The Confraternity of the Passion met yesterday at 1:00 PM at Immaculate Conception Monastery in Jamaica, NY, for Mass and to reflect on the Passion of Jesus. The Confraternity began in 18th century Italy when a group of laypeople approached St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists, for help in participating in the liturgy and reaching out to the needy. They admired the spirituality of St. Paul and his community and wanted to share in it as people living in the world.
Confraternities have been part of the structure of the Catholic church for centuries; some center on growing in prayer, some have the goal of caring for the sick or the dying or teaching the young catechism. They may function in a parish but usually they function beyond parish structures. That characteristic makes the confraternity an interesting pastoral structure today when some don’t find their spiritual needs fully met in their own parishes and look for something more.
Our meeting yesterday began with Mass; I preached a homily on the gospel, an extended version of the homily you can find in our last blog. After Mass we spent time reflecting on the gospel and the Sunday readings together. The reflections from the group were filled with wisdom and insight. You can see what Jesus meant when he said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of you.”
The scriptures read in our liturgy day by day, week by week, and the feasts we celebrate are a sure way to hear God’s word. They nourish faith and provide food for our journey. I offer by email a monthly calendar of the readings for our group and others. If you’re interested, send me your email I’ll put you on our list. firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m becoming more aware of the centrality of the accounts of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus as we read the scriptures. They’re at the heart of the gospels, the first and the longest part; what we know of these mysteries casts light on the rest of the gospels and, in fact, all sacred history. They are a key to “the wisdom and power of God.”
And so we have the Confraternity of the Passion.