Greetings to you all. The time has come to give you an update on the international JPIC role and the progress over this first year. Thank you for the encouragement and support that has come in various ways for this work and role. I would like to send you this reflection based on these four questions.
What has developed in JPIC in the past year?
The most intensive part of my experience this year has been the development of the JPIC Plan which includes the vision, goals and implementation steps for this international role. (Soco Rubio, the JPIC link person on the General Council, refers to this as a ‘bringing to birth’.) The JPIC plan, continuing the themes of the Esperanza Report of 2012, is arranged under the following headings:
- Awareness Raising and Critical Analysis of Reality
- Transformative Education
- Advocacy and Networking
- Prayer as an Active JPIC Response
- JPIC as a way of life
Each theme opens the way to goals and actions which we will share with you and invite your support and companionship as we move forward in this mission of JPIC. The JPIC Plan which was approved by the General Council in July 2014 was presented to the Provincials’ Assembly in Poland in September. This was an excellent opportunity to test the plan’s objectives with a rigorous process of questions. There was a strong affirmation of JPIC at the end of the Assembly.
What is planned for the coming year?
The newly established and permanent JPIC Coordination Committee will meet in Rome in January, 2015. This committee of RSCJ has a wonderful combination of skills and experience. Its purpose is to develop, help implement and evaluate the JPIC Plan. The JPIC committee consists of some from the original Advisory Committee and others who bring a richness of their own experience to this role. They are: Miren Lumbreras (ESP), Joy Luz (PHI), Cecile Meijer (ex-officio UN-NGO), Solome Najjuka (UGK), Rosario Sánchez (PER) and Sheila Smith (USC).
The implementation of the JPIC Plan is an invitation to RSCJ and our friends throughout the world to participate in whatever ways they can. We have the responsibility to promote the five themes of JPIC identified above and to highlight the efforts of all the JPIC activity throughout our provinces. In the next two years we will draw on the experience of people and groups who are committed to JPIC, knowing that it is essential to reflect this grassroots experience in the international work of JPIC.
An idea that has been evolving since the 2008 Chapter is to focus together on one important issue. This means, of course, that provinces would continue to focus on other major issues significant to their own context but this would be one way to hold and explore an issue together as an international Society. After much deliberation the issue that has emerged as an urgent one for our time is that of climate change or as some call it, climate justice. This will be the topic of further communication to you in a newsletter before Christmas.
What has helped me to familiarize myself with JPIC work?
This first year has been one of listening and learning. Much of that has been through the Advisory Group which helped to set up this early stage of JPIC International. I am very grateful to this group who gave their support during this time.
During this year I have been involved in JPIC with the international congregations based here in Rome. Mostly this is awareness-raising of JPIC issues throughout the world ranging from the impacts of mining to approaches to peace-making in conflict. I am involved in several working groups: Migrants and Refugees; Integrity of Creation; Anti-trafficking; the International Congregations of Religious at FAO (the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organisation). This was fascinating as 2014 is the Year of Family Farming. All this has built on my own experience of JPIC and it provides access to a rich international overview.
Nevertheless, to be effective the JPIC service needs to be balanced with the experience of other cultural realities than Rome. One such experience this year was my 7-week stay in Peru. I learned a little Spanish (I can read more than I can speak) but importantly, it gave me an insight into the culture of a Latin American country. It was a wonderful experience and I saw how deeply the RSCJ of Peru are involved in all issues of JPIC. It is part of their identity and their history. Very soon I will visit the province of India and I hope to plan other visits next year.
What are some learnings and convictions?
These learnings and convictions have been deeply confirmed for me over this year:
- JPIC is impelled by the image of the pierced heart of Jesus in the wounded heart of humanity. (Constitutions #8)
- JPIC is deeply related to our spirituality, our mission of education, the depths of our charism and the integrity of our tradition as Society of the Sacred Heart
- JPIC is above all about relationship
- JPIC is a service and a support and not a burden
- JPIC must be closely connected with local knowledge and contexts
I hope this summary may encourage you to reflect on your own learnings and convictions and find the points at which the fullness of God’s love is expressed through JPIC. I always welcome and value your interaction.