that in a yoga class this morning, the teacher spoke about the difference between obstacles and opportunities, two concepts that are frequently behind the search for a new vision. She went on to remark that if we can only see the obstacle as the first steppingstone to an opportunity and then ask ourselves ‘what can I do about it’ the two ideas can become one reality in the making.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be on this journey of the Passionists and will eagerly greet the good news that comes forward from the Visioning Process and from each of you who ‘are all visionaries’.
Passionists Protecting the Sacred Gift of Water

“How do we connect the gospels and the Passion of Jesus
to the situation we find ourselves in today?”

This was the question that one of the participants asked in a recent gathering of the Passionist Family of Holy Cross and St. Paul of the Cross Provinces. The group of vowed and lay Passionists were gathered in response to the invitation of our Superior General, Fr. Joachim Rego, C.P., to Passionists around the world to pray over and discuss the first of six brochures in Passion of the Earth, Wisdom of the Cross.  The first brochure of this Congregational program focuses on chapter one of the encyclical Laudato Si,’ in particular, the need to protect and conserve God’s gift of WATER.

Before reading further, we invite you to watch this short video in which Pope Francis explains the sacredness of WATER:
Protecting the Oceans [Extended edition] — The Pope Video 9 — September 2019
 

All members of the Passionist Family in Holy Cross Province have been asked by our Provincial to join with other lay and vowed Passionists to pray over and discuss the first brochure [English/Spanish]. Several communities have met in person, and we have had two lively online conversations, one in December and one in February, which were open to all members of the Passionist Family.

Here are just some of the great ideas that have come out of our discussions:
  • Become more conscious of personal water use by tracking how much water we use daily, and conserve water by adopting reusable water bottles, low flow toilets, faucets and showers, and yard landscape that does not require watering, etc.
  • Work for water justice in our communities: find out what groups are working for water conservation and water access. Offer support in whatever way is needed and what we are able to do. Let our legislators know that we want policies that support water protection and conservation vital to life now and in the future.
  • Reflect on how we connect the gospels and the Passion of Jesus to the suffering we find ourselves in today. Two billion people live without access to safe water. Passionist preaching is a powerful tool of education, inspiration and transformation.
  • "The world will be saved by beauty." ~Dostoevsky Create beauty that is sustainable at our communities and ministry sites. This could be developing areas that do not need to be watered and mowed (e.g., swales and rain gardens), using water catchment devices like cisterns or rain barrels, planting native trees and perennial flowers that are drought resilient, and by installing pervious surfaces instead of concrete and asphalt.
  • Protect groundwater by properly disposing of medications, by avoiding soil erosion into sewers, by purchasing from farmers who do not pollute and use sustainable practices, and by using natural and biodegradable household cleaners, fertilizers and pesticides.
And, lastly, we can all celebrate World Water Day!
Speaking of groundwater, Groundwater – Making the Invisible Visible, is the theme of this year’s World Water Day, celebrated on March 22 every year. It is an annual United Nations Observance, started in 1993, that celebrates water and raises awareness that clean water is essential to life.
 

 
In the driest parts of the world, underground aquifers may be the only water people have. Almost all of the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater, supporting drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming, industry and ecosystems. In many places, human activities over-use and pollute groundwater.

Fr. David Colhour, C.P., shares that the borewells in India, which provide fresh water for all the purposes above have been getting progressively deeper: “When I got there in 2001, they were about 350 feet deep. By the time I left in 2006, they were 750 feet deep. Today, many are over 1,000 feet deep and each time you drill, you do irreparable damage to the Earth. And,” he added, “who can afford to dig wells?  Well, the rich can.  So what do the poor do for water?”

Groundwater will play a critical role in adapting to climate change. All people need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource. For more information about World Water Day, go to: www.worldwaterday.org

If you have not had the opportunity to study, pray over and discuss Brochure #1 in Passion of the Cross, Wisdom of the Earth, we encourage you to do so. The brochure can be found on the international Passionist website: If you would like hard copies of brochure #1 for your group, please contact Patty Gillis at pjgillis48@gmail.com or call her at 313.399.8320. She will mail them to you.

If you have already participated in a conversation on Brochure #1 in person or online, please fill out the Report Form with your commitments to protect WATER.
 
 
Proclaiming Our Passionist Story (POPS)

The Proclaiming Our Passionist Story (POPS) series of videos captures and shares the Passionist story from a historical and contemporary perspective. You can view previous POPS videos here: 

 
Synodality: The Path Forward

Adadpted from the Catholic Leadership Roundtable

In October, the Catholic Church embarked on a global synodal journey, a two-year process of listening and discernment at all levels of the Church that aims to help transform the Church into a synodal body...

“It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium,” said Pope Francis.(1) A journey together according to the Vatican, the synodal journey is “both a gift and a task: by journeying together and reflecting together on the journey that has been made, the Church will be able to learn through [its] experience which processes can help [it] to live communion, to achieve participation, to open [itself] to mission. Our ‘journeying together’ is, in fact, what most effectively enacts and manifests the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God.” (2)

The word “synod” comes from the Greek “sunodos” meaning “a meeting; a common way.”3 For the Church, this Synodal journey is a common way taken together by all Catholics, a path to becoming a truly listening, co-responsible Church.


1 Francis, Ceremony Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops, 17 October 2015. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_cti_20180302_sinodalita_en.html 

 

Dearest Lord, It doesn’t always come easy to me to acknowledge, and truly own, how deeply you love me. The reality that you care for me so much, with all my faults and shortcomings, is a gift beyond words. Thank you, sweet Jesus, thank you for seeing what is beautiful and good in me and for loving me so dearly.
If you would like to share your thoughts, ideas or reactions from anything in this newsletter, we would love to hear from you!

Send your thoughts to
visioning@passionist.org

 
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