March 18, 2021

In this issue

Greetings from the Communications Team

By Fr. David Colhour, CP 
Did you know that the church has a World Communications Day?
Can you guess what year this was initiated?  
Would you believe it was initiated by Pope Paul VI in 1967 as an annual celebration?
Do you know what day we celebrate World Communications Day? 
Less than two years after the second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI, knowing that the church is truly and intimately linked with humankind, wanted to draw attention to the communications media and the enormous power it has for cultural transformation.

What began on Sunday, May 7, 1967 has continued to be celebrated by every successive Pope.  What began with radio and television in 1967, has bloomed into the internet in 2002 and with the implementation of broadband, led to a live stream of our own Passionist brother, at the canonization of St. Charles of Mount Argus in June 2007. It's an encouragement to utilize technology to share faith, faith traditions, and the gospel alive in our lives and world.

Pope Francis's instructions to the church this year on the 54th World Communications Day was to see the Gospels as news stories and to be bold in our storytelling.  He begins his invitation with these words.
"I would like to devote this year’s Message to the theme of storytelling, because I believe that, so as not to lose our bearings, we need to make our own the truth contained in good stories. Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together. Amid the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, we need a human story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us. A narrative that can regard our world and its happenings with a tender gaze. A narrative that can tell us that we are part of a living and interconnected tapestry. A narrative that can reveal the interweaving of the threads which connect us to one another."

Pope Francis highlights how good stories are woven together, how the Scriptures are a story within a story, and how the tapestry of stories can renew us,  giving us new insight and meaning.  It isn't merely the telling of any story.  We find greatest meaning in stories which bring light to the Gospel. 
Storytelling is an excellent form of communication and evangelization.

Storytelling is an excellent form of communication and evangelization. The human race is wired to hearing stories.  Media is perpetually engaging us in narrative because stories are linked to points of identification. So, in this newsletter, I would like to invite you to ponder the story of what attracted you to the Passionists? What were those early experiences that invigorated your soul? And what is it about the Passionist charism that sustains you? I have invited Toby Tabaczynski, the newest member of the Communications Working Group, to briefly share his story.   
An interview with Toby Tabaczynski.

Communications, evangelization, storytelling…they all fit together with the commission Jesus gave us, to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Click here to read Pope Francis’ letter on World Communication Day.

Lord, teach us to move beyond ourselves, and to set out in search of truth.
Teach us to go out and see,
teach us to listen,
not to entertain prejudices or
draw hasty conclusions.
Teach us to go where no one else will go,
to take the time needed to understand,
to pay attention to the essentials,
not to be distracted by the superfluous,
to distinguish deceptive appearances from the truth.
Grant us the grace to recognize your dwelling places honesty needed to tell others what we have seen.

Optimism for the Future
By Toby Tabaczynski
Hello, my name is Toby Tabaczynski.  I live in Northville, Michigan, and am a member of the board of directors at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat & Conference Center in Detroit, as well as a long-time retreatant.

Considering what our world is going through now, I’m very optimistic about the future of the Passionists and our relevance. Let’s face it, if there were ever a time people needed the Passionist Charism and the compassion, healing, hope and the love of Jesus Christ in their lives, now is the time!

Personally, I get inspired by one of you almost every day. Be it a personal story, a shared prayer, article, photo/video, email message or Zoom meeting, I find hope and positivity from all of you.  I take those experiences and share them with my friends and family, who in turn share them with others. 

I was fortunate to attend my annual retreat in-person this past January at St. Paul’s, albeit with a greatly reduced attendance, as well as social distancing and safety measures in place, however, the theme and message of the retreat spoke loud and clear!  The theme: “I hear the voice of Jesus say…” resonated with all the retreatants especially now with the suffering from the pandemic, ever-present racism and political divisiveness to help us realize we need to reduce the noise and distractions in our lives and focus on silence and listening to hear what Jesus is saying to us. The Passionist Charism is a constant reminder that Jesus continues to offer his loving presence, healing, forgiveness and compassion amid our human suffering today.

As we celebrate our 300th Jubilee, I am thankful and grateful to be part of the Passionist Family and my local retreat center at St. Paul of the Cross and look forward with positivity knowing the next 300 years will be even more blessed. 
The Communications Team Congratulates
Fr. Nicholas Divine, CP, on his Ordination!
Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center Marketing Pilot
Connecting Community Back to Passionist Programs
By Natalie Svistoonoff
As a result of the Communications Vision Fulfillment team, Marketing was identified as a priority to help educate people and bring them towards us, as Passionists.

One focus for marketing, which seemed to be an easy area to address, was our Passionist Retreat Centers. It’s a hub for promotional work, always inviting and evangelizing to those who set foot on our grounds. Promotional materials, in person and online programs are offered and shared among a broad population of individuals who are connected to our retreat centers.

Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center (CTK), has been identified as the location to serve as a pilot setting for a new marketing plan and strategy. In recent years, CTK has seen a decreasing trend of attendees at Retreats and additional Passionist programs. The focus of the marketing efforts will be on the Passionist programs and retreats. How to increase numbers of attendees, gain deeper pastoral connections within the local diocese and re-imagine the current “parish coordinator/captain” system to recruit parishioners to attend our retreats will be strategies tested in the pilot.

Several items, such as new leadership in management, the current pandemic and shifting priorities, served as key reasons to focus on CTK as the pilot location. Once results are obtained and the pilot is completed, the hope is to provide the pilot marketing plan to our three other retreat centers within Holy Cross Province for their own use and process of marketing. Stay tuned to find out results from the pilot project!
Join Us for Visioning on Tap!
Visioning on Tap is an innovative way to engage in The Passionists of Holy Cross Province’s Vision Fulfillment Process, as well as consider how the topics to be presented impact your personal life! 
Each 60 minute virtual session will include prayer, small and large group conversation and a short presentation highlighting a Vision Fulfillment initiative. It is time for you to ask questions and add your voice to the larger Visioning conversation.
The second Visioning on Tap is Growing in Faith: Passionist Rule for Laity and Online Spiritual Direction
Faith development is a perennial reality. We are constantly invited into an ever-deeper relationship with God.  How do we identify the call of the Spirit?  And, how do life’s joys and sorrows impact our faith?  By understanding our own spiritual growth, we can more fully enter into the Passionist Family and the Passionist Vision Fulfillment initiative.  Faith Offman will be the guest speaker.
Visioning on Tap will be held via Zoom TODAY, Thursday, March 18 at the following times:
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Pacific;
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Central; and
7:00 pm – 8:00, Eastern.
The session will also be repeated on Tuesday, March 23 at these times:
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Pacific;
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Central; and
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Eastern.
Here are the Zoom links for you:
For Thursday, March 18:
For Tuesday, March 23:
Future Visioning on Tap dates and topics are as followed:
Being Passionist in the World: Laudato Si Happenings
Thursday, April 15 at 4:00 pm, Pacific; 6:00 pm, Central; 7:00 pm, Eastern
Tuesday, April 20 at 12:00 pm, Pacific; 2:00 pm, Central; 3:00 pm, Eastern
Sharing the Good News: Marketing Ideas
Thursday, May 13 at 4:00 pm, Pacific; 6:00 pm, Central; 7:00 pm, Eastern
Tuesday, May 18 at 12:00 pm, Pacific; 2:00 pm, Central; 3:00 pm, Eastern
The Passion of the Earth:  
Weekly Lenten Gatherings for the Passionist Family
Wednesday, February 24
to Good Friday
April 2
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Pacific
1:00 pm-2:00 pm, Central
2:00 pm-3:00 pm, Eastern

Six sessions: the first five sessions will be every Wednesday, February 24 through Wednesday, March 24; our final session will be an Ecological Way of the Cross on Good Friday, April 2.

A series of weekly gatherings during Lent are available for the Passionist Family exploring Laudato Si’ and the Passion of the Earth as we journey together toward the Passion of our Lord.  Each meeting will be grounded in prayer and the Passionist charism, and will make use of a recent series of videos on climate feedback loops. We will connect to issues facing the communities in which Passionists are located (like the drought and fires in CA, the Flint water crisis for Detroit, etc.). Opportunities to live into Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving will be offered. In our final Holy Week gathering, we will accompany each other on an ecological Stations of the Cross.  The series is for the whole Passionist Family and will include individual and small group opportunities for reflection.

Register in advance for these sessions here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the sessions.

Image:  Melanie Weidner, Passion of the Earth Series 
"I am not surprised that you are going through a period of spiritual affliction. Our present life is a way and not a terminal, weariness, not repose, warfare and not peace. We must put into practice what the Holy Spirit tells us, 'Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted and wait for the Lord.'"

"Dearest Jesus, I know my life here on earth is just making my way along the journey to that ultimate goal, joining you in heaven. In my human nature I want all of my problems and concerns to be addressed and solved immediately. Help me strengthen my faith to keep my life moving toward you and trust in you to resolve my problems."

Holy Cross Province Vision Statement
Guided by the Holy Spirit and the signs of the times,
we create and carry out ministry that reaches
the suffering of today and form community
that spiritually nourishes the
Passionist Family of Holy Cross Province.
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