Formation Update: JPIC Animators Lead Workshop for Novices

Fran Eskin-Royer Friar News

BURLINGTON, Wis. — In what has become an annual event, four JPIC animators led a workshop on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation for novices at the North American OFM Interprovincial Novitiate. The animators included Sr. Donna Graham, OSF, of St. John the Baptist Province, Fr. Maury Smith, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, Fr. Christopher Gaffrey, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province, and Russell Testa, director of Holy Name Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.

The two-day workshop, held Feb. 20 and 21, began with an overview of the spirituality, theology and documents that ground the Order’s approach to JPIC, and an introduction to the Order’s JPIC structure. Then the group looked specifically at three focus areas stemming from 2009 General Chapter mandates: Care for creation, with a special emphasis on climate change and the Order’s new Amazonia Project, the Excluded, with an eye toward immigration and peacemaking.

“The group had good discussion around the focus areas, making clear the foundations for the mandates and the specific ways each of the provinces is addressing the focus areas in its work,” Testa said. “The structure of the workshop allowed time for discussion of a number of other JPIC issues raised by the novices.”

“The participants were very engaged in the workshop and clearly understand the General Minister’s statement that ‘JPIC is part of the DNA of being a Franciscan,’” Testa said. “In addition to the exchanges during the workshop, the opportunity to get to know the novices informally, at prayer, meals and a Mardi Gras party, made the time a great gift to me personally.”

The JPIC workshop with the novices has become an annual event in response to the Order’s overall direction to better integrate JPIC into formation efforts. In this vein, the HNP JPIC Office will host an introductory workshop for the postulants at the end of March.

— Fran Eskin-Royer is senior staff assistant at the HNP Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation in Washington.

Editor’s note: Shown in the photo are Scott Brookbank, OFM, Jeffery Upshaw, OFM, John Aherne, OFM, and Russell Testa.