August 19, 2021

In this issue

The Investment Advisory Committee:
The Ministry of Stewardship
By Tim O'Brien, Chair
In 2005, while I was serving on the Provincial Office Staff, I was asked by the Fr. Michael Higgins, CP, Provincial at the time, if I would consider chairing the Investment Advisory Committee (IAC). This would allow members of the Committee to fully participate in the meetings without having one of them also facilitate. I accepted without thinking that this assignment would last all this time. That said, I feel blessed to have served in this capacity.

What is the purpose of the IAC?  Simply put,
“The purpose of the IAC is to provide advice to the Provincial Council concerning the
Province’s investment programs, and to provide oversight of those programs
in accordance with the Province’s investment policies, as approved by the Provincial Council.
To further this purpose, the IAC is expected to periodically review the Province’s investment policies and recommend revisions to them in order to help the Province achieve its investment objectives”.
(IAC Charter, April 2021).

The IAC consists of no fewer than six (6) and no more than thirteen (13) members. At least two members are vowed religious. The membership of the IAC consists of the chair and members of the committee including:
  • The IAC Chair, appointed by the Provincial Council, maintains a list of members, scheduling and conducting meetings of the IAC and any sub committees, recruiting new members and recommending prospective members to the Provincial Council, among other duties.
  • The Canonical Treasurer, a vowed Passionist who acts as a fiduciary on behalf of the Province, is an authorized signer of Province bank and investment accounts.
  • Civil Law Treasurer, appointed by the Board of Directors and is charged with oversight of Province funds and securities. In addition, he/she is responsible for the Province accounting function and can authorize financial transactions in accordance with Investment Guidelines.
  • Director of Finance acts as secretary of the meetings and presenting key financial information of the Province at IAC meetings to assist members in performing their duties.
  • Investment Officer is responsible for implementing the recommendations of the IAC that are approved by the Provincial Council and acts as agent of the Province with respect to investment custodians.
  • Consultant is a representative of the independent consulting firm retained by the Province who attends IAC meetings and provides reports and guidance to the IAC.
  • Retreat Center Representative appointed by the Provincial Superior based on recommendation of the Retreat Centers. This person shares relevant information with the retreat centers each quarter and acts as an advocate on behalf of the retreat centers.
  • Members appointed by the Provincial Council to a three-year term renewable once. Lay members are appointed based on their professional qualifications. Members consist of lay and vowed members who work together in service to this effort.

The IAC meets at least quarterly. Meetings can be held in person or, in recent times, via conference call or Zoom. There is an Administrative Subcommittee that meets in advance of quarterly meetings to set the agenda and discuss any items or initiatives that are underway.
The IAC has been around since 1988 and is a great example of vowed and lay collaboration. There is an understanding, that together, the members serve in the best interest of the Province to ensure financial well-being today and into the future. The IAC has evolved over time due to the efforts of all who have served and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the Province.

Meetings are opened in prayer led by both lay and vowed volunteers. While the functions of the IAC are essentially technical, the purpose and meaning of this ministry is in service to the Passionist charism and mission of the Province.

It has been a long and rewarding journey aiding in the development of this important group. I am happy to use the skills that I have been given in service to the Province and the IAC.  The IAC also plays an important role in the Province Vision Fulfillment Process, ensuring that there are financial resources available to support Holy Cross Province into the future.
Assembly Reflection: New Endings and New Beginning

By Toby Tabaczynski
Fr. Joachim’s keynote message was very inspiring.  What stood out to me was the idea (and challenge) of the laity being more than just Passionist collaborators and being called to be co-responsible for helping to grow the Passionist Charism.  I find it a challenge and exciting to now step-up to be a ‘co-responsible’ lay Passionist and explore deeper what that means. 

Fr. Joachim referenced from Pope Francis that in today’s world we need to ‘adapt to the new needs… and to keep alive the Charism and our creative power’ is a call to action for all of us to think in new, creative, and daring ways while keeping the Charism close to our hearts. 

The idea that now we have ‘seeds of opportunity’ and yet, need to use prayerful discernment which take faith and time.   

The video retrospective Fr. David put together was particularly moving and inspiring.  It was a great reminder of the amazing, passionate, and creative efforts all the Passionists have taken on over these past few years - especially when the Coronavirus hit.

I believe it is important for us to share, celebrate and
remind ourselves continually of the many breakthroughs,
successes and inspired work being made around the country. 

I appreciated the ‘looking forward’ approach to Paul Wadell’s message of hope, trust and giving thanks, and to continue to have the courage to be magnanimous, use creative fidelity in caring for the Passionist story and nurturing love, presence, and availability. 

I am encouraged by the direction from Fr. Joe and the leadership committee regarding the growth and transformation of the Passionist’s to embrace and explore the idea of laity within a new leadership model while recognizing there is much conversation, prayer and work ahead to determine what, when, where, how this may take place. What struck me were the words Fr. Joe used that ‘openness recognizes opportunity’ and ‘fear closes doors.’  

I appreciated the open dialogue, honesty, and creative energy that was shared by all in the breakout reflection sessions.

This Assembly confirmed for me the fact that
there has never been a better time in my lifetime for the Passionists 
to share the message of our Charism, and to grow,
strengthen and reach more people.

Assembly Reflections: Collaborative Efforts to Realize the Visioning Process

By Mike Owens
The keynote addresses provided important context for me during the Assembly.  

Fr. Joachim's Address
The vowed/lay relationship is a growing phenomenon to the point that we are experiencing a paradigm shift from collaboration to co-responsibility for the Church's mission.  We can find our way through a process of discernment with the aid of the Holy Spirit, each (bishops, priests, religious, and lay) according to the gifts and charisms of their vocation.  The process must include listening, dialogue, silence, prayer, and discernment.   

Paul Waddell's Address
We can be hopeful and give thanks for something we don't yet understand.  We are a Passionist Family because our lives are grounded in the charism entrusted to St. Paul of the Cross, and we share responsibility for the charism and for keeping it alive.  We need to have the courage to be magnanimous, not settling for the easiest path and aspiring for what truly matters.  

Listening to the large and small group comments from both vowed and lay participants, it is clear to me that the Province has embraced the collaborative efforts to realize the Visioning process.  Much work remains; some of it will be quite challenging.  
Discerning the future will require active listening, honest dialogue, meaningful silence, and frequent prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and St. Paul of the Cross.

I appreciate the invitation to join the Assembly and enjoyed the opportunity to meet and share ideas with other members of the Passionist Family!
Assembly Reflections: A Message to the Family

By Paul Schulte
Paul Wadell suggested there were three ways to strengthen and sustain the family of Holy Cross Province so it can continue to grow and deepen: magnanimity, creative fidelity, and nurturing. That third item, “nurturing the love between us” struck deeply because it was so incredibly challenging. His unabashed use of the word “every” and “all” members certainly challenged me. He said:
  • Every member “must be seen and valued.” Not some. Not most. EVERY member. Can we all really say we are successful at this? Is there someone whose politics, or theology, personality, or behavior (seen or reported) leads us to avoid them or value them less or not at all? If so, we are challenged by the Spirit to do something about it. Everyone belongs at the family party!
  • We must be “present and available” to each other. Are there some members of the family we avoid? People we hope will not be assigned or volunteer for our committee or community? Is there anyone we systematically and organizationally separate from our interpretation of The Passionist Family? If so, we are challenged by the Spirit to reach out and do something about it. Everyone belongs at the family party!
  • We must show “good will toward every friend.” "Where did Paul come up with these rules?" I am thinking to myself. Oh, Jesus! Oh, oh. Then I guess we ought to do something about it. Where are my party invitations?
And I will add my own:
  • “Forgive everyone." Who among us has not been hurt or disappointed one time or another by something said, something not said, something done, something not done? Is it enough to just forgive and forget or must we actively extend our forgiveness and magnanimously ask for it in return?
On first blush one might suggest we have little hope of strengthening and sustaining this family—if indeed these are the criteria. But wait! These are all part and parcel of the charism that calls us to unconditional and compassionate love. We are all called to do this.

So, turn up the music. Let’s party!
Transformative Communities: God's Co-creative Pioneers
(Part 3)
By Mark Clarke, Community Works, Inc.

Practice Two: Practicing Contemplative Action
The ongoing exploration of diversity opens the door to action. By entering into the beauty of a diverse world, we expand our ability to understand the complexity of critical issues. The resulting insights open the group to explore an interdisciplinary way of solving pressing social problems. Ilia Delio outlines the rationale in The Unbearable Wholeness of Being:

“Anyone who has ever loved knows that love does not live in the abstract; when it is abstract, in word only, one is suspect of the lover. Love is an embodied act, expressed in physical reality. Because God’s love is relational, the name of God points to otherness and relationality (77).

This relational commitment strengthens the co-creative process with God to rejuvenate old systems and create new prototypes grounded in love seeking the common good.

Today, climate change, pandemic, and social unrest create seismic events that help us initiate new steps for recreating our systems. Migration and immigration are creating a more intercultural world. Thus we are at a crossroads.

Society is yearning for innovative solutions for long-term societal struggles. One way is to embrace the journey witnessed by the great mystics. Their methodology, grounded in contemplative silence, unleashes the group's creative imagination and leads toward action. This reflective process weaves together contemplative silence and movement, enabling Transformative Communities to co-create with God.

In a society that demands instant gratification, the haunting question is: do we have the “will” to sustain action? Solutions, by their nature, require rigor and perseverance. The current cultural divisiveness over the wearing of face masks during the COVID crisis is a stark example of the polarity between individual rights and the common good. The simple wearing of a mask has become a politicized prop instead of a unifier in this crisis. Some argue that wearing a mask is an infringement on their civil and individual rights; others argue that wearing a mask is necessary for the common good and a responsibility of a good citizen. This simple conflict demonstrates the challenge of creating and agreeing on shared action for the common good.

Transformative Communities see this and other polarizing issues as challenges requiring a spiritual discipline. This practice demands a collective interiority of detachment, listening to others, and often compromise. Transformative communities recognize that it becomes impossible to maintain the balance between the individual and the community without communal solitude and honest dialogue.

Society is at a crossroads in seeking solutions to a puzzling future. It is not the first time our culture has faced this type of challenge. In the United States in the 1950s, the challenge of going to the moon summoned us to seek solutions yet to be invented or achieved. In American Moonshot, Douglas Brinkley quotes John Kennedy's speech at Rice University. Kennedy’s statement rings true in this historical moment.

...we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because the challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one which we intend to win (363).

This challenge speaks to the weightiness it takes to create a transformational vision. It demands collective courage to detach from those mental models and behavioral patterns that block the transformative process. When Transformative Communities co-create with God, they make Kennedy’s words real for their generation.

Today, society needs a sense of urgency, bold vision, and a commitment to act.

Like the moon shot, we will need to remain committed to a multiple-phase approach to achieve a direction.

So the question is, how? The graphic opposite lays out the elements of the process of contemplative action: questions, assumptions, hypotheses, and action. As humans, by nature, we yearn to explore the unknown. When we are seeking something new, it all starts with questions. Questions open up the mind and heart to explore assumptions that lead to hypotheses, action, and continual adaptation. When we ask probing questions, they move us to explore our assumptions. This process slowly evolves into establishing a hypothesis or concept about a future reality. The deliberation moves to greater clarity, which catapults into a bold approach. There is a tendency at this juncture to believe we have completed the process.

The next challenging step is the implementation phase. There are two levels of creative process design and implementation. When the group decides on a course of action, it shifts to the implementation phase. At this phase, the espoused direction smacks up against reality, which is rarely a perfect match. Some elements succeed while others falter and need adaptation. It is why implementation is often a perplexing process. As the new model moves into actuality and experiences resistance, it demands constant learning, transformation, and vigilance. The unspoken yet poignant question that faces Transformative Communities is, “do we have the will?” It is a vital question because the challenge of implementing any vision or action meets exasperating times, calling for perseverance and belief in the impossible becoming possible.


Success in any new venture demands a
willingness to become detached from the initial aspirations.

There is a tendency to believe that aspiration will automatically resolve the situation or lead to the desired outcome. That is why any new concept, idea, or activity often takes multiple steps to reach the goal.

The U.S. journey to the moon is an example of how often a bold vision can take decades to achieve. The prospect of going to the moon was a concept without the capacity to achieve it. It took a radical shift in every system to develop the science, technology, a collaborative ecosystem of resources to accomplish the dream.

There were three named phases, each with a unique purpose: Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Mercury was to check the capacity to launch a spacecraft, circle the globe, and safely return. Gemini focused on such critical elements as extended living and walking in space, and other necessary capacities needed to fly to the moon. Finally, Apollo was the process of going to the moon and returning safely to earth. Each stage demanded an intense commitment to expand knowledge, envision new instruments, and create technology never before conceived. It asked people to risk their lives for an endeavor that no human had ever experienced.

This adventure required an act of collective courage both by the country and the people involved. Every societal organization began to reimagine its purpose to align with this vision. It was a total national commitment in every sector of society to risk this transcendent vision.

The pandemic is presenting our generation with the same question and demands. We are globally facing new challenges and the imperative to reinvigorate our organizations for a future yet unseen. In Roadmap to Reconciliation, Brenda Salter McNeil cites an anonymous statement: “ Great achievements are not born from a single vision but the combination of many distinctive viewpoints. Diversity challenges, assumptions, open minds unlock our potential to solve any problem we may face” (69). Transformative Communities accept this challenge to co-create with God.
"If your sickness gets worse, lighten your penances. Allow yourself the freedom to do as you judge best. The truth is that when the body is doing that penance which God gives it, you must lessen any penances you voluntarily choose for yourself."

"Dear Lord, as much as I try to remind myself, I still fail to grasp the depth of your love for me. Let me accept and embrace all the trials that come across my earthly journey with peace, knowing that I can overcome anything with your love. Let me release all anxiety and fear in the face of such penances. Give me the courage to always move forward in life, never hindered by the worry of the future. Teach me the wisdom of your divine plan."

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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