Reflections on the OFM JPIC Congress: Some Next Steps

Russel Testa Features

UBERLÂNDIA, Brazil – As I reflect upon my experience representing the Province in the Second International OFM Congress for JPIC in Brazil, I am left with a renewed sense of encouragement for our JPIC work in the Holy Name Province. Through much of the formal and informal interaction with the other JPIC Animators, we in the Province can be reassured and supported in the trajectories we began in Chapter 2005. Here are a few of the ideas I heard:

  • The HNP effort to look at our life and ministry through a lens of globalization was exciting for many of the animators to hear. In these efforts, there was a great comfort in knowing that we in the U.S. are struggling to understand and direct the current form of globalization to be one that builds solidarity and supports humanity. (Often the assumption is that we in the U.S. are oblivious to the world.)
  • In particular, our focus on being peacemakers received a great applause, in particular in how we have attempted to look at peacemaking beyond the interpersonal. For example, our HNP efforts this past fall to defeat the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) as a way to bring peace was strongly cheered with the hope that we will look for other opportunities to affect policy through advocacy.
  • Many Entities of the Order are quite willing to explore how we might do the ministry twinning that was passed in our Chapter 2005. They too want to build relationships of solidarity that together can help us reshape our world.
  • The efforts to look at community-based investing, and the alternative global economy that this assumes, was also an idea that had traction. There was great respect that we would look at how we might use some of our resources to build an economy of solidarity.
  • Finally, we were given encouragement to continue to build upon these ideas. In particular, the friars from outside of the U.S. are looking to us in the Holy Name Province and the U.S. to get better at advocacy to affect U.S. governmental and economic policies. In essence, to help change the system.

All in all, the entire Congress was inspiring and rejuvenating. From the experience of being with the landless people of Brazil and their hope, to reflecting upon the challenge given by the General Minister, José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, to the variety of stories and experiences that the friars brought from their own countries, there is clearly a need for us in the U.S. and in Holy Name Province to do all we can to build solidarity.

The JPIC Directorate and I will take the insights and proposals from the Congress and discern how we can use it to get better at our own JPIC efforts. I would challenge each of the readers of HNP Today to take some time and visit the Congress’s Web site. In particular, I would strongly suggest that we use the words of the General Minister found there to help guide our reflections upon the 800th Anniversary of the founding of the Order.