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July 8, 2021

In this issue


Assembly Reflection: How Quickly We Retooled
 






By Sandra Arnould
This Assembly being completely on zoom like last year felt different (maybe because Zoom is ‘normal’).  The opening remarks by Fr. Joachim drew you in, his voice, the cadence and inspired message kicked off the two days thoughtfully.  My favorite part was the retrospective video and of course (it contained) the stand-up speech by Fr. Ron Corl, CP, that gave me goosebumps two years ago. That was a treasure to see again.  I was so glad it had been recorded!  It ended the full week chapter on such a high back then. 
 
The programs mentioned in the video give me hope, how quickly we re-tooled.  During the first few months of the pandemic we heard about distilleries making hand sanitizer, clothing manufacturers making masks and PPE and we as Passionists were re-tooling too - to be a presence to those who are suffering, from the retreats and Masses online, to the food ministry outreach. 
 

Such hope and goodness spreading to more people than ever. 



To think about CTU opening up to more people remotely and with my experience at the summer institute last week, that was one of the highlights being in breakout groups with people from Australia, Ireland, the Philippines and all over the US.  The diversity of experience and viewpoints were thought provoking and energizing!
 
We as a Passionist family, although not having a family reunion in person as we have in the past, have kept the channels of communication open and still have managed to deepen relationships with our brothers and sisters – hope abounds.
A New Way of Being Passionists: My Relfections on the Provincial Assembly
 





By Alfredo Ocampo, CP
Reading the signs of the unprecedented times and the multifaceted context of a still COVID-19-pandemic era helped the Vision Fulfillment and the Exploratory Committees of Holy Cross Province to strategically create the program and the virtual environment for our Province Assembly. It was within this collaborative and creative context, with which lay and vowed Passionists are quite familiarized, that I was reminded in the words of Father General Joachim Rego, CP, that this is “a new way of being Passionists” and of enhancing “the Passionist life and mission” of Holy Cross Province.

I was further reminded that opportunities emerge in times of crisis; that the COVID-19 pandemic created a worldwide crisis and that the family members of Holy Cross Province boldly took the opportunity to join their creative efforts and practical ideas to respond with compassion, solidarity, and magnanimity to the physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial needs of our suffering sisters and brothers. It was thus highlighted that “a creative energy” of mutuality and co-responsibility “has been unleashed in Holy Cross Province,” which has put its life and mission in “a time of evolution” ever since the beginning of our new millennium.
 

It is in the prophetic and apostolic words on synodality that I find hope and energy



It is in the prophetic and apostolic words on synodality that I find hope and energy because, as Catholics and Passionists, Pope Francis calls us to reform the church and our Passionist Congregation by letting the Holy Spirt bring us together, enlighten us, and guide us through a process of wide-ranging consultation that involves all members of Holy Cross Province. This means that all those who feel and identify themselves as Passionists, by virtue of being transformed and bound by their knowledge of the charism and spirituality of the Passion of Jesus Christ, are called to take ownership of our baptismal “right and responsibility to go as apostles of evangelization” by living up and witnessing to the mutuality and co-responsibility of Jesus’ missionary disciples.

Even though we have come this far as a Passionist Family, and I support the proposal to engage lay Passionists properly and rightfully in the decision-making and leading of the life and mission of Holy Cross Province, I also have the sentiments that many of my vowed Passionist brothers have.
 

I think we should come together for further dialogue
if we intend to walk together and move forward with this proposal.



In other words, I think that we should come together for further dialogue if we intend to walk together and move forward with this proposal, precisely because community life and ministry have multiple layers and dimensions that, if they are not properly, rightfully, and respectfully addressed as “the elephant in the room,” they will keep blocking our missionary vision and making its fulfillment process of synodality tougher. If we want to push forward this leadership proposal in a spirit of synodality, of mutuality and co-responsibility, then we need to hear as many of the voices, if not all of them, and invite all lay and vowed Passionists who will willingly engage in this dialogue process.
Transformative Communities: God's Co-creative Pioneers
By Mark Clarke, Community Works, Inc.
 

God created the world in seven days, so goes the Genesis story in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Every culture and religion also has a unique creation story that describes who they are and delineates their shared history. As Diana Butler Bass notes above, Edwina Gateley, theologian, writer, and founder of Genesis House, speaks to the enormity of our current issues and calls for each of us to participate in co-creation by sharing our talents and energy. We need to have the spiritual discipline called for in One Corinthians 12:4 in the New American Bible: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Lord; there are different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” This passage affirms the fruits of embracing diversity as a collective stance. These gifts allow society to find shared solutions in periods of significant upheaval.

We now know that creation is evolving, and co-creation is ongoing and that God never stops. In our day, Transformative Communities join God as co-creators. How do they do this? As applied to religious communities, organizational systems theory helps us understand how each Transformative Community can be an effective co-creator with God.

Transformative Communities participate in creation in three formative ways:
  • By embracing the diverse mosaic of God’s creative process;
  • By practicing contemplative action that incessantly pursues their social commitment to justice;
  • By establishing an effective ecosystem of relationships to create answers for complex issues.
These three disciplines are spiritual practices. They are rooted in reverence for all creation through social justice and dynamic engagement in interconnected life. These practices are used by intentional communities to establish a collaborative approach to pioneering societal change for the common good.

The past two decades have jolted our world into exploring new questions. Various global issues like environmental catastrophes, racial tension, economic crises, and immigration have opened our collective eyes to society's hidden pain. Our souls are experiencing profound grief, asking emerging questions, and searching for quick yet fleeting solutions. The current pandemic has catalyzed issues long repressed. Racial tension, immigration bias, and economic inequality have volcanically erupted, creating widespread fear and anxiety.

These realities have created a sense of disorientation. Bruce Feiler in Life is in the Transition, illustrates this by quoting Margaret Atwood’s analogy:
 

When you're in the middle of a story, it isn't a story at all, but only a confusion;
a dark roaring; blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood;
like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs
or swept by the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it."
Feiler 208


In other words, people often can’t find clarity amid the turmoil. For example, today's emotions have engulfed large segments of society because the COVID virus has created a sense of frustration, loss of control, and radical shifts in one’s lifestyle.

These times demand the end of empty rhetoric and pious platitudes. Millions who have suffered decades of oppression want action. Transformative Communities must explore new opportunities grounded in diversity, contemplative actions, and effective collaborative ecosystems. These practices will support an action-oriented attitude to co-create with God. They will construct a platform to become innovative pioneers to address our time’s complexity and contentious questions.
 
The practices of diversity, contemplative action, and collaborative ecosystems are
vital to fashioning an adaptive and creative approach to abrupt and stunning societal disruptions.


The graphic below depicts three continuous disruptions: globalization, environment, and immigration. They, individually and together, increasingly generate societal upheavals. In the past year alone, we have experienced several precipitous occurrences that have caused immediate panic. The worldwide pandemic and forest fires in California speak to the speed at which these events can cripple a region or an entire nation. The pandemic has dramatically touched every sector of the globe and has resulted in thousands of deaths. Also, it has created a greater openness to global cooperation creating best practices leading to shared solutions. This level of collaboration has affirmed our global interdependence.

Society is realizing that these complex issues offer no simple solutions. For example, people migrating because of a crisis from one part of a region or globe to another create economic, housing, and social stress on their new community. These patterns of movement have raised cultural, economic, and social challenges. Migrants are entering well-established cultures, often with different languages, customs, and beliefs. Our traditional sequential change process cannot address today’s systemic problems. Therefore, we need to craft innovative solutions that summon us to become pioneers walking in the unknown, pursuing new horizons.
 
Works Cited
Feiler, Bruce. Life Is In the Transitions. NY: Penguin, 2020.
New American Bible. USCCB: Washington, DC, 2010.


The Passionists of Holy Cross Province 2021 Assembly


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


As a reminder, materials from the June 2021 Assembly are now available through the links below and on the web at https://passionist.org/assembly/.
“I tell you things about prayer, but I never want you to pray in my way, but in God’s way. Always leave yourself in holy freedom. In this way you will receive God’s communications according to his good pleasure. Prayer should always be made according to the manner in which the Holy Spirit leads. God wills it this way."

"Lord, you listen to my heart so lovingly! But let me be a listener to you as well. Open my ears and my heart to take in those messages you share with me. Let me hear, today, what is your plan for me and delight in your wish to communicate with me."

 
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.
If you would like to share your thoughts, ideas or reactions from anything in this newsletter, we would love to hear from you!

Send your thoughts to
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