The Passionists are a group of Christian men, both ordained and non-ordained, who live in community and announce to the people of our times the Gospel of Christ. This community of apostles was founded by St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775).
The founder saw in the Passion of Jesus “the greatest work of divine Love” and the revelation of the power of the Resurrection to overcome the forces of evil. He bequeathed to his followers the task of announcing to their contemporaries the love of God for each and every person shown in the passion and death of Jesus who rose victorious on Easter day.
The Passionists make a special promise to promote the Memory of the Passion of Jesus by word and deed. They do this especially in preaching and in various ministries among the poor and the marginalised of every kind in whom they see the Crucified today.
Another characteristic of the Passionists is their life in community. Passionist fraternity means that everything is held in common. Time is given to community prayer and to the contemplative dimension of life. Passionists are active contemplatives who, in a creative way, unite contemplation and an active pastoral life.
There are more than two thousand Passionists in 52 nations in the five continents. They are led by the superior general who is elected every six years. He is assisted in the government of the congregation by 6 Consultors from the various geographic regions. The present superior general is Father Joachim Rego CP from Burma (Myanmar).
The official name of the institute is “The Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.” The superior general resides at the Retreat of Sts. John and Paul in Rome.
There are also Passionist Contemplative Nuns and various groups of Religious Sisters and Lay Organisations affiliated to the Passionists who share the Charism of St. Paul of the Cross.
Saint Paul of the Cross lived all his life in Italy, but he always had a special interest in “England and the neighbouring kingdoms” and he prayed continuously for these lands. His desire to see his community established there came to pass in 1841 when Father (now Blessed) Dominic Barberi established a Passionist community at Stone in Staffordshire.