Compassion Magazine

Community of Passionist Partners: Holy Cross Province

by Tim O'Brien

CPP Convocation 

SpacerLay groups affiliated with religious congregations are growing throughout the United States. In Holy Cross Province -- the western province of Passionist men in the United States -- nearly 200 men and women along with professed Passionists have gathered into eight communities called the Community of Passionist Partners (CPP). I am the group's executive director. above: CPP Convocation, 2000

Here is the way we describe ourselves:


"We are a group of lay men and women and professed Passionists partnering with Holy Cross Province, who formally commit to share in the charism of Saint Paul of the Cross, though a contemplative prayer life, ongoing spiritual formation, and profession of the message of Christ crucified."  
SpacerThe Community of Passionist Partners resulted from a process that has taken place over several years involving both vowed Passionists and concerned laity. In 1988 and 1995, General Chapters of the Passionists called for involvement of the laity with the vowed community of Passionists. At the Provincial Chapter of Holy Cross Province in 1995, a Lay Collaboration Committee produced the following document for discussion:


"Our charism is a great gift. Our vocation to keep alive the memory of the Passion of Jesus does not belong only to our Congregation or to our communities; it is open to all those who are moved by the action of the Holy Spirit. We accept the call to live in communion with men and women who witness to its relevance and vitality."  

SpacerThis foundational idea led to further discussions and refinements until May 1997, when a board of directors was formed, consisting of vowed Passionists and lay persons. The board worked on a specific plan to develop the Passionist Partners program.

SpacerIn January of 1998, the first formation programs began in Detroit, Michigan and Sierra Madre, California. Within a few months, similar projects took place in Chicago, Illinois and Citrus Heights, California. Soon formation programs were added in Houston, Texas, Louisville, Kentucky and eventually in Birmingham, Alabama and San Antonio,Texas.

SpacerA formation program is essential for Passionist Partners. The communities gather each month. There is an all day meeting each quarter featuring a presentation of some aspect of the Passionist charism. Over four years, each community of Passionist Partners receives the same instruction from an expert cadre of instructors. Each of the four years has its own theme:

  • Year l: Moving Toward the Covenant
    At the end oath first formation year, members covenant with the community and Province
  • Year 2: Living the Covenant
    At the end of the second year, new members who feel ready enter into covenant with the community, and those who previously covenanted renew or revise their commitments as well.
  • Year 3: Toward Ministry
  • Year 4: Theological Reflection and Contemplation
  • Year 5: Encountering and ministering to the Crucified
    In the fifth year each community decides what it wants to study in the light of our mission and covenant.



next: discernment, covenant


also in this issue:
Passionist Oblates in KentuckyThe Passionist Laity
Mission Fulfillment - Saint Paul of the Cross Province
Associates of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion

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