SILVER SPRING, Md. — An emphasis on immigration and care for creation, as well as a stronger focus on interfaith action for justice and the federal budget’s impact on the poor are among the themes of the Province’s new 2011-12 JPIC Plan of Action. The document was approved in October and announced last month to Provincial leaders and representatives of local HNP ministries.
The plan’s purpose is to “define concrete actions that respond to the HNP Strategic Plan and the signs of the time,” according to the plan. It includes “goals and directions for the next year and suggestions for building beyond this timeline into the future.” Each of the plan’s four themes has a committee to plan and coordinate projects, comprising several members of the Province’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate — chaired byJacek Orzechowski, OFM.
“We see the document as a means to help all of us better engage in the efforts so tied to the Franciscan charism and ones to which so many of you have already committed your time,” said Russell Testa, director of the HNP Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. “As we wait for reactions from the friars and partners-in-ministry, we have been doing a great deal of the base work to move the plan forward.”
Holy Name Province’s JPIC Plan of Action for 2011-2012, a collaborative effort from the JPIC Directorate and JPIC Office, was approved by the Provincial Council on Oct. 27. The first “formal (JPIC) plan for approval by the Council,” said Testa, it was discussed at the 2011 HNP Guardians’ Meeting in November.
In a note distributed last month to the Province’s JPIC local contacts, Testa said, “do not hesitate to contact the JPIC Office to let us know how we can better help you carry out our Gospel call to promote justice, peace and care for creation.” He can be reached by phone 301-680-2200 and by email.
Because a major part of the JPIC Plan of Action addresses the “challenges of our federal budget and how the changes coming forward must not negatively affect persons who are poor,” Testa and his team made the local contacts “aware of some immediate action that we can take to work for a fair budget.” He encouraged people to participate in vigils on Nov. 20 in Philadelphia, Richmond, Va., and Sarasota, Fla., and to use information provided through a website.
Testa read a passage from the New Testament Letter of James during the Faithful Budget Prayer Vigil in Washington, D.C, on Nov. 20, attended by more than 250 people.
Several areas of the JPIC plan “made specific mention of increasing our Province’s participation in the 2012 Ecumenical Advocacy Days,” he said. “Because of the ongoing goal of working for justice with other religious traditions — called for by the Spirit of Assisi — and the fact that the EAD’s theme is the federal budget and its impact on the poor, we urge every HNP ministry to be represented. This will help us make our Franciscan-inspired vision a reality.”
Registration and scholarship information about the 2012 EADs, scheduled for March 23 to 26, was sent to Provincial ministries over the last few months. and was part of the focus of a December JPIC resource mailing, Testa said. These monthly JPIC mailings are new, said Testa, “part of a concerted effort” by his office to provide friars and their ministries with the information they need to focus on JPIC-related issues.
Testa and his staff also encourage representatives from HNP ministries to attend the annual JPIC Local Contacts Retreat, planned for June 8 to 10, at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, N.C. Information about this and other JPIC-related events can be found on the Justice and Peace section of HNP.org.
In addition to live events, the Province’s JPIC staff uses digital media to carry out its advocacy work and to offer resources. In recent months, many new pages JPIC resources have been added to the Province website.
Ten types of JPIC in Action Efforts are now offered on the site, thanks to staff member Fran Eskin-Royer, who gathered information from HNP ministries from Florida to New England about approaches they use to advocate and solve issues.
“We aim to connect people around the Province with what others are doing,” said Eskin-Royer, senior staff assistant in the JPIC Office. Each page offers information about education, advocacy and service.
The most recent topics to be added to the website are:
- Issue-related resources, featuring Tar Sands information
- Spirit of Assisi information, on the Resources page, added in September
- Community Gardens, Prison Outreach, Fair Trade/Alternative Gift Fair Efforts, Justice Education Programs, and Food/Hunger and Homelessness Efforts — all JPIC in Action pages
With online information, frequent mailings, initiatives of the JPIC Directorate, and the formal JPIC Plan of Action, it is hoped that JPIC initiatives in Holy Name Province will be as strong as ever and will make an impact toward improving the lives of those who are marginalized.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.