Communicating with Passion
January 21, 2021
IN THIS ISSUE
New Partnerships in a Post-Pandemic World
A Video Message from Fr. Pat Brennan, CP
A Prayer from St. Paul of the Cross
The Other Side of the Virus, an Opportunity to Awaken
New Partnerships in a Post-Pandemic World
We recall for this newsletter what is meant by the term “New Partnerships.” The New Partnerships Vision Fulfillment Team began with the firm belief that “what we do in Holy Cross Province matters in this world” and that we must do what we can to preserve it. A new partnership imagines that the Passionist Family of Holy Cross Province will combine efforts or activities with a new person or entity in order to do something new, or something more, or something different and in doing so we expand who we are and who we are able to reach.
Several of our projects addressed post-pandemic ministry to people greatly affected by the reality of living through the pandemic; in particular frontline medical workers, essential workers and those who experienced the death of loved ones due to the virus. We called for post-pandemic days of recollection for spiritual healing, hosting bereavement events prior to everyone returning to work, a new look at retreat recruitment and shepherding young adult spirituality through community service. Other projects sought outreach to other Passionist Provinces, near and far, in order to collaborate on ministry.
Pandemic reality accelerated demand to act immediately to serve our Passionist ministries and spiritually support retreatants, parishioners and other faithful. All ministries in the Province immediately responded, taking their message directly to the people using every form of technology available to them.
We saw new ministries emerging such as in particular the food ministry at Mater Dolorosa. An unanticipated partnership from among the Passionist Family between Faith Offman, Marci Madary, Lissa Rommel and Fr. David Colhour, CP, led to a series of retreats entitled “Living into Transformative Times – Celebrating Advent, Christmas and Epiphany." This series of retreats is wonderful testimony to the prayer of Pope Francis.
“We find ourselves afraid and lost. We were caught off-guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm.
We have realized that we are in the same boat,
all of us fragile and disoriented….all of us called to row together,
each of us in need of comforting the other."
In summary, many of the ministry projects proposed by the New Partnerships Vision Fulfillment Team have been acted on and will continue to be expanded and developed in the days ahead.
What lies ahead?
“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.
By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God,
so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.”
Hebrews 11:1-3 (NABRE)
It’s January 2021, soon to be a full year of living under this cloud, and the pandemic is not finished with us yet. We do not know when our darkest days will be over. We do have faith that one day we will be beyond its reach. For now, new and ongoing visioning work will continue in search of new partnerships to enable Holy Cross Province to thrive.
Every person has been forever changed. Father General Arturo Sosa, SJ, head of the Society of Jesus, observed that “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transformation of human life demanded by the changing times we live in. But we still don’t know how deep this change will have to be.”
We do not know what lies ahead. We share our efforts with the entire world that are caught up in the same struggle. What we had before, what we were before, may not be available to us when it’s all over.
So what do we do? We must continue on our visionary path and by faith, we will endure. We look to New Partnerships to help us recover and restore our balance.
“When it’s over I think we’re going to gain one hundredfold.
We just have to be attentive to where the Spirit is leading us, and throw up our sails and allow the breath and wind of the Holy Spirit to carry us into new shores. I think we’re going to gain a tremendous amount as long as we continue to trust and follow Him.”
Fr. Joseph-Anthony Kress, OP, Chaplain
St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville, VA
A Video Message
A Message from Fr. Pat Brennan, C.P.
"Even though I preach, give missions, hear confessions and give spiritual direction, I find myself imperfect and without virtue—a miserable rotten tree which bears decayed fruit. Still, I am not afraid. The Passion of Jesus Christ gives me courage to take one day more to serve his Divine Majesty according to his divine good pleasure."
"Dear Lord, I am constantly aware of my lack of virtues. I feel as if my flaws and imperfections multiply even as I work to improve these defects in my character. It seems like all around me I can see the virtue in others that I can’t seem to attain. I even foolishly try to hide from you, hoping I can somehow conceal my failings. I don’t want to hide from you anymore. Teach me to trust in you, your love and your mercy."
The Other Side of the Virus, an Opportunity to Awaken...
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighborhood
so that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that:
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Written by Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
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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