The Passionist provincial for Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, has been elected deputy to the order’s father general.
South Australian, Fr Denis Travers CP, was elected Vicar General and First Consultor of the Worldwide Congregation of the Passionists at the general chapter of the Passionist congregation’s meeting in Rome last month.
Father Denis is also currently Passionist Provincial of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Meanwhile, the Passionist Family Movement is relaunching itself in a number of parishes in Wellington and Palmerston North as a way of bringing people together.
At a time when most parishes are thinking about lay leadership to supplement sacramental ministry, the Passionist Family Movement is encouraging people to form groups to get to know one another and discover each other’s gifts.
In New Zealand the movement started 18 years ago in the small Waikato town of Paeroa. It reached 110 parishes at one stage but since then some have pulled out and others joined.
National coordinator, Lynn Hill, says the movement gives people some way to share their Christian lives. Today it is more important than ever with diocesan plans in place to deal with fewer priests.
‘We are not called to be Catholics in isolation. No one can get to know everyone in their parish but they can get together in small groups.’
One of the gifts of Passionist Family groups, Lynn says, is that people don’t know who they’re going to be in a group with. Some people have said they are surprised at how well people in the groups have interracted.
‘Accepting difference isn’t enough; we need to celebrate our differences.’
The groups meet monthly, usually around food. It is like an extended family with grandparents, couples with and without children, singles, divorced people and those who have never married.
People of all ages are welcome in the movement and it is a great place for children with families supporting each other as they raise their children.
As people get to know one another, the natural things families do for each other happen. If there’s illness, or some kind of strife, people take casseroles to them.
‘I have seen people get to know each other so well that they become almost like family,’ says Lynn.
The movement started in Australia with the Passionist order of religious giving its name.
Lynn says the movement is keen to enhance whatever parish groups exist already. ‘It’s a great way to build community.’
The general chapter of the Passionist Congregation met in Rome for the fortnight around their patron’s feastday. There are some 2,400 Passionist priests and brothers in 59 nations on the five continents of the world who are represented at the chapter.
The Passionists follow in the footsteps of their founder, St Paul of the Cross, whose feastday was 19 October. Passionist priests, brothers, sisters and lay members of the Passionist Family, specialise in keeping alive the memory of the passion of Jesus and working closely with people who suffer in so many different ways, in our present time.
For more information about Passionist Family groups the regional coordinators are John and Mary-Ellen Leen, ph 2336265 and Richard and Sue Gibbs, ph 5689790. National directors, Rob and Lynn Hill can be contacted on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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