If It’s Friday, It Must Be Camden

Fran Eskin-Royer Around the Province

NEW YORK — With the current realities of the nation and world, including the legislative debates over health care, climate change and immigration reform, the economic downturn and the closing window for peacemaking efforts in the Holy Land, Holy Name Province finds itself at a unique moment in history, with many Franciscan values held in the balance. 

This fall, Russell Testa, director of the Province’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office, began an East Coast tour aimed at reminding Holy Name Province friaries and ministries of these values. 

Reflecting on these realities in light of the mandates for JPIC from the 2008 Provincial Chapter and the spirit for JPIC that arose from the Order’s 2009 General Chapter, the Province’s JPIC Directorate discerned a need to assess how the office and directorate serve the friars as well as ministries in which friars serve.

Furthering JPIC Efforts
On each visit, Testa gathers this input from HNP friars and, when possible, lay partners-in-ministry. He said the ultimate goal is to determine how Holy Name Province can best use its resources to support provincial ministries and to further nationally-focused JPIC efforts and important JPIC work within local communities. 

Testa launched his tour of more than 30 cities in Loudonville, N.Y., on Oct. 26 with the friars at Siena College. “The conversation was lively and fruitful — even bringing to light some shared ministerial efforts within the house that had gone unrecognized,” Testa said.

Next, Testa visited St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, N.J. Through discussions with pastor and JPIC Directorate co-chair Jud Weiksnar, OFM, friars and community members, it was clear justice and peace can be accomplished — even with a “shoe-string” budget.

The first months of 2010 will include visits to Anderson and Greenville, S.C., Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia, Boston and Long Beach Island, N.J. The JPIC Office will be contacting additional ministries in the coming weeks to schedule visits.

Testa, whose busy schedule resembles the theme of the 1969 movie If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium, said, “I am looking forward to visiting the ministries. I hope for honest discussions that will enable the Province to celebrate its current JPIC efforts and determine areas in need of growth so that the Province might more fully live out the justice and peace portion of its Franciscan charism.”

Outside the Province
In other JPIC news, Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, informed friars of a course promoting the formation of JPIC animators in response to the 2003 General Chapter. The course, offered in English, Spanish and Italian, runs from April 13 to 23 at the Antonianum in Rome.

Additionally, the Franciscan Action Network is hiring a Creation Action Fellow. The position is a one-year internship designed to increase the input of the Franciscan eco-justice message in the Washington, D.C., advocacy community. A detailed job description as well as information outlining the application process is available on FAN’s Web site.

In the photo above, Testa is shown with members of the Camden parish’s JPIC team: Rina Abreau, outreach coordinator, and partners-in-ministry Martha Checo and Edna Rivera.

— Fran Eskin-Royer is senior staff associate of the Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation in Washington, D.C.