We Comboni Missionaries are committed to a preferential option for the “poor and most powerless on Earth,” following the example of St. Daniel Comboni. This evangelical dimension is present in our Comboni “Rule of Life” that invites us to engage in the struggle for total human liberation while promoting the values of the Kingdom of God.
We seek to grow in our commitment, to name and examine the root causes of systemic structures of oppression in the economic, political, social, cultural and religious fields. We are challenged to build the culture of non-violence and of peace and to promote respect for and the defense of Human Rights and of Creation.
We long for a society in which no one remains excluded from education, work or access to basic goods; a society in which all can live securely, look towards the future with hope, share the natural environment and preserve the beauty and species of the animal and plant world for the generations to come. We long for a society where globalization serves the human person and the welfare of all humankind rather than aiming at profit alone.
The Office of JPIC
The Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office of the North American Province (NAP) was founded in 1993 in the Spirit of our Founder St. Daniel Comboni who passionately trumpeted causes for justice throughout his life. Today, the working principles of the office are outlined in our Guidelines, infused in our yearly Action Plan, and aligned with Catholic Social Teaching. The modern Catholic Social Teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents.
St. Daniel Comboni fought for the rights of people who were oppressed, enslaved, or otherwise marginalized in Central Africa where his missionary work first flourished. His vision for the Comboni Missionaries was international and multicultural in approach, a well-designed model of inclusion. He engaged women and lay people in mission, including the Comboni Missionary Sisters whom he also founded. Always adept at communicating his platforms and beliefs, he was equally effective in rallying people to take a necessary stand against injustice. Today Comboni Lay Missionaries and the Comboni Secular Institute are expressions of Comboni’s charism.
As a working department of the North American Province (NAP), the Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) seeks a closer collaboration with the members of the province, with the other Comboni provinces around the world, especially with those in “the Americas,” our “continental partners.” One of our main goals is to increase our participation at the United Nations through our memberships with VIVAT International and AFJN which give us a point of access.
We support and work closely with our primary partners, the Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) in Washington, D.C., Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network (AEFJN) in Brussels, and VIVAT International in New York City, as well as with other equivalent non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Fr. John Converset, mccj , office director, resides at St. Lucy Parish in Newark, NJ. This location has close proximity to the United Nations and VIVAT International in New York City. Fr. John routinely attends briefings and meetings at the U.N. that are open to ECOSOC members (such as VIVAT).
One of his goals is to work for a comprehensive and effective global Arms Trade Treaty in order to reduce violence and its devastating consequences that destroy the lives and dash the hopes of millions of people.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, he is active with local groups in the New Jersey/New York and Washington, D.C. areas where he also serves on the board of the Africa Faith & Justice Network.
He has had extensive missionary experience in South Africa. He has served in many corners of the North American Province and was the Provincial Superior for six years in the 1990s. He has always demonstrated a strong passion for justice and peace issues and in fact, as Provincial, laid the groundwork for this Office in 1993-1994.
Jean Paul (J.P.) Pezzi also resides and works out of St. Lucy Parish in Newark, NJ. Since his arrival from Rome in the Summer of 2010, he has been assimilating to North American culture. In conjunction with VIVAT International and international colleagues he is working to establish an NGO committee at the U.N. that focuses on Land Grabbing.
He was instrumental in transforming the Comboni Press Network newsletter into an online publication that is more international in scope and offered in four major languages. His newsletters and selected articles appear on his blog site, www.jpic-jp.org/en.php.
Fr. J.P.’s missionary experiences have been in DR-Congo, Ecuador, Burundi and his native Italy. Like Fr. John, he participates actively in VIVAT International and also keeps in close touch with the JPIC commission of the Union of Superiors General in Rome and with AEFJN in Brussels. He is the designated NAP representative for the World Social Forum/Comboni Social Forum IV that will take place in Tunis, Tunisia in March, 2013. He also took part in three previous WSFs. Both he and Fr. John attended the VIVAT International Meeting in Quito in the Fall of 2010, where they had a chance to meet the Comboni JPIC Coordinators in attendance.
Cindy Browne, manager of the JPIC Resource Center, helped establish the center at the Cincinnati provincial headquarters in 1996.
She is the editor of the monthly Comboni JPIC Network (CJN) Newsletter (in English) and The Calendar of JPIC events. She has written for Comboni Missions magazine on JPIC topics, and networks with a variety of organizations that support the JPIC agenda. These include national U.S. groups such as Africa Faith & Justice Network, Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, NETWORK, Bread for the World, Center of Concern, Africa Action, Washington Office on Latin America, Pax Christi USA, Enough Project, and Human Rights Watch. Local groups include Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center (IJPC) which the office supports as an Associate Member, the Sisters of Charity’s Congo Project, Greater Cincinnatians for Darfur and Bread for the World.
This team of three works closely with Comboni Missionary Sister Ilaria Buonriposi, cms, who is based at the Sisters’ house in Baltimore, MD. She frequently attends meetings at the U.N. where she represents VIVAT International. One of the important issues she has been following is human trafficking and she co-authored an earlier 2011 Statement on Trafficking. She and Fr. John are members of the U.N. NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons that fosters ongoing awareness of Trafficking in UN agencies and activities.