October 14, 2021

In this issue

Responding to the Cry of the Poor
By Jack Dermody and Mike Owens
Passionist Alumni Association
The Laudato Si’ action platform recommended by Pope Francis includes “responding to the cry of the poor.” Nowhere is that cry louder than Haiti. Passionist alumni eagerly took up the opportunity to help Fr. Hugo, C.P., and his team’s ministry to feed hundreds of people around him.
Passionist formation affected many lives. Over the years, hundreds of men, both young and not so young, entered the Holy Cross Province formation program to prepare for a vocation as a Passionist priest or brother.  Whether or not these alumni completed their studies, they were positively impacted by the dedication and example of the Passionists responsible for their formation years.
We are family. While most of us chose vocations outside the religious life, we still have a bond with the Passionists.  Consequently, we feel right at home with the Province’s emphasis on the Passionist Family.  You could say that we have always been part of the Family, and it is good to hear that validation.
More than a reunion group. Within the Family, we identify ourselves as the Passionist formation alumni.  We officially organized ourselves in 2017, and nearly 200 alumni have registered with our association.  We gather for reunions every couple of years, but some of our alumni believe we could do more as members of the Passionist Family.  We have been impressed, for example, with the ministry of Fr. Hugo Esparza-Pérez, C.P., in Haiti, especially his food program, which brings us to our trip around Haiti.
Physical and mental activity even during the pandemic.
More than forty Passionist alumni and friends joined up for a 400-mile virtual trip around the island nation of Haiti in January 2021. It was the middle of winter stateside. Cold or not, we reported our personal runs, walks, and bicycling on colorful maps on the My Virtual Mission website. As we passed milestones, we triggered digital postcards that taught us about Haitian culture, the natural beauty of the island and, especially, about the daunting challenges faced by “our man in Haiti,” Fr. Hugo.
This event was fun, instructional, and unforgettable – not your usual fundraiser. Like decades ago, in Passionist formation we chose to join a competitive team. Our individual efforts to improve our fitness contributed to team scores and a team spirit that reaped funds for Fr. Hugo’s food program.
Shattering our goals. We set a fundraising goal of $6,000, which Fr. Hugo told us is the money it takes to feed 100 people for 2 months.  The generosity of our alumni shattered our goal with a final total raised of $20,010.64.  Fr. Hugo recently emailed us that these donations enabled him to continue his food program through the end of the year.
The call to participate. Not a few Passionist priests, brothers and sisters have been cast into cauldrons of merciless poverty, suffering, and danger. We have visited those Passionists and witnessed the existential sweat and grind of their ministries. Who wouldn’t be awestruck by their fierce dedication, selflessness, and spiritual connections we rarely see in the secular world? We cannot help but to do something—anything—to lessen the often-inescapable agonies inside the cauldrons.
The Transformative Community rooted in the intersection of
Shared Leadership and the Learning Community (Part 2)
By Mark Clarke, Community Works, Inc.

The Work of Shared Leadership within a Transformative Community

We live in a world shaped by four intersecting realities:
  • Increasing intercultural societies
  • Environmental crises
  • Increased immigration and migration within countries and the globe
  • Expanding technology
Individually and collectively, these realities are touching every sector of society. These intersecting dynamics demand Shared Leadership and ongoing learning to detect emerging solutions and ideas.

Shared Leadership maximizes the gifts and knowledge of both leaders and followers.  In their book, Cultivating Communities of Practice, Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder state that “Appreciating the collective nature of knowledge is especially important in an age when almost every field changes too much, too fast for individuals to master. Today's complex problem-solving requires multiple perspectives” (10).

Foundational Elements
Foundational Elements
Three crucial elements, purpose, interdependence, and growth, form the foundation for establishing Shared Leadership and a Learning Community within a Transformative Community.   
The community seeks to deepen its understanding of and commitment to its higher purpose by defining its mission and vision for impacting the world.

The organizational culture affirms and commits to achieving its aspirations by developing a collaborative, interdependent system between itself and its partners.

The community commits to nurturing a Learning Community that maximizes each person's gift and wisdom so that through these insights, they might open their hearts to discern God's invitation.
These three foundational elements are integral to becoming co-creative partners in God’s unfolding creation. A culture grounded in Shared Leadership enables individuals, teams, and the entire collective body to become energetic and passionate about seeking the common good. This disciplined learning approach creates growth rather than a fixed mindset.  When a group has a growth mindset, it continually discerns God’s path for creating a more sustainable society.
Amelia Earhart knew about true purpose.  Her words highlight the importance of a passionate commitment to pursue one’s dream. (223).

"“Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless?
Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?”
-Amelia Earhart

The core of a Learning Community is defined in the context of the role of the writer in, Letters to a Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke: “No one can advise you. No one. Ask yourself why you pursue this thing you call writing. Look and see its roots, draw from the deepest place in your heart” (14).  In a healthy Learning Community, Rilke’s advice means creating an environment that continually nurtures people to explore this question of motivation. The hallmark of any organizational culture is exploring this concept. A culture rooted in learning and continual growth fosters inner confidence and courage, thus increasing the capacity of Shared Leadership to achieve the mission.
Earhart and Rilke's reflections illuminate the magnitude of the enthusiasm and commitment needed to persevere in the pursuit of a noble vision. Any vision that has substance demands individual and collective initiative to pursue innovative practices. The future is built on foresight and perseverance to establish new models and services that seem unrealistic today and often taken for granted in the future.
The North Star, a metaphor for vision and mission, represents the outcome of a healthy and vibrant Learning Community and Shared Leadership model.   The key to achieving the North Star is recognizing the variety of gifts and talents needed. One Corinthians: 4 expresses this reality well: “There are different kinds of Spiritual gifts yet the same spirit.” Thus, every member has a significant role and contribution to achieving the group’s visionary direction. A Transformative Community culture has this maxim at its forefront to enhance the co-creation and alignment of all activities to grasp the North Star.
Transformative Communities establish a disciplined set of practices to support the ongoing collective passion for learning, discerning, initiating, and improving, leading to the establishment of clear benchmarks. These markers allow them to understand and evaluate their successes and challenges in achieving their aspirational vision.

Benchmarks to the final destination might include the following:

  • Creation of innovative services
  • Development of technological breakthroughs
  • Exploration of collaborative relationships both within and beyond the organization
  • Commitment to renewing and sustaining a healthy culture

Read the entirety of Mark Clarke's article here.
Works Cited

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. Barrows, Anita, and Joanna Macy, trans.          
        Boulder, CO: Shambala, 2021.
Wagner, Etienne, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder. Cultivating Communities of        
       Practice. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2002.

You Are Invited...

I hope you can join us for our Fourth Annual Donor Appreciation Event as Fr. William Murphy, C.P., returns to his home parish and leads us in the celebration along with Fr. Michael Murphy, pastor.

Please RSVP to Karen Redmond in the Office of Donor Relations at or by our calling our office at 800-295-9048, extension 2204.

You will also be able to join us live on Facebook at

A short video about the Passionists by Fr. David Colhour, C.P., will also be available for your viewing.

May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts!

God bless,

Father Joe Moons, C.P.
Provincial Superior
“Never let yourself be disturbed by your own defects.  Gently humble yourself before God, be willing to change your conduct, and go on in peace.”

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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