Spirituality of JPIC Animation

October 15, 2012

Fr. Gearóid Francisco Ó Conaire, OFM

Fr. Gearóid Francisco Ó Conaire, OFM is the Executive Secretary of JPIC Commission of the USG/UISG (International Union of Superiors General).  His topic today was on the “Role and Spirituality of JPIC Promoters”.  Before his formal presentation, as co-facilitator, he recommended to the participants that for this last week of the Seminar, they take time to gather the fruits of the three weeks’ sessions and to discern how all these can be converted to concrete plan of action, which they can bring along and implement in their respective mission areas.   Working by continent, they will also design a presentation that will communicate to the Sisters and lay mission partners all these realizations in order to help them understand that JPIC is a constitutive element of the life and mission of the SSpS.

Fr. Francisco then proceeded to the first part of his talk —

“The Elements to Keep in Mind in JPIC Animation”:

I.  Responsiblities

  • Animation
  • Formation
  • Communication
  • Coordination
  • Collaboration

II.  Fundamental Attitudes and Actions

  • Being an ANIMATOR (rather than an activist!)
    • JPIC into life and mission
    • ‘Right relations’
    • ‘Preferential option for the poor’
    • Kingdom spirituality
  • Personal WITNESS (JPIC values)
  • Focus (WHY? questions): CAUSES and not just the consequences of injustice
  • Know foundational aspects of JPIC from:
    • Biblical tradition
    • Church documents
    • SSpS documents and Spirituality
  • Build structures (local/provincial)
  • Develop a JPIC Plan
  • Finances
  • Projects
    • Every ministry is a place to do justice
    • keep them simple;
    • take advantage of what already exists (formation, mission, seminars etc);
    • –what can best involve more sisters?
    • –what can be planned with others?
    • –what can be evaluated?
  • Methodology
    • –Participation
    • –Process
    • –A few priorities (every issues is linked to every other one)
    • –Social analysis
    • SEE – JUDGE/(Illuminate) – ACT – EVALUATE – CELEBRATE – SEE…
  • Collaboration
    • –involve others; (other religious, faith groups, NGOs)
    • Involve provincial committees
    • –Involve leadership (Provincial and Council )
    • be aware of what already exists (resources, ideas etc)
  • Communication – keep everyone informed
    • Websites
    • Newsletters
    • Urgent Actions
    • Publications

III.  Remember

  • Respect the Sisters (offer suggestions)
  • Listen/observe
  • Be positive — affirm
  • Persistence – Kingdom project and not yours!
  • Love the Sisters (even in resistance)
  • Be gentle and compassionate
  • Be culturally sensitive
  • Be willing to empower others
  • Connect with the poor
  • Respond rather than react
  • Sense of humor
  • Celebrate success
    • –be aware of what already exists (resources, ideas etc)
  • Personal Care
    • Study
    • Prayer and contemplation
    • Spiritual director
    • Time off
    •  Hand over

IV.  Avoid

  • Judging
  • Dismissing efforts of others
  • Making JPIC the work of specialists
  • Doing it alone
  • Creating dependency
  • Pessimism
  • Negativity
  • Doing too much

V.  Difficulties in JPIC Animation

  1. Lacking a non-violent gospel methodology
  2. Focus on ‘structural change’ rather than on ‘personal transformation’ as well
  3. JPIC focus on ‘out there’ rather than ‘in here’
  4. Some promoters ‘activists’ rather than ‘animators’
  5. Lacking creativity and imagination
  6. Unclear about JPIC = promoters and leadership
  7. Promoters receive no training or  orientation
  8. Lack of continuity in JPIC animation
  9. Poor collaboration with other services
  10. In general, no JPIC plans developed in Religious Institutes

Second part of Fr. Francisco’s presentation dwelt on “Towards a Spirituality of JPIC Animation”.  A document on this topic was given for reading and study.  It highlights the importance of Christian commitment to the transformation of the world, how the JPIC animator helps create awareness of suffering and injustices, and how she/he encourages gospel initiatives to alleviate pain and tackle the underlying causes of exclusion.  It emphasizes too that the animator cannot achieve this alone.  He/she needs a strong and developing spirituality, as well as fraternal (sisterly) and institutional support.

Powerpoint on “Elements to Keep in Mind in JPIC Animation” (click here)

Word document on “Towards a Spirituality of JPIC Animation” (click here)

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