INTERVIEW: Fr. Ron Cioffi and his N.J. parish engage their social justice responsibilities

Interview with Rev. Ron Cioffi, long-time Pax Christi New Jersey member

SR. CAMILLE: You recently afforded me the pleasure of conducting a mission in your parish of St. Joseph in Keyport. It was apparent that your parishioners hold you in high regard and regret that your term as pastor is coming to an end.  What have you learned from them?

IMG_5360REV. CIOFFI: Each life situation (married, single or sexual minority person) brings with it both common and then specific sets of “issues.” Among the common elements: the stress of daily life, the well-known particular demands of marital relationships, the classic issues of parenthood, the issues that develop for the “care-giving generation,” volatile economic situations and the like. The preoccupations these life situations impose on individuals and personal relationships easily crowd out the time, energy, and atmosphere necessary for most people to develop deeply reflective life-styles with their consequent social benefits. Life is lived on the run for a significant number of people. Thus I have learned the necessity of developing pastoral patience and of letting parishioners take the lead in how a community ought to grow according to its inherent personality. How and to what extent can the Gospel’s good news — both comforting and demanding — best be made available to each particular community? How can we communicate, and sustain gospel values and faith and hope? These need to be each day’s intention. Perhaps the saying is worn out but its truth is that enduring, pastoral relationships bear fruit best and continuously when they are rooted in prayer, reflection, conversation and dialogue.

SR. CAMILLE: How long have you served there?

REV. CIOFFI: I came to St. Joe’s in the summer of 1981 and became pastor in 1989…

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