A passage written and read by JV Program staff during our Sending Forth Mass for the 2019-20 JVs, August 9, 2019.
We call this Mass the “Sending Forth Mass” as our final gathering. This week we have been preparing JVs to send them off to carry on the vision and values of JVC Northwest. Savoring the gifts of this week, we hope the JVs feel held and supported by the entire JVC Northwest community gathered here and all those supporting from a distance.
Each year, we send new members of our community- board members, staff, and JVs- with a symbol connecting them to our greater JVC Northwest community. Historically we have chosen the Jerusalem Cross, a symbol with deep roots to our origins and story. Additionally, known as the Crusaders Cross, this cross’s symbol also has a past with the Crusades, a series of religious wars that held the mission of spreading Christianity throughout the world, making Jerusalem the center of the world, by any means necessary. We acknowledge the pain and trauma that was caused by the Crusades, and seek to recognize the reverberations of that violence that can be felt throughout our country and world today. While our roots are in mission type work, our work and the work we ground ourselves in -our mission- is not about conquering, colonizing, or proselytizing others.
This year, we have chosen to send forth the newest members of our community with a circular pendant that have our four values of Community, Simple Living, Social and Ecological Justice, and Spirituality/Reflection firmly stamped into its center. We hope that you will carry these pendants with you and contemplate how to embody the core components of our mission in your everyday lives.
As we send forth each of you, we do so to “respond to local community needs in the Pacific Northwest by placing volunteers who provide value-centered service grounded in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Honoring the Divine, that which is greater than ourselves, at work in all things, we envision the Northwest as a sustainable region where all live in dignity, are treated justly, and actively contribute to their own empowerment and positive change in their communities. May our efforts help to decenter problematic narratives and re-center the experience of those within our broader community that experience marginalization and oppression.
May this circular pendant remind you that there is no beginning or end to these efforts- it is a lifelong journey of service, justice, and accompaniment. We honor the long history of service that JVC Northwest has had, and we strive to leverage our values to bring about greater equity to our community and world. Welcome to this journey.