STONEVILLE, N.C. — Holy Name Province’s 2010 JPIC Local Contacts Retreat brought together a record number of ministries to share successes and challenges, and to offer input for HNP’s Chapter 2011. St. Francis Springs Prayer Center here, with its hallmark warm hospitality, was the beautiful backdrop for the weekend, making high summer temperatures but a passing thought.
Seventeen ministry sites sent representatives to the June 25 through 27 gathering: St. Mary of the Angels Church (in Anderson, S.C.), Catholic Center at University of Georgia (Athens), St. Anthony Shrine and Ministry Center (Boston), St. Anthony of Padua Church (Camden, N.J.), Immaculate Conception Church (Durham, N.C.), St. Anthony of Padua Church (Greenville, S.C.), Siena College (Loudonville, N.Y.), Bethany Ministries (Middleburgh, N.Y.), Holy Name of Jesus Church (New York), St. Bonaventure Church (Paterson, N.J.), St. Mary Church (Pompton Lakes, N.J.), Church of St. Mary (Providence, R.I.), St. Francis of Assisi Church (Raleigh, N.C.), St. Camillus Church (Silver Spring, Md.), St. Francis Springs Prayer Center, St. Francis of Assisi Church (Triangle, Va.), and Mt. Irenaeus (West Clarksville, N.Y.).
Lay and friar participants, 29 in all, described a broad range of vibrant local efforts toward justice, peace, and integrity of creation. Among them:
• Clean Start — a direct service ministry to the homeless
• Ecumenical peace-building events constructed around a visit from Daoud Nassar, a Palestinian Christian
• Varied efforts to educate around Catholic Social Teaching, including introductory workshops and immersion trips
to El Salvador
• Transformation of a city eyesore into a flourishing community garden
• Promotion of Fair Trade products during a “Gift it Up” Christmas initiative
• Ecumenical Martin Luther King peace walk through the streets of New York City, organized in response to the
• Alternative gift fair that raised roughly $25,000 for those suffering in the Congo
• Far-reaching (and, in some instances, longstanding) impact of the transformative JustFaith program in several
Attendees spoke of the need to integrate contemplative prayer into the work of JPIC as well as to continually make clear the Gospel call for these efforts.
Retreat participant Anne Tunney, director of parish outreach at St. Francis in Triangle, said she is “proud to be part of the Provincial JPIC efforts.” For her, it is “a breath of fresh air to feel the dedication, energy and accomplishments of (her) fellow attendees.”
Other discussions during the weekend centered on a JPIC contribution to Chapter 2011 and included social analysis work. The friars in attendance, JPIC Directorate Members Hugh Macsherry, OFM, and Daniel Dwyer, OFM, along with Louis Canino, OFM, Peter Chepaitis, OFM, Joseph Kotula, OFM, and Steven Patti, OFM, will be able to share first-hand input from some of the Province’s most engaged partners-in-ministry.
“One strong message I heard was the desire of our ministries to continue with some local JPIC initiatives that don’t directly connect to the Province’s current priorities,” said Daniel. He assured those in attendance of the Province’s ongoing support of such parallel efforts.
At the same time, HNP’s JPIC Office director Russell Testa said he wants to help HNP ministries identify themselves more strongly with the Province. “Our hope is that our evolving Justice and Peace page on HNP.org will offer ministries more opportunities to network with others on common efforts, allowing the development of a stronger shared identity.”
The JPIC Local Contacts Retreat is a yearly face-to-face networking opportunity for those leading Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation efforts in Holy Name Province ministries. Last year’s program took place in New Jersey.
— Fran Eskin-Royer is senior staff associate at the Province’s JPIC Office in Washington, D.C.