February 4, 2021

In this issue

The Ever-Changing Kaleidoscope of the Ministry Team

By Faith Offman, Ministry Team
Way back when the Ministry team first met, Fr. Mike Higgins, CP, shared something I think important and profound and it has stayed with me. As we were a ‘committee’ to look at Passionist Family Ministry, he pondered…historically, as Passionists, our ministry has flowed out of our community life…how will it look coming out of committee…how do we ‘re-imagine’ community life in the context of Passionist Family…what does that mean for ministry…

I find myself continuing to ponder those thoughts - change, shifting, new possibility and new reality! Vowed community life certainly finds itself in the midst of on-going change; as in the midst of COVID, all of Passionist ministry finds itself in the midst of change. Both of these areas of change are profound, all- encompassing and interconnected. As we learn (discover ways) to embrace these changes we try many things, think outside the box and step into the unknown.

In reflecting on the many changes that I have observed and/or have been a part of, I am struck by the deep connection between community and ministry. As we shift from language (and lived experience) of Passionist Community comprising Vowed Religious with support from the Laity to Passionist Family language where Vowed and Lay together create community and ministry to keep the Charism alive, what emerges within us? What structures need re-imagining? Can we trust that we will together discover a new stride? These questions, it seems to me, are what our Vision Fulfillment Process is all about!

I have long loved kaleidoscopes and I find them surfacing as a metaphor for me around all this. Tiny shards of glass coming together to form beautiful, amazing mandalas - drawing us in to the center – the light (God, Charism?) and out again. Mandalas of color, shape and luminosity that are ever shifting and changing. No matter how carefully you try to put down the kaleidoscope, the pattern will not remain the same, yet each dissolving image regenerates itself into a new creation.

When a kaleidoscope is held up to the light – it is the light that brings the pattern together – the charism that holds us. The kaleidoscope echoes a lingering sense of what used to be, interlaced with an aura of things to come as it opens unimagined vistas – one simple turn and the shards fall away, only to come together again in an even more brilliant mandala. The kaleidoscope demands a listening eye to open windows to the soul and spirit.

Perhaps that is where we find ourselves – learning the ‘dance’ of Passionist Family Community and Holy Cross Province Ministry. Deepening our trust in the light of our Charism to show us the possibility and the way while focusing not on the dissolving shards of glass but on the re-arranging and re-generating new means of engaging, sharing with and responding to the “Crucified of today”. We discover new ways to hold the space for the dreaming and synergy needed to carry out the mission.

Much new ministry (in both response and delivery) is and continues to happen. COVID and technology have opened possibilities for ministry beyond individual sites within and beyond the Passionist Family – exciting new ways of connecting and working together. We nourish our own souls – filling our well (Visionary Day; Advent/Christmas/Epiphany Retreat; Conversations around Race) so we can better share the light of our charism (online live streaming; Zoom retreats and workshops to nourish and connect with our constituents) within each of our ministry sites as well as between the sites.  Brand new ministries - food service in Sierra Madre, on-line Spiritual Direction - begin to take shape, recharge our energy and transform our imaginations.

The Ministry team dispersed the proposals generated at Chapter and new Working Groups were created and assembled to further explore and respond. The ever changing landscape of our Province and World demands new wineskins for the creative, unique and evolving responses to community life and the ministry that flows out of it.

The Ministry Team formed following Chapter has disbanded as such, recognizing the deep connection between community and ministry, as well as acknowledging the ‘shards’ beginning to take on new shapes and colors. The members all find ourselves in various Working Groups that touch our life experience and passion. Working together within our respective ministry sites as well as the Province at large creating the kaleidoscope mandala that will work today, and evolve into tomorrow.

These are exciting times, confusing and not yet completely comfortable, but we are learning to navigate the ever-changing landscape.  

Kaleidoscope Calming Meditation

"Having to let go is part and parcel of being human.
As we open the hands of our heart we will see God at work.
God’s plan is for us to move forward and mature as we go.
Trust God and let go and he will catch you."

Fr. Cedric Pisegna, CP
Transformative Communities:
Passionately Committed to Learning (Part 1)
By Mark Clarke, Community Works, Inc.

“There is an angel that bends over and whispers ‘Grow, Grow.’"
In the history of human culture, from the Talmud’s ancient instruction to grow to the contemporary concept of learning communities, we see the consistent mandate for learning and growth. Human beings are by nature inquisitive, organizing, and seeking creatures. We can place the concerns of contemporary religious communities in this context and discuss how they are both Learning and Transformative communities. Learning communities encompass a broad spectrum of educational, business, cultural, and other institutions in contemporary society. The term “transformative community” is more commonly associated with religious communities.

Learning Communities
Learning communities provide a space and a structure for people to align around a shared goal. Effective communities are both aspirational and practical. They connect people, organizations, and systems that are eager to learn and work across boundaries while simultaneously holding members to a common agenda, metrics, and outcomes. These communities enable participants to share results and learn from each other, thereby improving their ability to achieve rapid yet significant progress.

Learning communities create an influential culture that has three essential elements: emotional safety, foresight, and capacity development. Daniel Christian Wahl, in his book Designing Regenerative Cultures, states: “Creative problem-solving in a regenerative culture is not only about finding the answer to current needs but also helping to ask better questions” (Wahl 62). The pursuit of innovative concepts becomes woven into a learning quilt of deep reflection, generative ideas, and practical solutions. For this to transpire, it is vital to align cultural norms, institutional behaviors, and expectations to manifest the structure of a learning organization. The graphic below shows the integration of these essential elements.

Join us for Visioning on Tap!
Visioning on Tap is an innovative way to engage in The Passionists of Holy Cross Province’s Vision Fulfillment Process, as well as consider how the topics to be presented impact your personal life! 
Each 60 minute virtual session will include prayer, small and large group conversation and a short presentation highlighting a Vision Fulfillment initiative. It is time for you to ask questions and add your voice to the larger Visioning conversation.
The first Visioning on Tap session is Moving toward Mutuality: Leadership Development
Mutuality is an interpersonal dynamic where everyone is respected, authority is shared, and gifts are freely given.  Join us and reflect on how you live in mutuality and how the Vision Fulfillment Process is manifesting mutuality in the area of Leadership Development.  Tim O’Brien will be our guest speaker.
Visioning on Tap will be held via Zoom on Thursday, February 18 at the following times:
  • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Pacific;
  • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Central; and
  • 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Eastern.
The session will also be repeated on Tuesday, February 23 at these times:
  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Pacific;
  • 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Central; and
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Eastern.
Here are the Zoom links for you:
For Thursday, February 18:
For Tuesday, February 23:
Future Visioning on Tap dates and topics are as followed:
Growing in Faith: Passionist Rule for Laity and Online Spiritual Direction
Thursday, March 18 at 4:00 pm, Pacific; 6:00 pm, Central; 7:00 pm, Eastern
Tuesday, March 23 at 12:00 pm, Pacific; 2:00 pm, Central; 3:00 pm, Eastern

Being Passionist in the World: Laudato Si Happenings
Thursday, April 15 at 4:00 pm, Pacific; 6:00 pm, Central; 7:00 pm, Eastern
Tuesday, April 20 at 12:00 pm, Pacific; 2:00 pm, Central; 3:00 pm, Eastern
Sharing the Good News: Marketing Ideas
Thursday, May 13 at 4:00 pm, Pacific; 6:00 pm, Central; 7:00 pm, Eastern
Tuesday, May 18 at 12:00 pm, Pacific; 2:00 pm, Central; 3:00 pm, Eastern
The Passion of the Earth:  
Weekly Lenten Gatherings for the Passionist Family
Wednesday, February 24
to Good Friday
April 2
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Pacific
1:00 pm-2:00 pm, Central
2:00 pm-3:00 pm, Eastern

Six sessions: the first five sessions will be every Wednesday, February 24 through Wednesday, March 24; our final session will be an Ecological Way of the Cross on Good Friday, April 2.

A series of weekly gatherings during Lent are available for the Passionist Family exploring Laudato Si’ and the Passion of the Earth as we journey together toward the Passion of our Lord.  Each meeting will be grounded in prayer and the Passionist charism, and will make use of a recent series of videos on climate feedback loops. We will connect to issues facing the communities in which Passionists are located (like the drought and fires in CA, the Flint water crisis for Detroit, etc.). Opportunities to live into Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving will be offered. In our final Holy Week gathering, we will accompany each other on an ecological Stations of the Cross.  The series is for the whole Passionist Family and will include individual and small group opportunities for reflection.

Register in advance for these sessions here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the sessions.

Image:  Melanie Weidner, Passion of the Earth Series 
"When you hear meditations read to you (or read them yourself) don’t tie yourself down to the particular points of the meditation. Follow your own prayer style as God guides you, completely plunged into him. Always listen with devotion, but let your spirit remain in deep recollection, resting entirely on the supreme Good."

"Lord, may you always be the guide for my prayer life. Sometimes, I try to inspire my meditations in ways that are false and don’t speak to my spiritual needs. I have been discouraged when being led in prayer and my mind wanders away from you. Remind me that all I need to do is to come to you with an honest and open heart and you will always be there for me. Give me the courage to allow our conversation to go wherever you take 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.
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