Fr. Jean-Hérick Jasmin, OMI
(Director, General Service of JPIC)
In recent years, the OMI-JPIC General Service has shown that justice and charity are two effective pastoral attitudes of the Oblates in their commitment to the poor in our regions. Also, as an integral part of our pastoral activities in society, we are fully committed to the ministry of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, with a main objective: the construction of the Kingdom of God through the mystery of the cross of Christ. Indeed, from the beginning of this year of grace 2021, several initiatives have been taken by our General Service, as part of a continuous effort to respond to our priority which is the evangelization of the poor in our missions. Therefore, our apostolic zeal and priestly charity can inspire us – especially in works of mission – to do everything possible for the good of others and for our own sanctification. (See: Preface, CC RR). In this way, our concern for justice, our desire to be peacemakers and to take care of God’s gift of creation, will become prophetic signs of the Kingdom which is already among us today and which binds us together in charity and obedience. In short, our future advocacy for justice, peace and the integrity of creation will be reinforced by the virtue of charity as the expression of God’s love for all of us.
OUR VIEWS ON THE FUTURE OF THE GENERAL SERVICE OMI-JPIC
In order to formulate our perspectives for the future of our JPIC General Service, we maintain six interrelated aspects with the common objective of responding to the challenges of our time that struggle the path of justice and peace in the world.
First of all, we wish to continue as one oblate family in our interventions in defence of victims’ rights. In this sense, we want to be close, communicative and integrated Oblates, as Fratelli Tutti teaches us. In fact, the questions of human fraternity and social friendship have always been a concern of the Church, and also the concern of the artisans of justice, peace and respect for human dignity.
Secondly, we would like to build an OMI-JPIC service which would transcend the differences of origins, nationalities, colours and religions. As Pope Francis has said: only a Church modelled on mutual listening and reconciled diversity “can help the civil society to build itself in justice and fraternity, and thus contribute to a more beautiful and more human world for the future generations”.
Thirdly, our future prospect of JPIC touches on the aspect of human dignity. It is possible by recognizing the dignity of each human person that we can reactivate the universal aspiration to brotherhood among nations. Thus, respect for diversity and opposing points of view allows us to broaden our understanding of the world and to approach the truth in the particular and critical situations that some of our countries are experiencing.
As an extension of the former, we dream of living a fourth aspect that considers JPIC as a ministry in which we work in synodality to be able to do “what the Lord asks of us”. In fact, living the values of synodality as a dynamic pastoral dimension of the Oblates, is greatly necessary today.
In the fifth point, in view of carrying out our activities in synodality, combining listening and dialoguing with prayer and discernment, is fundamental. It also implies how profoundly we must listen and dialogue with other people in particular realities, such as: children in danger, abandoned young people, divided families, Afro-Americans and Indigenous people in their quest for equality and justice.
Finally, we will thus develop skills relating to pastoral planning such as: establishing a safe environment for children, young people and vulnerable adults; the construction of a “safe home” in a Church which inspires respect and confidence for all; the witness of a Religious Life endowed with the virtues and values inspired in the joy of the Gospel.
SOME ASPECTS IN OUR PROGRAM THAT DESERVE GREATER ATTENTION
In addition to the joint reflection carried out by the OMI-JPIC Service and the General Commission for the Mission on Laudato Sí, we briefly highlight some aspects of our program which deserve special attention:
The first one is the campaign to invite all the Oblates of our Regions and Units to join the effort to facilitate a better communication among the animators of JPIC, with the aim of making possible a more fluid, warm and sincere animation.
In addition, we want to animate and strengthen an interpersonal relationship as a value of JPIC and to become an intercultural Service. This implies the development of a “culture of encounter and a spirit of synodality” as a deep call to our religious life; as a “people of God traveling together” as the Pope Francis said.
A third aspect that holds our attention today is the need for a prevention program to protect children in danger, young people and vulnerable adults, and even our Oblates in mission ad extra. Such need means among other things, an awareness raising for the sexual identity in order to acquire an emotional maturity in the logic of a real interpersonal relationships. In short, we are talking about becoming a JPIC service in action for human development and personal freedom.
Finally, we propose to configure a renewing vision as Oblates in relation to ourselves and to the nature. So in terms of the ecology, we want to promote harmonious actions with the nature in all our pastoral grounds and become a “green OMI Congregation” in harmony with the dynamics of the Laudato Sí’ action.
BRIEFLY, HOW CAN WE WORK TOGETHER?
First of all, we can work together from our fidelity to the teachings of Saint Eugene, as brothers of the same Congregation. In this way we can live our consecrated celibacy as a sign of perfect charity (see C.15). Always in fidelity to the Founder’s testament, fraternal charity must support our zeal for the salvation of each of our members (see C. 37). By rendering service and joyfully practicing charity among all, subsequently the love of God and the peace of Christ abide in us (cf. Saint Eugene, 1826). In the same manner, our vow of perseverance – from which we publicly bear the witness of our attachment to our religious family and our definitive commitment to his mission – (see C.30), we will empower us to act by all dynamism possible and compatible with the Gospel, in order to reduce among us the causes of oppression and poverty of our peoples (see R 9a).
Similarly, we will be able to work together through the sharing of information on cases of human rights violations and in the training of our members. So that, they are able to face effectively the challenges of our Oblate Units. More particularly, we can walk together in the field of a concrete cooperation with the JPCI General Service, for a major efficiency. Indeed, it will be necessary to update our office in different ways with potentials and instruments that allow us to give better attention to the poor and be closer to them.
Another reason for our need to work and walk together is our dynamic presence at the international groups and institutions such as Vivat and AEFJN. We may continue to show our motivation in this kind of partnership that justified us in our charism in favour the poor. These days, we are resuming our cruising speed in terms of our mission and our constant presence close to the people. But, we need your support and generosity for better clairvoyance in some of our programs, and in consolidating our commitment to the environment from our institutions, works and pastoral places. On behalf of our discernment, our work together aims at the phase of a direct cooperation and sustained supervision of our specific regions, such as Asia, Africa and Latin America: including Oblate formation within the framework of sensitivity on the importance of the JPIC and environmental protection.
Finally, we can work together in a more generous way to become precisely Companions in Mission. And thus, we will be able to discern on the theme of safeguarding the rights of our peoples and work for the prevention of situations of injustice in our ministries. For this, we want to offer to our trainers and colleagues the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills to ensure proper support for formandi; to generate a climate of confidence between our employees and future animators, while adopting some practices and policies for safe activities inside and outside our houses.
Two years ago, the Pope Francis stressed the need for a world community based on the principles of solidarity and mutual assistance. In the same logic, this is a call for conversion which highlights the concern of OMI-JPIC’s service for migrants, displaced persons, refugees and victims of human trafficking. Moreover, it is also a call to give an immediate humanitarian response to the globalization of indifference and to the situations of injustice in the world today. As a first step to concretize God’s plan in the life of the people, it becomes necessary a fraternal dialogue between all the responsible actors and witness to the values of justice, peace and the defence of human dignity. (see P. Francis, Rome 14/01/2018 and 2/2/2018). In addition, by promoting free and open conversation on the challenges of our time, it would become easier for us to jointly look for solutions to some practices of injustice, for the well-being of all. To conclude, we can work together towards a greater acceptance of the reality of synodality as an accurate missionary process, starting from the witness and the commitment of our religious life.