This is one of the topics shared by Fr Mark Mengel (former director of the Columban Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office), now the CCAO) who recently directed our one day retreat in Washington DC. This retreat happened during my first week of work at the CCAO and I thought this was appropriate topic to begin with. During my orientation, Amy (CCAO Director) opened our reflection with the Columban vision of JPIC office which read: “The 2006 Assembly reaffirms the prophetic stance of previous General Assemblies that working for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation is an integral part of preaching the Gospel and is at the heart of Columban Mission. Inspired by this vision we accompany the poor in their struggle for justice and we encourage and support those involved in local JPIC issues. This reading put things in perspective about the JPIC goals or more appropriate its mission which connected with what Fr Mengel shared about mission. He pointed out that mission has shifted from the notion of trying to convert many people to realizing that God exists in every culture. This is also reflected in our founder Bishop Edward Galvin when he said to his companions that they are in China to do God’s will. And God’s will for them is to live with and to live like them by living a simple life.
The retreat was a good opportunity for all of us at the CCAO to share our own understanding of how we understand mission. This is a good reminder for me to ask myself that “I’m not here to convert or perhaps the word I would prefer is to force people about the mission of the Columbans through JPIC on Indigenous rights. To use the words of our founder Bishop Galvin’s: “I would say I’m here to do God’s will.” And what is God’s will? God’s will is God’s mission here working in the JPIC ministry to advocate to people in power to recognize the needs and rights of the people.