International Meeting for Justice and Peace 2020
IDCJP MEETING 2020
The International Dominican Commission for Justice and Peace (IDCJP) held its annual meeting from 1-7 October. For the first time, this meeting was held online, because of the restrictions due to the pandemic. Fortunately, this was not a stopper for the commission to meet, evaluate and work on an action plan for 2021. For the fourth time, we were privileged to have the services of Patrizia Morgante as facilitator, Laurence Blattmer as Secretary, and fr Sixto Castro as interpreter.
This commission is comprised of the General Promoter of Justice and Peace and UN Delegate, fr. Mike Deeb; International Promoter for Justice and Peace – DSI, sister Cecilia Espenilla; sister Dusty Farnan, representative of the sisters’ Dominican Leadership Conference (DLC) at the UN in New York; sister Margaret Mayce, the Coordinator of DSI; Regional J&P Promoters per continent: fr Victor Calvo and sister Teresa Dagdag for Asia Pacific; fr Xabier Gómez and sister Marie Monnet for Europe; fr Emmanuel Mulu and sister Mary Tuck for Africa; fr Ricardo Guardado and sister Marcela Soto for Latin American and Caribbean; fr Brendan Curran and sister Reg McKillip for North America; sister Irene Diaz representing the nuns; Duncan MacLaren and Teresita Tenti for the laity; Mónica Marco for IDYM. Fr Aniedi Okure, who will shortly replace fr Mike, also attended.
At the beginning of our meeting we had the opportunity to share with the Master of the Order, fr Gerard Timoner OP, and sister Margaret Mayce on new directions in the Order and the impact of COVID-19.
Each of the members shared the highlights of their work for the past year, focusing especially on the globally reality and how it is affecting our current work, and their perspectives on how to build back better after Covid. Even when realities are not the same, we found several common points like the necessity of formation in justice and peace for promoters within every region, the benefits of collaboration and communication as Dominican Family, and the importance of building bridges with Dominican youth to be active in the J&P mission.
During the meeting, for the first time, we had the opportunity to meet and share with the teams representing the Order at the three offices of the United Nations in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi through our NGO, Dominicans for Justice and Peace. By getting to know more about their work and evaluating how our network can have greater visibility and impact in the defense of human rights in the UN, the possibility of a deeper collaboration emerged between the commission, the delegation and the sisters’ NGO, DLC, in New York.
An important point that came out several times during our meeting was the need to maintain and improve communication, “squeezing” all possible means, including our entity’s online spaces. And to do it in a very wide perspective: among us in the commission, with regional and national justice and peace structures, within the Dominican Family…. In short, to make the most of all the possibilities, we have to speak up for justice and peace with one voice.
As usual, we had a specific space within the meeting to have branch meetings: sisters together; friars together, joined for the first time by six regional socii of the Master of the Order; and laity, youth and nuns together, joined by the General Promoters for the Laity and the Nuns, also for the first time. These enabled a rich sharing of particular issues and the possibility of integrating action plans for 2021.
Last but not least, we spoke about how to help Dominicans to better promote the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals); how to deepen the Salamanca Process by seeking theological responses to the key issues facing people in our regions and sharing these with the working group mandated by the last General Chapter; how to ensure training of congregational and provincial promoters; and finally we took a step forward by finalizing – after four years – our document on A Spirituality of Justice and Peace, which necessarily links our mission of preaching to the fight for justice, peace and integrity of creation. Without doubt we can say it was a very fruitful meeting and that the work of the commission is moving forward.
Finally, we took some time to thank and say goodbye to both fr Mike and sister Cecilia, since their mandates come to an end; and warmly welcomed fr Aniedi as well as sisters Margaret and Dusty who will take over as DSI-JPIC International Promoters until someone else is found.
Mónica Marco, Mike Deeb, Cecilia Espenilla
Santa Sabina, 14/Oct/2020