June 24, 2021

In this issue

The Passionists of Holy Cross Province 2021 Assembly

Visioning: Where we have been and where we are going. 

Materials from the June 2021 Assembly are now available through the links below and on the web at

Reflections from some assembly participants follow. 


Tuesday, June 8th

Fr. Joachim Rego, C.P.

Fr. Joachim Rego, C.P., welcomes us and offers his keynote address to the Province on the occasion of our Summer Assembly.

Click here for the text of Fr. Joachim's keynote address.

A Retrospective

A video looking back over the past two years focusing on how our story has advanced even through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, June 9th


Wednesday Morning Prayer

As we celebrate our 300th Jubilee, we remember great Passionists who
have influenced our lives, and we are strengthened to move forward in our mission.

Paul Wadell, Ph.D.

On this second day of the Assembly, Paul Wadell invites us to look forward, reminding us of the signs of hope blooming all around us.

Click here for the text of Paul Wadell's keynote address.

Exploratory Commission Presentation

A video of the presentation from the Exploratory Commission team members
discussing their thoughts and their vision of future leadership.

The Good Ship Passionist Zoom
By Fr. Clemente Barron, C.P.
I had this dream,
living on a Star Trek like ship,
no visible walls or rooms
but completely isolated
within one’s cubical.

Rome was next door
and next door was far away.
Assembled together virtually,
Devoted people from many places,
Speaking different languages.

In an instant, small groups
of fours and fives,
strangers yet family, familiar yet foreigners
Using the same words, perceived differently,
Everyone saying, Amen, Amen!

Animated speakers in groups,
Silent listeners in Assembly,
Questions in our hearts and minds,
Answers that were not mine,
Clarity and confusion, side by side.

New words understood as old ones,
New challenges seen as fearful or very doable,
The initiated and the uninformed,
thinking each is understood,
Believing each one is heard.

Is this a dream or is this reality,
Is this futuristic or is it the future,
Does this work for me and for others?
Is this our common home, our common lot?
Living on the ship, Passionist Zoom!
Welcoming Home and Fulfilling a Dream
By Carl Middleton, DMin, ND
Have you ever attended a party or a meeting of “Newcomers” and left concluding you don’t belong?  I was a member of the Passionist community from 1963 till 1968 when I concluded I didn’t belong. However, what I gained from this total 5-year experience provided me a spiritual, theological, and moral compass for  my life.
The Passionist Assembly clearly communicated to me “I am a Passionist and I belong to the Passionist Family.”  I can’t tell you how long I have waited to hear those words. Fr. Joachim Rego, CP Superior General stated:  “As Passionists, we are a community of brothers and sisters united around the charism of memoria passioinis, we are related to one another and interdependent on each other in a common mission.”
Paul Waddell in his inspiring presentation proclaims:  “One is a Passionist because he or she feels a compelling affinity or deep resonance with the charism of the Passionist, so much that they “take it to heart.” This has been my life.
In summarizing Paul’s text “No member of the Passionist family should ever feel like an outsider nor second class. We love, welcome and enable them to feel at home.” The Passionist Assembly welcomed me home and fulfilled a dream.  In a spirit of “creative fidelity”, I am committed to share my talents and skills and experiences to care for the Passionist charism and “to keep riding the wave to a new future and growth.”

More reflections on the 2021 Assembly will follow in future newsletters.
Living and Leading Transformative Communities In an Era of Societal Crisis (Part 4 of 4)
By Mark Clarke, Community Works, Inc.

To create a new visionary North Star and to maximize
the gifts of a group demand collective soul work.

Learning and Action
It requires that organizations have the courage and fortitude to risk a path that leads to a bold North Star. For this to happen, the organization needs to develop an actively engaged learning culture. The tendency has been to see an organization as a one-dimensional or hierarchical vertical thinking model, often called top-down.

The new model calls for unleashing the entire organization's imagination and creativity. Mauro F. Guillen looks ahead in 2030:

“Instead, I suggest we approach change laterally. Developed by inventor and consultant Edward de Bono, the concept of lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces but to change those very pieces... Breakthroughs occur not when someone works within the established paradigm but when assumptions are abandoned, rules ignored, and creativity runs amok(8).”

Guillen suggests that an authentic learning organization is an entity that explores the shifts and questions which are happening within and beyond their system. Through action, the organization becomes a living system that adapts and evolves to achieve its vision. A learning culture fosters people committed to creativity and innovation as explorers and pioneers. They take responsibility on three levels: personal, area of responsibility, and organizational.

The achievement of their North Star is a
heroic task that will demand resilience and learning.

In Presence, Peter Senge cites the work of Jonas Salk: “Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, spoke of tapping into the continually unfolding ‘dynamism’ of the universe and experiencing its evolution as ‘an active process that... I can guide by the choices I make” (10). It is in tapping this dynamism through acting, learning, and choosing that today's unknown becomes tomorrow's solutions.

Action and learning are about making our North Star visible in a dark sky. The values we espouse become real within every movement of the system and the larger world we serve. Brene Brown claims that “Living into our values means that we more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk- we are clear about what we believe and hold important. We take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behavior align with our beliefs”(Dare to Lead,186).

It is a continual growth process that fosters a more in-depth lived experience of the group's real-time values. The daily cycle of taking action creates a shared vulnerability as we make authentic our values and vision. Each act is a moment of insight that illuminates a richer appreciation of the vision.

The core task is establishing a learning organization that has three essential components:
  • Every department of the community aligned with the North Star
  • Collaboration and inter-department shared learning
  • Continual evaluation for improvement
It is critical to align every area of the system with the North Star. This alignment focuses the collective on being cathedral builders rather than bricklayers. When people understand their purpose, they recognize that every choice impacts the whole. It is the very essence of becoming a learning organization that integrates the parts and whole to commit to a transcendent vision and action.

Collaboration and inter-departmental shared learning are critical to having shared purpose and action. The outcome of maximizing community learning is creating a knowledge flow across the system. When we remain in silos, we learn only from a vertical dimension rather than integrating, as DeBono states, a vertical and horizontal perspective.

Cross-functional learning allows the individual department to understand the impact of their actions on others. It thus creates an adaptable organization to meet emerging societal needs. Therefore, as a Learning Organization or Transformative Community, they are cathedral builders rather than bricklayers through insight and effort.

Learning and action are critical in a time of crisis. Every step is about testing, learning, and acting. When a community creates a bold visionary direction, the challenge is taking the appropriate measures to achieve it. W. Edwards Demings, the guru of organizational development, offered an early understanding of how groups work. Transformative Communities that establish a culture of learning can relate to Deming's quality improvement process. His model [on the left] is a simple means to create continual improvement for the group.

This process continually opens the collective to challenging questions and new approaches. If they experience the inability to achieve that outcome, they adapt, change or release that activity. They are grounded in how knowledge informs action and aligns services to achieve the direction. Thus their focus remains on building cathedrals, not laying bricks.

Thus as Senge and his collaborators in Presence say, “Appreciating the universe as an emergent living phenomenon can be done only from the inside’ through cultivating the capacity to understand the living world and ourselves as an interconnected whole”(207). For an organization, the fundamental task is to connect their North Star to the deepening of the collective soul and the practice of learning and action. The integration of these three elements begins the process of experiencing them as interconnected within and without the larger world. The living of this reality connects their transcendent call to a grounded, interconnected, and dynamic world.

The new world is a time of such rapidly changing events as a pandemic, economic crashes, floods, hurricanes, political upheaval, or other events that force an organization to adapt without notice.

The ability to weave the vision, collective soul, and learning/action together is necessary for co-creating with God in a time of immense social and cultural change.

In Dream! Do It!, Marty Sklar quotes Walt Disney: “It takes people to make a dream reality”(310). Through intense and committed soul work and learning, Transformative Communities create their cathedral, a task which seemed impossible in concept but is possible in actuality
Works Cited
Browne, Brene. Dare to Lead. NY: Random House, 2018.

Guillen, Mauro. 2030. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2020.
Senge, Peter, Joseph Jaworski, C. Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flowers.
"Never stop placing yourself in the Holy of Hollies, which is the most pure Heart of Jesus. Love him with the love of his own Heart. Let yourself be penetrated by a lively sorrow for the outrages that are done to him in Eucharistic celebration. Make reparation by your own humility, affection, gratitude, praise, etc."

"Lord, I want to love you with all my heart. Let the Holy Spirit teach me to love as you do. So often I become caught up in the routine of weekly Mass that I forget what a great privilege it is to share in the Eucharist--in your body and blood. I don't ever want my faith to become empty ritual. Let me remember the Passion as the most overwhelming sign of God's love."

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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