Letter from the Director
Welcome to our website!
I would venture to guess that if you are on this page, you are not here out of mere curiosity but you are someone interested in “going deeper”. Perhaps you are looking to do a retreat.
What can you expect attending a retreat with the Passionists at Holy Name Retreat Center?
Let me rephrase the question. What can you expect to hear from a Passionist at Holy Name Retreat Center or during a parish mission or in spiritual direction? The answer is in one sense “institutional” as it has to do with the Passionist Congregation as a whole. The answer is at the same time very personal as it engages the core of every Passionist’s heart.
From the institutional perspective, “the Church with her supreme authority approved our Congregation and its Rule, and entrusted us with a mission: to preach the Gospel of the Passion by our life and Apostolate.” (Const. 2) As a Congregation we are called to remain “determined to remain faithful to the patrimony and evangelical spirit of our Founder.” (Const. 2) Before our Founder, St. Paul of the Cross, received Papal approval to gather companions, he made a private vow in the Roman Basilica of St. Mary Major “to promote the memory of the Passion of Jesus Christ in the hearts of the faithful.” St. Paul of the Cross ardently desired that his brother Passionists would excite “in every place, to the utmost of their power, a love of piety and a grateful remembrance of and veneration for the passion and death of Christ our Lord.” (Rule Chap. III).
Why? Because the grateful memory of the Passion is the most effective remedy to the evils of the world! St. Paul was convinced that “The most efficacious means for the conversion of sinners and for the sanctification of souls is the frequent remembrance of the Passion of Jesus Christ, from the forgetfulness of which proceed deplorable evils and disorders.” As “there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9) chances are that the ‘deplorable evils and disorders’ that affected the society which St. Paul conversed with in the mid 1700’s are no different than what affects us today.
I have often commented that yes, as Passionists we could certainly preach on other topics but if we stray from the Passion we would be less effective, perhaps worse, we would be akin to ‘cymbals clashing’ and ‘gongs booming’ (cfr. 1Cor 13:1). The ultimate temptation and contradiction for any Passionist religious would be to dilute the word of the Cross. There are enough “enemies of the Cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18) out there, they don’t need our help! We remain friends of the cross only if we – in the words of the Passionist saint Vincent Strambi, – “contemplate attentively the image of the Crucified.” For St. Paul of the Cross, daily meditation on the Passion was the “shortest and safest way to union with God.”
Paul of the Cross was adamant that his brothers “teach people by word of mouth to meditate devoutly on the mysteries, sufferings, and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom, as from a fountain, proceedeth all good.” (Rule Chap. 1) Keeping alive the grateful memory of the Passion in ourselves as men and women consecrated to Christ Crucified (the personal dimension I mentioned above) – the fountain from which every good thing proceeds – and inviting others to drink from the same fountain is the patrimony we Passionists here at Holy Name Retreat Center try to remain faithful to. It is why we were brought into existence by the Holy Spirit. It is in Christ crucified that we Passionists “live and move and have our being” (cfr. Acts 17:8) For Paul of the Cross and his spiritual children of every time and every place, the Passion of Jesus is the “greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love.”
If you feel drawn to praying with the Passion of Jesus, here is a beautiful article “Remembering His Love: Meditation on the Passion”
If you would like an insight into how our contemplative cloistered Passionist Nuns embrace their call as ‘brides’ of the Crucified Christ, you will want to visit their web page at www.passionistnuns.org
May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts!
Fr. Joseph Barbieri, CP
Director of Retreats