JPIC News -- January 2015

On Christmas Day, my daughter, Nicole, was sporting a new sweater, a gift from her big brother. Although a little tight on her, it was the perfect thing for her for it read “This is a girl who still believes”.
This was so perfect because she is the one who plays Christmas songs on the radio beginning Halloween, decorates a 7 foot Christmas tree with hand painted glass ornaments, takes her mother to Longwood Gardens to see the lights, attends an Ugly Sweater Party each year and watches a host of Christmas favorites on TV and often sings along to the Grinch Who Stole Christmas as she knows all the words. Of course, she also remembers the religious significance and this is paramount; being with family is all she ever wants for Christmas. But my point is she, not Macys, does BELIEVE.

But so do I in a quieter way, for each January, ever since I drug my family to Peddlers’ Village a few years ago on the coldest, bleakest day in winter, and became enamored of paper whites. The Miracle Grow Website proclaims “Paperwhite Narcissus will grow happily and bloom with nothing more than water and stones or beach glass.

Fill a 3 to 4 inch deep bowl or shallow container without drainage holes with crushed rock, pebbles or decorative stones. Pack your Paperwhite bulbs into the container and push them down into the stones so the tips stay upright. “

And from experience, I know that you will see flowers well before the Philadelphia Flower Show, and hopefully this little exercise will get you through winter until Spring.

Believe. As JPIC coordinator, as a Secular Franciscan, I try hard to keep believing

  • That world peace could be a viable goal
  • That each baby born is a sign that God has not thrown up His Hands in despair over the human race
  • That people will write their Congressman at least one time in life
  • That our fraternities will get new vocations, people who want to do penance, experience interior conversion, change the way they think about things and people, incarnate the words of the Gospel in the spirit of St. Francis
  • That one day, the city of Camden will again be a great place to live
  • That one day, people of all ethnic groups and races will people our fraternities
  • That torture will go out of style
  • That people in authority will serve and protect all our citizens
  • That human traffickers will go out of business because people find other things to watch other than pornography
  • That families will eat dinner with each other and have enough to eat and will want to linger over their meals and talk to each other
  • That people will take the part about resting on the Sabbath seriously and they will take vacations, not just to work on laptops on the beach, but to play with their kids and neck with their spouses


  • That one person can make a difference.


Perhaps you have heard of the story of the boy who was observed throwing beach starfish back into the sea. When someone told him that his efforts were for naught for there were so many beached starfish , he replied that “ it was important to that one (starfish) “.

I do believe and am “ claiming it “, like a good Protestant would, that one day we will replenish our fraternities not only with mature pious people but also with enthused , wild and a little crazy, tattooed, ear ringed, long haired, faded jean , goofy, smart, idealistic, unrealistic, passionate , wannachange the world people who love God and want to learn about Francis.

And when they come, what will we say to them when they ask us “Well, what exactly do you do? At these meetings you all have, I know you pray and talk about Francis, but please tell me, what do you do? “

Anticipating all of this, I humbly ask that we start to do things in 2015 like we never did before. First off, there is a Mass for Human Trafficking on Sunday, February 8, 2015, at Noon at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Let’s go. Let’s car pool. No big deal. Don’t even think too hard about it. We don’t need to get a bus. Let’s just drive to Washington and sit together and pray together for our Immigrant church, made up of people who are poor and marginalized.

Later this year, maybe in July, let’s have a gathering to talk about JPIC. I can bring the sandwiches, you can bring the drinks, etc. easy …

Let’s get out of our comfort area. Invite people we meet to Come and See. Do a project with us.
Volunteer. Write letters to the Editor about the Assisted Suicide Bill in Jersey or Fracking in PA.

I have some ideas for speakers and kind of a theme maybe something like: What can one Person do?

Let’s help Kate Kleinert man the information table at the World Meeting of Families in Philly in September. Let’s talk up the Order and get excited about it.

We have kicked around some ideas about the young adults at the colleges. What will stop us JPIC people from getting together for a coffee house to watch a video and talk about a response to a movie? Perhaps we can sponsor a movie/coffee house in conjunction with the Campus Ministry, the Newman Centers. Maybe we can get some interest in having the young people plant Liberty Gardens in the inner city (who remembers that title ?) , clean the beaches, have a soup can drive on Super Bowl Sunday or download a poster to prevent Human Trafficking (from Franciscan Action Network today ) and put it in your local church on Super Bowl Sunday ? Let’s visit the colleges, let’s go to Theology on Tap and just listen to what the young people are saying. What do you say?

I recently visited a fraternity and was talking about doing JPIC and a woman said to me “Oh, aren’t we all supposed to be doing that? And there is such diversity in how we all do it. She was right on.

Kathy Agosto, OFS
JPIC Animator, One of Many

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