Justice and Peace Office Reports on Programs and Goals

Russell Testa and Fran Eskin-Royer Around the Province

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation and its JPIC Directorate are working toward the accomplishment of goals set forth in the 2011-2012 JPIC Plan of Action. A variety of efforts to accomplish these efforts are underway.

Two projects are in the works: first, the office and directorate have been active in a coalition of other faith and secular groups advocating to Congress and the Administration to do everything possible to avoid going to war with Iran. Through calls and letters to Congress, as well as through Letters to the Editor written by some of our ministries, Holy Name Province and its allies have been successful in helping to forestall a vote on two resolutions in Congress that push the U.S. closer to military action. Grassroots advocacy works! This pressure on Congress must continue if the efforts of those calling for stronger sanctions and potentially disastrous military action are to be kept at bay. As the next round of talks between Iranian and other world leaders approaches in later May, stay alert for another phase of action items.

With regard to Israel and Palestine, persons are encouraged to watch the April 22 edition of 60 Minutes news program segment on the hardship and decline of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land. After having had the opportunity to view the piece, we recommend encouraging others to watch it, and thank the producers at CBS News for airing this segment. You may contact CBS through our partner, Churches for Middle East Peace.

Members of the JPIC Directorate and HNP ministries participated in prayer vigils and actions around the April 25 Supreme Court Hearing on the Arizona Immigration Laws. To find out more about the Church’s understanding of the importance of this case, please review the items prepared by the U.S. Bishop’s Justice for Immigrants Campaign, of which the HNP is an active member. The court case is one more example of why we need national comprehensive immigration reform. As immigration again will be a major issue in 2013 and is an important component of the Holy Name Province JPIC Plan of Action, HNP ministries are reminded and encouraged to continue to offer faith formation around this topic. More details are available through the JPIC Office.

Care for Creation
The JPIC Directorate and Office just published “A Franciscan Statement on Global Climate Change.” This thorough statement will be a significant part of the Province’s formation and action efforts during the fall of 2012 and into 2013. After the election, climate and energy issues will likely be among the major topics of focus. In addition, Holy Name Province ministries have continued to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to creation with annual Earth Day celebrations, featured in this newsletter.

Care for the Poor and United States Elections
The first two reflections on election issues from a Franciscan perspective addressed issues of poverty relative to governmental budgets and priorities. The goal of these short reflection pieces is to provide a Franciscan take on a number of important national issues as we near the fall 2012 elections.

JPIC Local Contact Retreat: June 8-10, 2012
For those planning to attend the annual JPIC Local Contacts Retreat, the deadline is fast approaching; please register as soon as possible. This year’s retreat will focus on reviewing and updating the JPIC Plan of Action, with particular emphasis on efforts related to immigration, care for creation and advocacy for the needs of persons who are poor. The retreat will be held at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, N.C.

As always, the JPIC Directorate and Office members appreciate all the work that members of the Province do in the pursuit of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. We welcome feedback about existing or desired Holy Name Province JPIC resources.

— Russ Testa has been director of the Province’s JPIC Office since 2000. He can be reached by phone (301-680-2200) or email (jpic@hnp.org). Fran Eskin-Royer contributed to this report.