September 16, 2021

In this issue

Committee on Cultural and Racial Diversity 
By Paul Wadell
You never know where saying “yes” to something may lead, and that was certainly—and happily—the case here. On July 1, Fr. Joe Moons, C.P., formed the Holy Cross Province Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee in light of the need for the Province “to expand our ministry to meet the changing demographics of our local Catholic Church.” He asked the fledgling Committee to create a statement on cultural and racial diversity that would “offer guidance and development to our Province ministries” and provide “guiding principles to motivate and direct our ministries to remain relevant and develop effective ways in reaching out to the local Church.”

What we initially thought would be a relatively quickly and easily accomplished commission turned out to be much more challenging (and rewarding) than we had anticipated because our understanding of our task and its importance deepened and evolved each time we met. This is why the statement we submitted to Fr. Joe was much more ambitious—and undoubtedly longer—than we originally had in mind.

That’s because our meetings, rather than calm and staid and leisurely, were spirited, thoughtful, frank, and persistently challenging conversations that nudged and stretched and, at least occasionally, unsettled all of us. But from those pesky discussions some key convictions emerged.

First, our “Statement on Cultural and Racial Diversity” reflects, and hopefully will continue to inspire, a Spirit-led cultural shift already underway in Holy Cross Province. This is why it emphasizes the need for ongoing conscientization, conversion, and repentance. Too, because we must continually “read the signs of the times” to discern what God is asking of us now, the statement is only the beginning of what must be an ongoing process. It is a “living document” that must be revisited and revised as the Province reflects on its own need to grow and to change, and as it responds to the dynamic realities of the local community, the surrounding society, and the larger world. Thus, the Committee sees the statement as a “position paper” on cultural and racial diversity rather than a final and definitive statement. Our hope is that it will begin a fruitful, challenging, and engaging conversation within the Province, a genuine dialogue in which everyone feels free to raise questions, offer other perspectives, voice possible objections, and learn from one another.

Second, our experience of working together as a Committee taught us that these conversations should be undertaken as an individual and communal act of prayer and contemplation for the sake of the crucified of today and for discerning what it means for the Passionist Family of Holy Cross Province “to preach the Word of the Cross in season and out of season” (Const. 1) If they are, it becomes abundantly clear that affirming, celebrating, and actively promoting cultural and racial diversity are not only in harmony with the Passionist charism, but emerge from it.

Our hope is that a prayerful and contemplative dialogue about the statement on Cultural and Racial Diversity will take place in our retreat centers, parishes, and local communities, and that the fruit of those conversations will be further explored in the 2022 Province Assembly and the 2023 Provincial Chapter. For now, however, it seems best to conclude with the prayer Tomie Magee offered at the beginning of one of our meetings:
Wonderous and splendid is your creation, O Mighty Father.
May your Kingdom reign forever in Heaven and on Earth.
We are called at this moment in time in a special way to be witnesses for your Son,
our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our mission is to boldly assert by our actions within the Passionist Family and beyond
that one’s station in life is not characterized by race or ethnicity
since we were uniquely anointed with a lovely soul and your precious divinity.
Father, you did not create a greater, or lesser, woman or man. Nor did your Son endure
His sorrowful passion for inequality between his brothers and sisters.
So, Lord, help us find a way to transform each other into deserving and rightful heirs to
Your Kingdom less we perish in the abyss of our own doing.
We humbly ask that you forgive us for our thoughts, words, and deeds,
and for what we have not done to bring about the peace that you gave us.
Ever present Holy Spirit, you are our source of comfort in turbulent times.
Guide and grant us the grace and courage to do what Jesus would do.
We ask you through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee
Paul Wadell, Chair
Elizabeth Velarde, Convener
James Anderson
Sharon Brewer
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P.
Toby Tabaczynski
Anti-Racist Initiative Group
David Horvath
Tomie Magee
Lissa Romell
Reflecting on the Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee
By Elizabeth Velarde
VIDEO: Elizabeth Velarde reflects on her participation in the Committee on Cultural and Racial Diversity.
Keepers of the Passionist Story
By Faith Offman
As members of the Passionist Family, we are all keepers of the story – Paul Daneo’s story, the Passionists' story and our Holy Cross Province's story, all unfolding within God’s story.  Beginning in October, we will be launching ‘story pauses’.  This two-pronged project is designed to capture and share our story, as well as digitally archive our story.  As we continue to engage in ‘Storying’ (the telling and hearing of stories as a mutually creative, interactive language-event [Bradt, p4, Story as a Way of Knowing) we will ‘mine’ our current story archives and capture new stories along the way.  Watch for upcoming ‘story pauses’ where we will be sharing ‘golden nuggets’ of our story in soundbites.  The goal is that by Chapter, we will be able to launch our story in an easily accessible and interactive format.  

A Native American Storyteller Doll

Read more about these dolls

“In every culture, in every geographical place, among every people, there are individuals who are entrusted with the words that belong to that place and group.  They hold the heritage, the experiences, and the stories that express who they are and how they stand in the universe.  These are the keepers of the Story.  Their lives are dedicated to preserving, to keeping true, to guarding and protecting what is not theirs alone, but what has been given into their care by others.  It is a vocation, a calling, a responsibility and a work that defines them in relation to their people and in relation to other groups and their stories.  They live on the words but they never make their living from the words.  The tales tell them.  The stories use their flesh, their voices and minds, to remain alive and to keep the people alive.  The keepers are given words, and are held in sway and bondage by the lifelines of hope, suffering, exaltation, births and deaths, resurrections, and visions: by the Story.

"There are many keepers….but there is only the one Story.  It is a singular question in myriad forms.  It is a universal pronouncement in expressions beyond numbering.  It is a cry sounded in every generation, every place, and each human heart that wonders, asks, demands, whispers, shouts, chants, begs, prays and repeats again and again and again.  Who are we?  Who am I?  Who are you?  Who art Thou?  Are we all one?  What is truth?  Are we true?  Is the end in the beginning?  Where are we now?  What is it that sings among the stars and in our blood and in the empty places of the world and in the wolves’ howling and in the human heart?  This is the Story, the only Story there is to tell, to refashion and tell again.  It is the only Story there is to listen to and discuss and share with others, to pass on to our children [those who come after us] and to use as an introduction to other nations, religions, peoples, cultures.  In the speaking we find our voice, we remember echoes and take heed of all that converges on us in blessings and blunders.  In the hearing we are sounded, tuned and drawn into the universe – the one poem, the one verse, the one harmony, the one Holiness.

"The mystery of the one Story is forever giving birth to expression, to transformation and transfiguration and redemption as we live, endure, and die.”

Excerpt from the Preface of Keepers of the Story by Megan McKenna and Tony Cowan.
“In your prayer, draw close to the mysteries of the Life, Passion and Death of Jesus.  But if your soul is drawn to remain one on one with God in humble and loving repose, then let stay that way.  However, it is good to renew your attention often in pure and loving faith.”

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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