July 22, 2021

In this issue

Assembly Reflection: New Endings and New Beginnings

By Christopher Jungers
When I reflect upon the two days of Assembly for Holy Cross Province, the idea of how the Passionists of the Province—vowed and lay—now choose to move into the future brings me feelings of excitement, energy and confidence…and some questions.

We decide how to confront the challenges ahead 

Like members of any organization, we decide how to confront the challenges ahead, how we conclude elements that no longer are viable or feasible, and how we begin new endeavors and initiatives. Our leadership chooses to move forward by concluding and ending some things in new ways so that they are honored and respected. Likewise, new efforts will launch with a diversity of input and collaboration so that they feel and are owned by all Passionists. This approach is life-giving and nurturing; it is exciting and energizing to be a part of it. Questions remain and new challenges lay ahead, but I hold confidence that new ways of being Passionists will meet us and embrace us as we journey forth.
Assembly Reflection: Embracing Collaborative Efforts

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.   

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!
Transformative Communities: God's Co-creative Pioneers
(Part 2)
By Mark Clarke, Community Works, Inc.

Practice One: Embracing Diversity
Diversity is grounded in the spirituality of Deuteronomy 30:19-20 where Moses offered the people of Israel the choice “of life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, and then you and your descendants will live; love the Lord your God, obey him and hold fast to him; that is life for you...”. To choose by loving and holding fast to God is to embrace the unknown and the mystery of life. It is a constant choice to remain rooted while exploring new vistas. From the simple decisions to develop a new hobby or try fresh food, to the more difficult ones to understand a different culture or accept another’s point of view, all are ways of opening oneself to the invitation to choose life.

The value of diversity opens one’s soul to God’s beauty, as seen in the montage of all creation. The acceptance of diversity increases opportunities to explore multiple solutions. The graphic below demonstrates the importance of seeing the uniqueness and intersection of these qualities.

Diversity opens us to the grandeur and expanse of God’s love and infinite goodness. In Grounded, Diana Butler Bass eloquently proclaims: “The world, the universe, is the ‘body of God’: all matter, all flesh, all myriad of beings, things, and processes that constitute physical reality are in and of God. God is not a spirit, but also body”(40). Bass speaks to the wonder and blessing of embracing God in the panoramic beauty of life.

The richness of our world is its diversity in multiple forms:

  • Nature: Trees, flowers, rivers, and landscapes.
  • Religions: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoism, etc.
  • Culture: European, Asian, African, North, and South American, and the various cultures that comprise those continents.

For Transformative Communities, the appreciation of this diverse splendor is fundamental to co-creation. 

Diversity in all forms allows us to experience the enormity of life and go beyond self-imposed limits.

Sharing the universe’s variety of cultures and people enables us to embrace the richness of the power of creation more deeply. It allows Transformative Communities to become prophetic witnesses to a world yearning for hope.

The increasing number of worldwide protests like Black Lives Matter, Woman’s March, and similar demonstrations have shed light on the challenges of living in a multi-cultural society. These movements have raised profound and disturbing questions about inclusion, personal freedom, and individual rights. The marches have provoked passionate urgency to solve underlying racial tension and oppression. For the first time, many demonstrations are including intergenerational and culturally diverse populations advocating for systemic change.

In Deepening Community, Paul Born quotes Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Future Without Forgiveness when he describes the concept of ubuntu this way: “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.” Born continues, “We belong in a bundle of life, a person is a person through other persons. If I am accomplished it is not the ‘I’ who identifies the accomplishments but the ‘we.’ We gain our identity and a sense of purpose in the context of our community” (49). His words define the grounding concept behind Transformative Communities’ witness to the power of embracing the “we.” Without this foundation, our world continues to validate its selfish individualism and self-absorption, which increases the tension already existing in our lives.

Ongoing protests call us to reexamine long-held community assumptions and attitudes about equality. People who share their lived experiences highlight the difference between the minority's norms and the majority culture. As prophetic witnesses, Transformative Communities become leavens of hope and channels of change. Every day we hear beleaguered populations proclaim that they are tired of hollow promises and demand results.

Transformative Communities realize to co-create with God demands heartfelt conversion.
These communities “Choose Life” by reverencing each
culture's beauty and uniqueness with compassionate love. 


There is a collective recognition that this journey will demand an inner and outer transformation. Barbara Salter McNeil, in Roadmap to Reconciliation, defines reconciliation thus:

Reconciliation is an ongoing spiritual process involving forgiveness, repentance, and justice that restores broken relationships and systems to reflect God’s original intention for all creation to flourish (26).

McNeil illuminates the importance of reconciliation as a spiritual practice to embrace our shared humanity. Reconciliation, by its essence, creates both opportunity and conflict as the foundation for growth. Our collective society needs to embrace reconciliation as an ongoing practice rather than an episodic approach created by civic unrest.

Desmond and Mpho Tutu have developed a four-fold process for social healing in The Book of Forgiveness that lays a path toward reconciliation:

  • Telling the Story
  • Naming the Hurt
  • Granting Forgiveness
  • Renewing or Releasing the Relationship (49)

We all have stories of being hurt, rejected, or scorned. Often, when this happens, we want to forget and quickly move on, but the scars remain in our spirit and body. We are regularly reminded that the holocaust exterminated millions of Jews only because of their nationality and religion. The telling of this story is a reminder of what can transpire without seeing the other's humanity. Thus recalling the story opens the door to community healing and reconciliation. Transformative Communities co-create with God through witnessing the miracle of diversity by their spiritual practice of “Choosing Life” through reconciliation and love.

Works Cited
Bass, Diana. Grounded: Finding God in the World. Harper One: Greenville, SC, 2015.
Born, Paul. Deepening Community. Berrett-Koehler: San Francisco, CA, 2014.
McNeil, Barbara Salter. Roadmap to Reconciliation. IVP: Downers’ Grove, IL, 2016.
Tutu, Desmond. No Future without Forgiveness. NY: Doubleday, 1999.
““I thank the Supreme Good for the trials which his Divine Majesty sends me and you. What does it matter, my daughter, that your father holds (when it is pleasing to God) the nails and the hammer with which he crucifies spiritually on the cross of mortification the daughter God has given him? If God’s will is done, all will be well."

"Dear God, it is so difficult to accept the challenges that come my way – spiritual, physical, mental, emotional. I ask you to be my strength today. Allow me to accept these difficulties as opportunities to grow in your goodness. 'Thy will be done today,' Lord, and always."

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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