JPIC Local Contacts Gather at Annual Retreat

Greg Williams In the Headlines

For the handful of attendees from south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it was awfully cold outside!   But inside Xavier Center during the weekend of Feb. 9 to 11, on the campus of The College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, N.J., it was very warm.  This was not only from the stout heating system at the Center, but from the wonderful caring and warmth among the 28 JPIC ministry representatives from around the Province.

Those who gathered shared many encouraging stories of their ministry’s 2006 accomplishments. They also shared their dreams for 2007-8, worked to develop a “cookbook” to help HNP ministries begin and improve their twinning experiences, and used quiet time to pray, reflect and rejuvenate themselves for the year ahead.

The several participants who prepared the morning and evening chapel services did an incredible job of choosing prayers and readings that spoke strongly to me personally, and also to many others, based on comments heard. The networking, reacquainting, and forming of new relationships that happened during the meals, always a key part of these gatherings, was so strong that our Sisters of Charity hosts had to kick us out of (or in more “peaceful” JPIC terms, gently ask us to leave) the dining room at the end of every meal-time.

That was only one example of how this group of dynamic individuals presented a constant challenge to Russ Testa to keep on track with his agenda.  Russ is the Province’s director of HNP’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC).

Once again, Russ exhibited his knack for adapting to the situation, and with his direction, the group developed and detailed a slate of seven primary themes to help HNP ministries build their twinning relationships. These will appear soon on the web site.

It was great to have Dan Dwyer, Russ, and several other members of the JPIC Directorate, encourage us to continue to be creative, and continue to develop more advocates for justice, peace and integrity of creation using whichever programs (i.e., JustFaith, Servant Leadership, Engage, etc.) work best in our particular ministry situations.  With so many success stories, no matter what social ministry challenges we might have, there is probably a group in the Province with experiences to help us be successful.

 Greg Williams is the co-JPIC local contact at  St. Mary of the Angels parish in  Anderson, S.C.