JPIC Directorate Plans Goals to Attract Support, Build Programs

HNP Communications Around the Province

RINGWOOD, N.J. — Members of the Province’s JPIC Directorate met at Holy Name Friary here last month to compile goals for the coming year and to share some proposals with the Visioning and Planning Committee.

At the Oct. 6 meeting, attendees accomplished two comprehensive tasks:
1. Analyzing the JPIC situation, outlining strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats regarding the Province’s justice and peace programs.
2. Compiling a list of five proposals on which the directorate recommends that the Province focus attention.  Goals were highlighted that increase the interest and excitement of the Franciscan movement and its message.

Acting as peacemakers is one of the key resolutions that came out of the Province’s 2005 chapter; the JPIC directorate is charged with implementing initiatives, said chair Daniel Dwyer, OFM, who added that “integrity of creation is becoming an essential part of our lives and ministries.”

“Since Francis is patron of both peace and ecology, people naturally look to Franciscans as their concern for the environment increases,” he said

Many programs in the Province’s 30 parishes focus on JPIC goals.  They include:
•  Advocacy of immigration reform in parishes such as Raleigh, N.C., and Triangle, Va.
•  The climate control course being offered this fall at St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J.
•  Helping the homeless through shelters, soup kitchens, and other projects
•  Ministry twinning at St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, N.Y., at St. Patrick – St. Anthony Parish in Hartford, and at other parishes
•  Save Darfur programs at Holy Angels Parish in Little Falls, N.J., and other locations  
•  The Faith and Politics series offered at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh
•  The new Namaste peacemaking program in Western New York by three Province sites: Mt. Irenaeus, St. Bonaventure Parish, and St. Bonaventure University.

Russell Testa, director of the Province’s JPIC Office in Washington, D.C., said support is strong for the JPIC ideals among the friars and partners in ministry (PIMs). 

In addition, he said, the fact that the founder of the Franciscan Order is well liked is an advantage when trying to spread the message of the Province.

“St. Francis is among the top 10 most respected persons in history,” said Testa, who is attending the Second Congress of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, this week. 

The directorate plans to continue to be a strong supporter of the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) that is being established, in large part, because of HNP efforts, Testa said.

The Province’s Communications Office will launch a revised JPIC page on the Province’s Web site before year’s end. Watch the site for descriptions of the JPIC office’s five initiatives, as well as news about upcoming events. 

The directorate comprises 10 members, four of whom are lay persons.

“I am exceedingly impressed about what the lay people in our parishes are doing to promote justice and peace,” said directorate member Peter Schneible, OFM.