Meeting of the International Dominican Commission for Justice and Peace 2017

Group Picture of the Commission, Estavayer-le-Lac, Fribourg, Switzerland

The International Dominican Commission for Justice & Peace (IDCJP) met in Geneva and Estavayer-le-Lac in Switzerland September 28 – October 3. In the past three years, the Commission has been meeting annually to animate the work of justice and peace. This was the first meeting of the Commission to include the full complement of representatives of the Dominican Family. General Promoter and UN Delegate Mike Deeb and the outgoing DSI International Promoter Celestina Veloso Freitas planned and hosted the meeting.  Other members included the friar and sister Promoters of Justice and Peace of the five world regions, the DLC/DSI representative to the UN-New York, the DSI International Coordinator, the Socius for Apostolic Life, and representatives of the Nuns, Laity, and the International Dominican Youth Movement.

UN Human Rights Council in session

The gathering began at the United Nations in Geneva where members received formation about, and attended sessions of the Human Rights Council for two days. They heard discussion on resolutions regarding human rights violations in various countries, the conflicts in Burundi and Syria, the death penalty and the rights of women. While the discussions were rich, the members witnessed how national interests often override the common good.

The group traveled to the Dominican Monastery at Estavayer-le-Lac for the remainder of their time together. They focused on strengthening the work of the Commission and developing plans for collaboration and promotion of the justice and peace agenda, both internationally and regionally.

Members shared reports from their realities; from these and the UN experiences, they named global challenges. From these challenges, they moved to lift up priorities, look at barriers or threats embodied in challenges, what means we have to address issues, and what actions are needed and attainable.

Each region and group developed their own plan of action for the coming year. This included actions around animation, solidarity, communication, formation, and networking. Networking plans included using the Order’s “Atrium” platform which allows for persons to participate in Mission Forums, a way of preaching to promote the mission in various areas of ministry.

A common focus internationally is to promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The care of and advocacy for refugees and migrants and the struggle against human trafficking is another priority. In line with the Salamanca Process, there is a need for study and research on the issues such as “an ethic of life” and “the sovereignty of the state” that often legitimises impunity in the face of national injustices. An annual Dominican Month for Peace during every Advent has been instituted, and this year the whole Dominican Family is encouraged to pray especially for Colombia as it implements its Peace Accord. All were inspired by the growing interest of the Dominican youth in justice and peace especially as the 2018 Synod of Bishops on youth approaches.

A deep spirit of fellowship developed within the group through the common experience of the UN and of the 700-year-old monastery of our sisters. In all, everyone felt that the meeting had significantly strengthened their resolve and capacity to assist the Order to make justice and peace a constitutive dimension of our preaching.

Members of the International Dominican Commission for Justice and Peace:

  • Fr Mike Deeb – General Promoter Justice and Peace & UN Delegate
  • Sr Celestina Veloso Freitas – Outgoing DSI JPIC International Promoter
  • Sr Cecilia Espenilla – Incoming DSI JPIC International Promoter
  • Sr Margaret Mayce – DLC/DSI Representative to the UN – New York
  • Sr Marie Therese Clement – International Co-ordinator DSI
  • Fr Orlando Rueda Acevedo – Socius for Apostolic Life
  • Sr Pétronille Kayiba – DSA-JPIC Promoter for Africa
  • Fr Emmanuel Mulu – IAOP J&P Promoter for Africa
  • Sr Maria Luz P. Mission – DSI-JPCC Promoter for Asia-Pacific
  • Fr Gallardo Bombase – JPCC Promoter for Asia-Pacific Region
  • Fr Xabier Gomez – J&P Promoter for Europe
  • Sr Marcela Soto Ahumada – CODALC J&P Promoter for Latin America and Caribbean
  • Fr Miguel Ángel Gullón Pérez – CIDALC J&P Promoter for Latin America and Caribbean
  • Sr Marcelline Koch – J&P Promoter for North America
  • Fr Brendan Curran – J&P Promoter for North America
  • Duncan MacLaren – Representative of Lay Dominicans
  • Maria Teresa Tenti – Representative of Lay Dominicans
  • Sr Irene Diaz – Representative of Nuns
  • Dimitri Diaz Vidal – Representative of IDYM