JPIC Leaders Busy With Peace Coalitions, Delegations, Planning

Maria Hayes Around the Province

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Russ Testa, director of the HNP Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, was recently elected chair of the board of directors for Churches for Middle East Peace. CMEP is a coalition of 24 national church denominations and organizations in Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions that supports a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Testa currently represents the Franciscan friars of the English-speaking Conference on CMEP’s board of directors.

In early August, Testa also met with a peace delegation from West Papua. He said he was encouraged by their commitment and the course of their meetings in the United States.

Justice and Peace E-resources
The JPIC office, which Testa has directed since 2000, is continuing to update its section of the Province’s website. Friars and lay partners are encouraged to review those pages to see JPIC efforts throughout the Province, as well as JPIC resources.

In anticipation of the upcoming national elections, the JPIC office and directorate will issue two pieces within the month to provide Catholic and Franciscan insight into how to approach the elections, said Testa. They will be distributed by mail and email, and uploaded to the Justice and Peace page alongside two previously published election issue pieces.

Save the Date
The JPIC office has announced several upcoming events and urges friars and lay partners to mark their calendars:

  • The annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days will be held from April 5 to 8, 2013, in Washington, D.C. This year’s gathering will focus on food justice for a healthy world. Information is available at
  • The Province’s 10th annual JPIC Local Contacts Retreat will be held June 21 to 23 at the Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center in Marriottsville, Md.

On Sept. 22, Testa will facilitate a day-long training and subsequent dinner program at St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., titled “Enhanced Understanding Through Respectful Dialogue.” The event will focus on the importance of respectful dialogue in the public square, especially with regard to the national elections. Subjects covered during the program will include issues and concerns that participants identify are important to them. The cost to register is $10.

The JPIC office staff and JPIC directorate met last week. Discussions at the Aug. 22 gathering at Holy Name College in Silver Spring centered on the revision of the JPIC Plan of Action, which will be submitted to the Provincial Council for review at its September meeting.