JPIC Retreat A Success

Russ Testa Features

The second annual JPIC Local Contacts Retreat was a great success. Eighteen Partners-in-Ministry and four friars from 15 ministries of the Province gathered May 5-7 at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center near Greensboro, N.C.

Louis Canino hosted the group at the Prayer Center, as well as actively participated in the retreat.

The Prayer Center is in a wonderful location. It is nicely located in a natural and secluded area that easily promotes a spirit of contemplative action, a necessity for remaining active in JPIC ministry.

The retreat began Friday evening with dinner followed by evening prayer. After prayer, ministries shared some of the successes of their previous year’s JPIC ministry and offered a goal for the next year’s ministry. The night ended with prayer. The sharing of successes and hopes is an easy way for each ministry to help each other in gaining new ideas and ways to animate JPIC activity.

On Saturday, the focus of the morning and afternoon was to carry out exercises exploring active nonviolence. We used a process designed by the Franciscan-inspired Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living.

The Engage program is a 12-week small group training in nonviolence activism that explores how to promote and live a nonviolent life at individual, group and societal levels. The focus on nonviolence served two purposes. First, it enabled opportunities to build the community of JPIC ministers of the Province through common experiences. Through this community building, the local JPIC ministers got to know each other and will more easily be able to call upon one another for support.

The second purpose for using Engage was to help determine if the Engage program might be a resource for the larger Province to use in working towards the completion of the Franciscan “pre-emptive” peacemaking proposal passed at Chapter 2005. At Chapter, it was agreed that the friars and ministries of the Holy Name Province should participate in nonviolence training that will help it work towards Franciscan peacemaking. At the next JPIC Directorate’s meeting, May 19, we will take the feedback from the retreat participants and determine next steps with Engage or develop some other solutions.

In addition to the exploration of nonviolence, Saturday included more sharing of each ministries’ JPIC successes and hopes. The evening ended with prayer and socializing, again with great food prepared by our own chef, Louie Canino.

The retreat concluded on Sunday with the final four ministries sharing their successes and hopes, followed by a brief overview of the unfolding JPIC Provincial Plans being carried out by the JPIC Directorate. After this sharing, we celebrated Mass by joining with the SFO fraternity from the Greensboro area.

In reflection upon the retreat, two things struck me. First, from the sharing of each of the ministries, it is clear that there is a great deal, and indeed a growing amount, of JPIC activity in the ministries of HNP. The change in JPIC just over the past year in these ministries is inspiring. Second, I am repeatedly humbled at the quality, faith, and commitment of the friars and PIMs engaged in JPIC ministry. Each person is clearly a vital component that helps each of our ministries live the Franciscan life to the fullest.

Thanks to all who joined in the retreat and made it possible. Dates and location for next year’s retreat will be decided and released soon.

Ministries attending the JPIC Retreat: St. Francis City Ministry (Providence, R.I.); Holy Cross Parish (Bronx); Mount Irenaeus (West Clarksville, N.Y.); Holy Angels Parish (Little Falls, N.J.); HNP Communications Office (East Rutherford, N.J.); St. Anthony of Padua Parish (Camden, N.J.); St. Francis (Beach Haven, N.J.); St. Paul Parish/Voces Sin Fronteras (Wilmington, Del.); St. Camillus Parish (Silver Spring, Md.); St. Francis Parish (Triangle, Va.); St. Francis Parish (Raleigh, N.C.); Immaculate Conception Parish (Durham, N.C.); St. Francis Springs Prayer Center (Greensboro/Stoneville, N.C.); St. Anthony of Padua Parish (Greenville; S.C.); and St. Mary of the Angels Parish (Anderson, S.C.).