Bro. JAMES T. K
ABOUT JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation)
As a vibrant group of men committed to follow Christ as set forth in the Gospels and striving to be faithful to the spirit of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, the Institute is trying to keep in pace with the initiatives of the Church. The endeavour of the Institute is to have the flavour of the Gospel in the lives of the Brothers and manifest it in all their undertakings.
During the General Audience on 9 April 2014, Pope Francis said: “We need to ask ourselves if our lives have the flavour of the Gospel, if others perceive that we are men and women of God; if it is the Holy Spirit that moves our lives.” The Pope is repeating it again in his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, where he is inviting people to have a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel.
SOCIAL TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH:
The Catholic Church have been reminding us regularly about our duty towards the society at large, through various documents and the Papal encyclicals. The first social encyclical was the Rerum Novarum ("of revolutionary change")promulgated in the year 1891 by the Pope Leo XIII. Addressing the issues of working class, it called upon the faithful to work for peace based in the pursuit of justice and love. Thereafter there have been many such encyclicals, the latest one being the Fratelli Tutti which invites us to contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity (Cf. 8).
The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church is rooted in the prophets who announced God's special love for the poor and called God's people to a covenant of love and justice. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came "to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind"(Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with "the least of these," the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45).
The main themes of CST are:
Life and Dignity of the Human Person.
Care for God’s creation.
Call to Family, Community and Participation.
Option for the poor and the vulnerable.
Rights and Responsibilities.
Dignity of work and the Rights of the Workers
DICASTERY FOR PROMOTING INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT:
In order to permeate the spirit of the Social Teachings of the Church among the faithful, a Committee for Justice and Peace was established at Vatican in the year 1967. Later in the year 1988, it was upgraded to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Pope Francis, in 2016 changed it into a full-fledged Dicastery with the name- the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Inspired by the Second Vatican Council Document, Gaudium et Spes (1965) and the Synod of Bishops on Justice and Peace (1971), the Union of Superior Generals (USG) and International union of Superior Generals (UISG), jointly established JPIC (Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation) Commission in the year 1982 and invited every Institute to have JPIC Structures.
JPIC INITIATIVES IN THE INSTITUTE
There have been eleven significant events in the Institute for promoting Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
1. The Nairobi Conference (18-22 January 1999):
The following paragraph from the NAROBI CONFERENCE DECLARATION gives a glimpse of the JPIC initiatives of the Institute: “The almost three centuries of Montfortian history is resplendent with a rare dynamism and courage in its ever-new responses to the call of the poor for a share in God’s creation. The creative genius of Gabriel Deshayes and his pioneering work among the sensorial handicapped, continues to inspire us. The missionary dynamism of Brothers in the early part of this century found new and varied expressions of Montfortian concern for the poor in different continents and cultures in a wide variety of ways. Boys Towns and boarding houses, schools and services, soup kitchens and shelters have been among these. In more recent times we have men who have taken extraordinary initiatives, creating new space and opening new doors for our response to Christ-poor and his struggle for justice of the Kingdom. The memory of Bro. Gabriel Foucher, who spent his life as an apostle among the refugees of Vietnam, and Bro. Emmanuel among the lepers of Khon Kaen (Thailand), are of Montfortian audacity of doing something great for God. Bro. C.M. Joseph in the north of India created a new paradigm of an incarnated life-style and spirituality among the poor, opening up the Montfortian mystery of incarnation into new horizons. It has inspired many new initiatives that have great potential for a revitalized Institute.”
2. The 29th General Chapter (2000):
The 29th GC oriented the mission of the Brothers towards a definitive commitment to creating a just and fraternal society. It once again reaffirmed our mission in education of the young and the poor, especially our “solidarity with all those struggling for justice”.
3. The Gabrielite Secretariat for Justice and Peace (GSJP):
In response to the call of the 29th GC, GSJP was created for coordinating and promoting JPIC initiatives in the congregation. Initially, it was in Rome with a full-time Executive Secretary. Now it is based in Dakar (Senegal) with a part-time Executive Secretary.
4. The Hyderabad Conference (22-25 February 2005):
The Hyderabad conference was focused on the Rights of the Child. It renewed our commitment to peace and justice in the world through a more definitive commitment to the Rights of the Child.
5. The 30th General Chapter (2006):
The 30th GC, in the process of redefining the vocation of religious brothers and clarifying their identity, invited the members of the Congregation to develop a genuine spirituality of communion and manifest prophetic and authentic signs of Brotherhood.
6. The Bangalore Conference (14-19 July 2008):
This conference recalled the orientations of the 29th and 30th General Chapters and evaluated its implementation in the Congregation. It reflected on the issue of Justice in the world and planned actions for the future. It stressed the need of integrating justice promotion programs and community building practices into the very fabric of our education mission.
7. The Montfort Social Institute (2009) & Asia-Pacific GSJP Secretariat:
In the year 2009, MSI was established at Hyderabad, to promote human rights and to respect, value and sustain the community of life through research, training and action. It is functioning under the authority of the National Council of India. Its Director was appointed as the Executive Secretary of the Asia-Pacific GSJP Secretariat in 2016.
8. The 31st General Chapter (2012):
The 31st GC defined the vocation to religious Brotherhood as an authentic call to witness to greater brotherhood in the world which includes working for justice, peace, equality, environmental care, sustainable development, promoting human rights and caring for the earth.
9. The JPIC Handbook (2013):
The JPIC Handbook published in 2013 is a valuable resource. It deals with the Biblical Foundations of JPIC, the Present situation of our world, Social Teachings of the Church, Montfortian foundations of JPIC and Historical journey of Montfortian Gabrielites.
10. The Brazzaville Conference (05 – 07 October 2015):
The objectives of this JPIC francophone conference were to integrate the JPIC values in the life and mission of Brothers and to promote ecological consciousness.
11. The 32nd General Chapter (2018):
The 32nd General Chapter, reflecting on the theme, Fraternal Living and the Communitarian Dimension of Montfortian Mission, asserted the necessity of possessing prophetic edge in our education mission, by embracing the marginalized, critiquing the dehumanizing elements of the dominant cultures and countering gender discrimination (Cf. 5.3).
The Institute has tried to read the signs of the times and has taken proactive steps to integrate the promotion of justice, peace and integrity of creation in the life and mission. It is envisaged that all its undertakings be marked by the flavour of the Gospel.