The Passionists: Holy Spirit Province
Who Are The Passionists?
There are more than two thousand Passionists in 52 nations in the five continents. They are led by the superior general who is elected every six years. He is assisted in the government of the congregation by 4 consultors from the around the world. The present superior general is Father Joachim Rego CP, born in Burma, and migrated to Marrickville as a teenager.Fr Denis Travers CP of Adelaide is a member of the general Council. The congregation is divided into provinces, vice-provinces and vicariates. Since 25th March 2015, Holy Spirit Province consists of all the Passionists in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. We have communities at St Brigid’s Marrickville in Sydney; St. Paul’s “The Monastery” in Glen Osmond, Adelaide; St. Mary’s, Oxley in Brisbane; St. Joseph’s in Hobart City; Holy Cross in Templestowe and St Gabriel’s in Endeavour Hills, Melbourne. In New Zealand we have a community in Blenheim. In papua New Guinea we have communities in Port Moresby and Vanimo. In Vietnam we have communities in Hi Chi Minh City. The Congregational Leader of our Province, the Provincial, is Fr Tom McDonough CP. His offices are in Marrickville.
We also have two sister Congregations living and working in Australia. The Passionist Sisters of St Paul of the Cross have communities in Sydney and Adelaide. Their main work is Pastoral Care, in retirement villages and nursing homes, as well as Parish Ministry. The sisters serve on our parish at St Brigid’s. The other community is the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, living and working from Endeavour Hills, Melbourne. Their main work is community organisation.
Companions and Associates
There are many other men and women who share our charism. There are those who have had a life long association with the Passionists through our communities and ministries. There are those who have formalised that relationship as Companions. We Passionists see the many women and men and young people who share their love for Jesus Crucified and the spirit of Paul of the Cross as an integral part of the Passionist Family.
The Passionist Sign
The special insignia of every Passionist is the “Sign”, the heart-shaped emblem you see on this page. It catches, in an image, the meaning of Passionist life. It can be found throughout of Church of St. Brigid’s, in the windows, the mosaics, the shrines. And, of course, it is worn by the Passionist religious themselves. In the middle of the emblem are the Words, Jesu XPI Passio. Written in Greek and Latin, the languages of the early Church. Those words mean: “the Passion of Jesus Christ,” (The three nails at the bottom and the cross at the top remind us symbolically of His suffering and death.) Every Passionist takes a special vow, a solemn promise, to spend his/her energies in promoting remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus. This vow defines the purpose of the Passionist community. We pledge to keep deep in our hearts the memory of the cross and to do what is in our power to remind others of it.
Why promise to do something like this? The answer lies with the meaning of the cross and death of Jesus Christ for the world. First, the death of Jesus was no mere brutal execution of an extraordinary Jewish teacher and prophet long ago. His death was an event that changed human history. Jesus died that others might live. God so loved the world that he allowed his only Son to give his very life for us. The cross becomes the symbol telling us God’s love is stronger than death. Passionists want to tell the world about that love.
But there are other reasons for the Passionist vow. Jesus’ death on the cross was a death in the cause of justice. He was executed because he challenged accepted values. He sided with the poor and the outcasts. He condemned oppressive structures. Jesus was a prophet and prophets meet strong opposition. His cross reminds us that Christians must listen to the cries of the poor. We are in solidarity with those whom society may forget or even exploit. The cross is a sign of justice. To remind the world about the cross is to challenge the world for its injustice and neglect. Passionists are pledged to that challenge. Finally, remembering the cross means remembering those in the world who bear the cross today: the disabled, the sick, the dying, the grieving, those isolated and alone — all who bear the burden of pain. Jesus identified himself with the “least”. He shared their burdens and brought them hope. He, too, bore the cross.
Christians who believe in Jesus find strength in the memory of his Passion. Jesus knew pain and death. He also tasted the victory of everlasting life. Death is not the final word for those who believe. This, too, is part of the Resurrection message Passionists proclaim to the world. The special sign we wear is meant to symbolize a solemn commitment to proclaim God’s great love made known through the cross of Jesus. We nourish that memory in our hearts through prayer. We share that good news with all the world. We proclaim it through preaching, in our parishes and retreat centres, through the media, and by our presence in hospitals, classrooms, campuses, missions and those ministries of service to the community.
Don Senior, C.P.
For more information about the Passionists, nationally and internationally, see the website of the Holy Spirit Province of the Passionists or our FaceBook Page The Passionists: Holy Spirit Province.