Tag Archives: Pax Christi Texas

REFLECTION: Dominique – lessons in forgiveness

dave-atwoodby David Atwood, Pax Christi Texas and Founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

If I ever had a doubt about my work to abolish the death penalty, that doubt came to a crashing halt when the State of Texas executed Dominique Green, a young African-American man from Houston, on October 26, 2004.

I had been visiting Dominique on Texas Death Row for many years. When I first visited him, he was an angry young man – angry at his mother and father, angry at society, and angry at the criminal justice system that sent him to death row. But over the years, I saw him change. He forgave his mother who had abused him as a child and caused him to leave home and live on the streets of Houston. He forgave the gang members who had pointed to him as the person who had pulled the trigger that sent Andrew Lastrape to his grave during a robbery in Houston. He forgave everyone in his life whom he felt had failed him in some way.

Dominique Green

Dominique Green

Dominique became educated and grew to be a man in prison. In addition to myself, several people from Italy, including several members of the Sant’ Egidio Community in Rome, visited and wrote him on a regular basis. His interest in forgiveness came in part from reading Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s book No Future Without Forgiveness. He wanted to meet Tutu and this was made possible by well-known author, Thomas Cahill, who knew the Archbishop. After Tutu visited Dominique on death row, he spoke to the press and stated that Dominique was a “wonderful advertisement for God….I was very humbled to be in his presence because I felt to be in the presence of God…(Dominique) is not the monster that many would expect or think, but a human being, a human being that has grown…He’s like a flower opening and you see the petals coming up, particularly when he is speaking about his concern for others…He is a remarkable young man and it would be the greatest of tragedies if someone like Dominique was executed.”

Dominique not only forgave the people who had hurt him, he also taught other prisoners on death row that they should forgive the people who had hurt them. This extraordinary transformation caused Thomas Cahill to write a book about Dominique that he titled A Saint on Death Row .

As Dominique’s execution approached, his appeals attorney, Sheila Murphy of Chicago, asked if I could locate the family of Andrew Lastrape in Houston and ask them if they wanted Dominique to be executed. When I located the family, Bernatte Lastrape and her two sons Andre and Andrew, they all gave a resounding “no” to the question of the execution. They wanted to give Dominique a second chance at life. Bernatte actually wrote to Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and asked them to spare Dominique’s life. Bernatte wrote, “All of us have forgiven Dominique for what happened and we want to give him another chance at life. Everyone deserves another chance.” Perry and the Board refused to do so, showing the hard-heartedness of the politicized Texas criminal justice system. As the execution date got closer, Andre and Andrew traveled to death row with me to meet and reconcile with Dominique. It was a most extraordinary experience. When Andre came out of prison, he said, “Texas is going to put a righteous person to die like an animal, putting him on a table, strapping him up, putting those needles in his arms, putting him to sleep. We’re not dogs. We’re human beings just anybody else. He’s a human being just like me, just like you.”

Andre and Andrew also attended the vigil outside the execution chamber at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas, to protest Dominique’s execution. I was inside the prison attending the execution of a man who had transformed his life and had a lot of wisdom to share with society. It was very painful experience to see Dominique die before my very eyes. Before the execution, Dominique made me promise that I would fight against the death penalty until it was abolished. His last words to his friends as he lay on the execution guerney were, “Thank you for your love and support…I have overcome a lot…I am not angry but disappointed that I was denied justice….But I am happy that I afforded you all as family and friends…..You all have been there for me…It’s a miracle…I love you…Thanks for allowing me to touch so many hearts….I never thought I could do it. “

After the execution, we held a funeral for Dominique in Houston. Then my wife and I took his remains to Italy. The Community of Sant’ Egidio built a monument to his memory in Rome.

Guilty or Not?

Dominique was one of four boys who robbed Andrew Lastrape in Houston in October of 1992. He was the youngest of the four boys and the three older boys pointed the finger at him as the person who shot Lastrape during the robbery. Dominique always maintained that he was not the shooter. What I found most distrurbing about the legal proceedings was that Dominique was the only one to get the death penalty. Two of the other African-American boys in the gang got prison sentences and the one white boy in the gang did not go to prison at all although he was involved in the robbery. It appeared to me that Dominique’s legal representation had been very poor and he had been railroaded to death row.

Lessons Learned

Through my years visiting Dominique and other men on death row, I have learned many things about how the death penalty is applied in Texas. First of all, our criminal justice system is imperfect. Several innnocent people have been sentenced to death. Many factors enter into whether someone is sentenced to death or not, including the quality of the legal defense, the race of the offender and the victim, and where the crime takes place. Poor people are at a great disadvantage when it comes to avoiding capital punishment in Texas because they simply do not have the funds to hire the best defense attorneys. The death penalty is truly “arbitrary and capricious” despite attempts to improve the criminal justice system.

Second, I learned that rehabilitation in prison often occurs, but means nothing to the politicians who run the system. Mercy and clemency are almost unknown qualities in Texas. Dominique was a prime example of this, but several other rehabilitated people such as James Allridge have been executed in Texas.

Third, many families of victims do not want the death penalty for someone convicted of capital murder. The Lastrape Family is a wonderful example, but there are many people like them. They know that an execution will not bring back their loved one nor bring them the healing that they desperately want and need.

Fourth, the death penalty does not deter others from committing violent crime. I have been told this by several death row prisoners and professional studies have shown this to be true. However, what might reduce violent crime in society are more effective crime prevention measures. Many people on death row were horribly abused and neglected as children and many have untreated mental disabilities. The millions of dollars wasted on the death penalty could be better used to actually prevent violent crime as well as help the victims of crime.

A Higher Road

Although Dominique Green was involved in a crime where an innocent man was murdered, his transformation in prison has a lot to offer society. His ability to forgive, and the ability of the Lastrape family to forgive, are excellent models for society. Just because someone kills, we as a society don’t have to kill in return, and we should not. We can choose a more enlightened response, a higher road, that involves forgiveness, rehabilitation and the wise use of taxpayers’ dollars.

Dominique’s Legacy Lives On

Many people would be surprised that a death row prisoner, one that had been executed, would leave a legacy. But Dominique Green definitely has left one. He taught many people, including other death row prisoners, the importance of forgiveness. He showed people that prisoners, even those on death row, can change and contribute to society. And he motivated me to continue the fight against the death penalty until it is finally abolished. Without his example, I may have given up trying to abolish the death penalty in Texas for it is, indeed, difficult work. But in Dominique’s memory, I will never give up.

ON THE LINE: March 2014 edition includes groups trying to repeal the death penalty, raise the minimum wage, stop deportations!

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PAX CHRISTI SOUTH DAKOTA MEMBERS WORK FOR REPEAL OF DEATH PENALTY: (from Leona Weiland) As the South Dakota House State Affairs committee met to discuss the death penalty, PC South Dakota members worked on the repeal effort, including circulating this letter to their elected officials: On behalf of five chapters of Pax Christi in South Dakota, we follow Pax Christi USA in stating that we follow the non-violent Jesus. The international Catholic peace movement, from the Latin for “peace of Christ,” began after WWII. We focus on issues central to Gospel values of life, love, truth and justice. In our prayer, study and actions, we respect the gift of life given by God who teaches that all life is sacred, from beginning to natural death. Following the example of Jesus in the Gospels, we commit ourselves to God’s way of caring with compassion, forgiveness, mercy and love. Please note our attached Statement for Repeal of the Death Penalty in our state and the many who have signed in support of it.

PCSD

PC South Dakota members at the Capitol, taken the morning before the Committee Meeting for the Repeal of the Death Penalty. (photo courtesy of Leona Weiland)

PC-NEW JERSEY LEADS IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ACTIONS ON ASH WEDNESDAY: (from NorthJersey.com) With Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as their backdrop, dozens gathered at Liberty State Park on Wednesday to kickoff a series of vigils, protests and rallies across New Jersey designed to urge the United States government to halt detentions and deportations of immigrants who live illegally in the country.  The events, organized by the Catholic organization Pax Christi New Jersey and scheduled to coincide with Ash Wednesday, came a day after President Obama presented a proposed budget that would set aside additional funds for immigration enforcement. With the 2 millionth deportation looming under the Obama administration, and after Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives said they will likely not bring immigration reform to a vote this year, advocates acknowledged they face an uphill battle… Read more at http://www.northjersey.com/news/Immigrant_groups_rally_at_liberty_state_park_against_deportations.html

Pax Christi New Jersey members protesting deportations. (photo courtesy of NorthJersey.com)

PC New Jersey members protesting deportations. (photo from NorthJersey.com)

Sr. Karen Nykiel OSB

Sr. Karen Nykiel, OSB of PC Illinois (photo by Tom Cordaro)

PC ILLINOIS MEMBER MODERATES PRESS CONFERENCE FOR RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE: (by Tom Cordaro) On March 6th, prior to International Women’s Day, seven women religious leaders from Chicago and the Western Suburbs gathered in Naperville, Illinois to call for an increase in the minimum wage. The event was held in conjunction with press events around the country organized by Interfaith Worker Justice – a leader in the fight for economic and worker justice in the U.S. since 1996. Moderating the event was Sr. Karen Nykiel, OSB, a member of Pax Christi Illinois, a chapter of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement. Sr. Karen set the context of the event stating, “We are focusing on women at this event because more than 64%– almost two-thirds — of minimum wage workers are women.”… Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/03/12/regional-event-women-of-faith-call-for-raising-the-minimum-wage/

PC FLORIDA JOINS CLEAN WATER EFFORT: (by Carol Ann Breyer) Citizens  and environmental  activists from around Florida gathered on the steps of the historic Old Capitol in Tallahassee on February 18 to demand legislative action to protect and restore Florida’s  endangered  springs, rivers, and bays. About 200 people attended the gathering for “Florida’s Clean Water Declaration” campaign that was launched last year after toxic algae blooms appeared in the Indian River Lagoon… Six Pax Christi Florida members and supporters from South Central and Southwest Florida were present at the event. Karen Dwyer spoke emphatically about the drilling threat in the Naples area which has been challenged by Pax Christi members. In 2013, Pax Christi participated in the effort to secure signatures for a proposed Constitutional Amendment on Water and Land Conservation that would dedicate finds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.

PCF Council Members, Carol Ann and Lee Breyer (right of podium) at Clean Water Rally at Florida State Capitol. (photo courtesy of PCF).

PCF Council Members, Carol Ann and Lee Breyer (right of podium) at Clean Water Rally at Florida State Capitol. (photo courtesy of PCF).

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

March 5-15 – Coalition of Immokalee Workers “Now is the Time” tour, http://ciw-online.org/blog/2014/01/time-is-now-schedule/

March 14-16 – Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space conference in Santa Barbara, CA, http://www.space4peace.org/actions/gnconf_2014.htm

March 21-24 – Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. Theme is “Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace” with John Dear, http://advocacydays.org/

March 22 – PC Southern California regional assembly, “A Call to Nonviolence: One Year with Pope Francis,” with keynote speaker Ted Smolich, S.J., at Loyola Marymount University, http://www3.paxchristisocal.org/

March 24 – Archbishop Romero assassinated, 1980

March 27 – Vanderhaar Symposium with Malik Yakini in Memphis, TN, http://www.gvanderhaar.org

March 28-29 – Friends of Sabeel North America Conference in Philadelphia, http://www.fosna.org/content/philadelphia-conference-march-28-29-2014

March 29 – PC Michigan State Conference, “Christian Nonviolence: The Great Failure, the Only Hope,” with Fr. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy; at Cristo Rey Parish, Lansing, MI, http://www.paxchristimi.org/#!pcm-2014-annual-conference/c6oh

March 29-30 – PC Florida Annual Retreat, “Nonviolent Resistance” with Jim Douglass, at Dayspring Episcopal Conference Center in Ellenton, FL; http://paxchristiflorida.org/events/

March 30 – PC-New Jersey is co-hosting “Remembering Archbishop Romero” from 2-5pm, at Saint Peter’s University; contact psantoro@saintpeters.edu for more information

March 31 – Cesar Chavez Birthday

April 5-6 – Pax Christi Texas State Conference, “Christian Peacemaker Teams: Peacemaking in Palestine,” followed on the 6th by the regional dialogue at the Dominican Center for Spirituality in Houston, http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/regional-dialogues-2012-13/

April 14-18 – Holy Week Pilgrimage with the Norfolk Catholic Worker and Hampton Roads Pax Christi that will stop at 14 area military bases in the Hampton Roads, VA area, the most militarized place on the planet; contact Steve at williamsbaggarly@gmail.com for more info

May 3 – Regional Dialogue with Pax Christi Metro D.C.-Baltimore, http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/regional-dialogues-2012-13/

Quicklinks:

In tribute to Marie Parmly, long-time Pax Christi USA member who lives in Florida and is celebrating her 90th birthday this year, her friends have set up a special fund in her name, “Tribute to Marie Parmly.” To give to this special fund, go to PCUSA’s “Donate” page and scroll down … In February, PC Los Angeles, PC Orange County, and PC Southern California co-sponsored with Holy Family Parish in South Pasadena a book signing event with John Dear to help launch his new book … Plowshares activist Joe Gump passed away earlier this week. Read the archived article in the Chicago Tribune to learn more about Joe’s actions in the 1980’s. Pax Christi USA gives thanks for Joe’s life and witness! … Support the #LetUsThrough Thunderclap on March 18  in response to the Syrian refugee crisis … John Dear’s father passed away in late February. You can see the obituary here … Check out Pax Christi International’s new blogPax Christi USA’s founding bishop-president, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, was featured in a column in The Toledo Blade recently … If you have high schoolers, you may be interested that PCUSA member Ellen Finnigan will be teaching a course this summer through Kolbe Academy called “The Hunger Games and Christian nonviolence” … The Coalition of Immokalee Workers are touring through some Pax Christi-rich states over the next few days. Check out the tour info and join them if you can … Pax Christi International’s March 2014 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Fall 2013 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: February 2014 edition includes campaign against gun violence, NCR interview, Vow of Nonviolence, and more

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PC LONG ISLAND (NY) INITIATES CAMPAIGN AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE: (by Sr. Rosalie Carven) After the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, some members of Pax Christi Long Island met to consider how to respond to the prevalence of gun deaths, not only recurring mass shootings but also the 30 gun deaths that happen each day in our nation—homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. The nonviolent ethic of Pax Christi conditioned us to embrace a particular perspective on this tragedy: not to react in the belief that individuals and communities find personal and public security at the end of gun barrel. So a small committee of the Pax Christi Long Island council began a campaign to educate and encourage communities on Long Island to seek sensible gun regulations. The InSight Campaign to End Gun Violence was born… Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/02/12/regional-news-pax-christi-long-island-initiates-insight-campaign-to-end-gun-violence/

PC-LI's December 8 interfaith service at St. Martha’s Parish in Uniondale. It was arranged  to commemorate the 20th anniversary of a lone gunman’s rampage on the Long Island Rail Road, in which six people died, and the first anniversary of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which took the lives of 20 children and six staff members. The speaker is Det. Steven McDonald of the New York Police Department. While McDonald was on patrol in New York’s Central Park in 1986, a 15-year-old boy shot him and left him paralyzed. He has since become an eloquent advocate of forgiveness.

Det. Steven McDonald of the NY Police Department, shot in Central Park in 1986 by a 15-year-old boy, speaks on forgiveness at PC-LI’s interfaith service at St. Martha’s Parish in Uniondale. The service commemorated the 20th anniversary of a gunman’s rampage on the Long Island Rail Road, in which six people died, and the first anniversary of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct.

PC SEATTLE MEMBERS TAKE VOW OF NONVIOLENCE WITH ARCHBISHOP: (from Louise McDonald, CSJ) On Friday, January 17, 2014, twelve members of Pax Christi USA from the Seattle area made a Vow of Nonviolence at the 5:30 PM Liturgy at St. James Cathedral. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who presided, welcomed the group to commit themselves to the journey of peacemaking through the nonviolence of Jesus. The group made their vow while holding lighted candles symbolizing Christ as the Light of the World. Pax Christi Central Seattle members had prepared for this step by making a day-long retreat last fall led by Sr. Kathleen Pruitt, CSJP, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace. Deacon Dennis Duffell stated “it was fitting that we members of Pax Christi were able to profess a Vow of Nonviolence on the weekend honoring the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of nonviolence.”  Eugene Underwood, the Coordinator of the Pax Christi Pacific Northwest Region remarked that “we were pleased that Archbishop Sartain was able to preside and Fr. Michael G. Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral, to concelebrate. That made the event very meaningful.” And Emily E.B. Meyer, co-coordinator of Pax Christi Central Seattle reflected that “it was a peace-filled evening standing together in the candlelight, strengthening each other for a year of active peacemaking.” Read more at http://www.stjames-cathedral.org/Events/2014/album-paxchristi.aspx

Members of Pax Christi in Seattle take the Vow of Nonviolence with Archbishop Sartain on MLK Day. (Photo by Maria Laughlin)

Members of Pax Christi in Seattle take the Vow of Nonviolence with Archbishop Sartain on MLK Day. (Photo by Maria Laughlin)

Mary and Nick Eoloff

Mary and Nick Eoloff

PC MINNESOTA MEMBER FEATURED IN NCR FOR HER WORK FOR PEACE: (from National Catholic Reporter) The interview below was conducted by Sr. Camille D’Arienzo for her “Conversations with Sr. Camille” feature on the National Catholic Reporter’s website. This interview is with Mary Eoloff, a long-time member of Pax Christi USA living in St. Paul, MN. Q: Can you recall an event or situation that gave direction to your life? A: I believe three events were life-changing for me. My senior English teacher, Sister Marion, insisted I go to college (a first in my family), and I graduated from the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University). The second event was the Second Vatican Council, which changed me forever. It gave me permission to think for myself. Before the council, I had been a very obedient member of a rules-oriented church. The third event was President Jimmy Carter’s reinstatement of the draft in 1980… Read the entire interview at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/02/05/interview-advocate-for-peace-feels-the-spirit-in-every-breath/

PC METRO NEW YORK PARTICIPATES IN PANEL ON THE LEGACY OF MANDELA: (by Rosemarie Pace) I never know what I’m going to hear when I pick up the phone or check messages at Pax Christi Metro New York. This time it was a man named Gordon Tapper from the United Nations asking to have someone from Pax Christi speak at an Interfaith Harmony Forum at the UN on Friday, February 7th. He wanted a representative of Pax Christi to address the Christian perspective on the theme of “Tolerance, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation in recognition of Nelson Mandela”. Immediately, I thought this is something someone from the Pax Christi International NGO Team should do. Surely one of them would be more appropriate and articulate than I on the topic and in that setting. At first, one of the members of the NGO Team agreed to take on the challenge, though she admitted she wasn’t comfortable with public speaking and thought I was the more appropriate person to present. I still hesitated until I learned more about the request. Ultimately, I agreed to accept the invitation. I thought it would be a good experience for me and a good opportunity for Pax Christi… Read more at http://www.nypaxchristi.org/KeruxLive.html

PCUSA NATIONAL COUNCIL MEETING NOTES: (from Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, PCUSA Executive Director, and Sr. Josie Chrosniak, HM, PCUSA National Council Chair) On the weekend of January 23rd-26th, the Pax Christi USA National Council met for its bi-annual gathering at the PCUSA National Office in Washington, D.C. Ten members of the Council, along with the staff, were present. The following includes glimpses of actions taken by the National Council… To read more, go to http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/02/10/news-report-to-membership-from-the-january-2014-national-council-meeting/

Members of the council and staff, with two regional representatives and two members of PCART, at the planning day with Crossroads.

Members of the council and staff, with two regional representatives and two members of PCART, at the planning day with Crossroads.

PAX CHRISTI USA ENDORSES THE CAMPAIGN NONVIOLENCE: (from Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN) Pax Christi USA has endorsed Campaign Nonviolence that is being circulated through Pace e Bene. This campaign is certainly in keeping with PCUSA’s spirituality of nonviolence and peacemaking along with our other initiatives. The more our organizations can assist in connecting the dots between poverty, militarism, racism and the environment, the better off our world will be. I call your attention to the Pace e Bene website where you will find a wealth of information along with concrete actions to support the Campaign… Read more and consider becoming a promoter with the Campaign: http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/02/03/nonviolence-pax-christi-usa-endorses-the-campaign-nonviolence/

PC MEMPHIS PARTICIPATES IN DAY OF DISCERNMENT: (from PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Janice Vanderhaar) In order for Pax Christi Memphis to remain relevant and effective in our work for a nonviolent and just world, we engaged in a daylong process entitled “Honoring the Past, Welcoming the Future,” led by Mary Jo Greil, President of the Carson Greil Group and organizational change consultant.  Our purpose was to revitalize our mission and create a path for our future. The day was exhilarating, energizing, spirit-filled and enlightening.

Pax Christi Memphis participates in a day of discernment for their group.

Pax Christi Memphis participates in a day of discernment for their group.

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

February 28-March 2 – PC Metro New York’s Annual Retreat with Sr. Kathleen Deignan, CND at the St. Joseph’s Renewal Center in Brentwood, Long Island; http://www.nypaxchristi.org/events.html

March 1 – PCUSA National Council election nominations due, http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/01/14/national-council-nominations-now-being-sought-for-pax-christi-usa-national-council-elections-4/

March 5 – Ash Wednesday

March 5 – Ash Wednesday leafleting with PC Metro New York from 12-1pm at St. Patrick’s Cathedral; http://www.nypaxchristi.org/events.html

March 5-15 – Coalition of Immokalee Workers “Now is the Time” tour, http://ciw-online.org/blog/2014/01/time-is-now-schedule/

March 9 – PC New Jersey will be cosponsoring an event with author and educator Paul K. Chappell, in Stirling, NJ; email cbush@stshrine.org for more info

March 14-16 – Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space conference in Santa Barbara, CA, http://www.space4peace.org/actions/gnconf_2014.htm

March 21-24 – Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. Theme is “Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace” with John Dear, http://advocacydays.org/

March 22 – PC Southern California regional assembly, “A Call to Nonviolence: One Year with Pope Francis,” with keynote speaker Ted Smolich, S.J., at Loyola Marymount University, http://www3.paxchristisocal.org/

March 24 – Archbishop Romero assassinated, 1980

March 28-29 – Friends of Sabeel North America Conference in Philadelphia, http://www.fosna.org/content/philadelphia-conference-march-28-29-2014

March 29 – PC Michigan State Conference, “Christian Nonviolence: The Great Failure, the Only Hope,” with Fr. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy; at Cristo Rey Parish, Lansing, MI, http://www.paxchristimi.org/#!pcm-2014-annual-conference/c6oh

March 29-30 – PC Florida Annual Retreat, “Nonviolent Resistance” with Jim Douglass, at Dayspring Episcopal Conference Center in Ellenton, FL; http://paxchristiflorida.org/events/

March 31 – Cesar Chavez Birthday

April 5-6 – Pax Christi Texas State Conference, “Christian Peacemaker Teams: Peacemaking in Palestine,” followed on the 6th by the regional dialogue at the Dominican Center for Spirituality in Houston, http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/regional-dialogues-2012-13/

April 14-18 – Holy Week Pilgrimage with the Norfolk Catholic Worker and Hampton Roads Pax Christi that will stop at 14 area military bases in the Hampton Roads, VA area, the most militarized place on the planet; contact Steve at williamsbaggarly@gmail.com for more info

May 3 – Regional Dialogue with Pax Christi Metro D.C.-Baltimore, http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/regional-dialogues-2012-13/

Quicklinks:

Dr. Arland Jacobson spoke recently on the topic of “Humiliation as a Source of Conflict” to the Fargo-Moorhead (ND) Pax Christi group and guests. His presentation was based on his article “The Role of Humiliation in International Conflict,” published in the fall issue of the Northern Plains Ethics Journal … Pax Christi USA will be moving to a new location in Washington, D.C. beginning March 1 … PC Indianapolis member Fran Quigley wrote this excellent article on efforts regarding immigration reform in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and other local congregations … PC members in Amarillo (TX) recently hosted “The Soldier and the Refusenik: Two Israelis. Two Choices. One Conclusion”. They highly recommend other PC groups consider hosting this extraordinary presentation …  PC Richmond (VA) hosted a special World Day of Peace Mass on New Year’s Eve which included a special remembrance of Bishop Walter Sullivan … PC El Paso (TX) recently hosted the film “Brother Outsider” on civil rights activist Bayard Rustin … A new e-booklet for small group discussion on Pacem in Terris’ 50th anniversary is available as a free download from the PCUSA website … PC Minnesota member Steve Clemens contributed this article to the Twin Cities Daily Planet on the frac sand trial in which he was a defendant … PC St. Jude (GA) participated in the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s Justice and Peace Expo earlier this month … Pax Christi Metro New York wrote a moving reflection on Pete Seeger following his death last month … There will be a “gathering of hope” on Feb. 17 in Knoxville for the Transform Now Plowshares. The sentencing phase of their trial is set for Feb. 18 … Pax Christi International’s February 2014 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Fall 2013 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: January 2014 edition highlights local group and regional events

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PC MICHIGAN HOSTS RETREAT FOCUSING ON WATER: (by Carol Jachim) As Pax Christi people we stand for peace and nonviolence. Simplistically, against war and weapons. Yet, there are different levels of violence, besides the use and manufacture of guns and other weapons to denounce, that perhaps one hasn’t thought about. Pollution is one form of violence and the damage it does to our earth’s waters – lakes, oceans, streams, rivers, etc., besides the water used for drinking, bathing and  recreation. The 19th Annual Pax Christi Michigan Retreat focused on refreshing oneself … and that we did with the presence of wonderful people who truly care about each other, about promoting peace and nonviolence, and demonstrating a commitment to nonviolent ways in our lives… Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/01/10/regional-event-pc-michigans-fall-2013-retreat-water-as-a-source-of-life/

PC Michigan members gather for their annual retreat this past fall.

PC Michigan members gather for their annual retreat this past fall.

SUPPORT THE TRANSFORM NOW PLOWSHARES: (from John Amidon) You can make a huge difference in the lives of three innocent people by signing a petition. Sr. Megan Rice, Michael Walli (PC Metro DC-Baltimore’s Peacemaker of the Year) and Greg Boertje-Obed are facing up to 30 years in prison  for a nonviolent protest of  Y-12, a nuclear facility in Oak Ridge TN. They were working to rid the world of nuclear weapons, something we must do if we want our children to have a future. If you oppose nuclear weapons and if you dislike the idea of innocent people in prison please sign this petition. Sign the petition before the January 28th sentencing date at http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/index?action_KEY=9007&start=25

Police seek to remove a protester at the Elizabeth (NJ) Detention Center. Protesters, including Diana Mejia--who was arrested for civil disobedience--and other PC New Jersey members, were advocating for the rights of immigrants

Police seek to remove a protester at the Elizabeth (NJ) Detention Center. Protesters, including Diana Mejia–who was arrested for civil disobedience–and other PC New Jersey members, were advocating for the rights of immigrants.

PAX CHRISTI IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS? ONLY IN NEW YORK! (by Rosemarie Pace) It started with a phone call. Maureen Blaine, Principal of St. Leo’s Elementary School in Corona, Queens, had a question:  Was it possible to have a Pax Christi group in an elementary school? I told her honestly that I didn’t know of any, but I certainly loved the idea. With my own professional background in elementary education, I firmly believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote: “If we are ever to have real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children.” Maureen agrees. She has the same quote posted in her office. Thus began Pax Christi at St. Leo’s Elementary School… To read this whole article in the Winter 2014 edition of Kerux, go to http://www.nypaxchristi.org/Documents/KeruxWinter2014.pdf

NOMINATIONS FOR PCUSA NATIONAL COUNCIL BEING SOUGHT: Pax Christi USA has begun the nominating procedures for this year’s National Council elections. If you would like to nominate someone as a candidate for the election to Pax Christi USA’s National Council, you can download and fill out the form located on the website. Forms must be postmarked by March 1, 2014. For more info, go to http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/01/14/national-council-nominations-now-being-sought-for-pax-christi-usa-national-council-elections-4/

PCUSA AMBASSADOR OF PEACE JOHN DEAR LEAVES THE JESUITS: (from the Santa Fe New Mexican) John Dear, a peace activist and Jesuit priest who led peaceful protests at Los Alamos commemorating the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, for many years and served as pastor at a number of Northern New Mexico parishes in the early 2000s, was dismissed from the religious order last month for being “obstinately disobedient.” In his National Catholic Reporter column, posted to his website Tuesday, Dear wrote, “This week, with a heavy heart, I am officially leaving the Jesuits after 32 years. After three years of discernment, I’m leaving because the Society of Jesus in the U.S. has changed so much since I entered in 1982 and because my Jesuit superiors have tried so hard over the decades to stop my work for peace.”… Read more at http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/jesuits-dismiss-peace-activist-known-for-demonstrating-at-lanl/article_9a0b4a95-13fc-5767-be34-b27fe62ee26a.html. Read John’s column in NCR at http://ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/leaving-jesuits-after-32-years

PC New Mexico's Hiroshima Day Action

PCUSA Ambassador of Peace John Dear (center) leads members of PC New Mexico at their annual Sackcloth and Ashes Vigil outside Los Alamos National Laboratories.

PC ILLINOIS PARTICIPATES IN WORLD DAY OF PEACE INTERFAITH SERVICE: (by Tom Cordaro) The ninth annual World Peace Day Interfaith Prayer Service took place on Wednesday, January 1st in Naperville. This annual tradition was initiated by Pax Christi Illinois. This year’s theme was “Embracing Differences in Our Changing Community.” The service included participation from Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Baha’i, Hindu and Sikh communities as well as Unitarian Universalists, Christian Scientists and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. “We hope that by our coming together in the cause of peace, mutual respect and in celebration of our rich diversity we can build a stronger sense of community in Naperville and DuPage County,” organizer Tom Cordaro stated. He went on to say, “Every year we get more faith communities participating in this event. It shows that most people believe religious diversity is an asset in our community that makes us stronger and vibrant.”

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

January 1-31 – January is Poverty Awareness Month, http://www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/povertyusa/upload/poverty-awareness-month-calendar.pdf

January 18 – PC Memphis Day of Discernment, 9am to 3pm at the University of Memphis Catholic Center on Mynders Ave.; contact Terry Hash at terez58@aol.com or 849-0983 or Janice Vanderhaar at gvanderh@earthlink.net or 362-9364 for additional information or to register

January 26 – Peacemaking through the Arts: “Luke Live!” with PC-Metro New York Board member,  Fr. James DiLuzio, CSP. “Luke Live!” is a dramatic proclamation of the Gospel of Luke interspersed with Song Meditations, highlighting the peace and justice components in Luke’s Gospel. At St. Joseph’s Greenwich Village Church from 2:30 to 4:30pm.

February 28-March 2 – PC Metro New York’s Annual Retreat with Sr. Kathleen Deignan, CND at the St. Joseph’s Renewal Center in Brentwood, Long Island; http://www.nypaxchristi.org/events.html

March 1 – PCUSA National Council election nominations due, http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/01/14/national-council-nominations-now-being-sought-for-pax-christi-usa-national-council-elections-4/

March 5 – Ash Wednesday

March 5 – Ash Wednesday leafleting with PC Metro New York from 12-1pm at St. Patrick’s Cathedral; http://www.nypaxchristi.org/events.html

March 29 – PC Michigan State Conference, “Christian Nonviolence: The Great Failure, the Only Hope,” with Fr. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy; at Cristo Rey Parish, Lansing, MI, http://www.paxchristimi.org/#!pcm-2014-annual-conference/c6oh

March 29-30 – PC Florida Annual Retreat, “Nonviolent Resistance” with Jim Douglass, at Dayspring Episcopal Conference Center in Ellenton, FL; http://paxchristiflorida.org/events/

April 14-18 – Holy Week Pilgrimage with the Norfolk Catholic Worker and Hampton Roads Pax Christi that will stop at 14 area military bases in the Hampton Roads, VA area, the most militarized place on the planet; contact Steve at williamsbaggarly@gmail.com for more info

Quicklinks:

Check out the YouTube video of the protest at the Elizabeth Detention Center in which PC New Jersey members participated, including Diana Mejia, who was arrested … PC Texas leader David Atwood recently had a new book published, “My Search for the Beloved Community”PC Indianapolis meets every third Sunday at 7pm at Marian University in St. Francis Hall, room #163 … For the MLK Holiday, check out PCUSA’s Peacemaker Booklet on MLKThomas Cleary, a former priest who was active with Pax Christi Richmond and a passionate advocate for peace and justice, passed away late in 2013 … Members of PC South Dakota had a letter to the editor against the death penalty published in their local paper … Follow Blue Water (MI) PC leader Mike McCarthy’s blog, Pax VobiscumPax Christi International’s January 2014 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Fall 2013 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: July edition features PCM state conference, anti-drone sign-on ad, young adult voices & more

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PAX CHRISTI MICHIGAN CELEBRATES THE PROPHETIC LEADERSHIP OF WOMEN: (by Joan Tirak, PCM Coordinator) “What a great way to celebrate our hard-working, self-giving, dedicated women!  Some 225 participants enthusiastically gathered on April 20, 2013 for Pax Christi Michigan’s 32nd Annual State Conference in Farmington Hills. They came for many reasons, but the primary draw was the theme ‘Prophetic Leadership of Women: Justice from the Margins’ along with the main speakers, Barbara Reid, OP and Elizabeth Walters, IHM. They also came to support the Leadership Conference of Women Religious whom we honored with our 22nd Annual Purple Ribbon for Peace – a tradition that PCM started in 1991 in response to Pax Christi USA’s National ­­­­­­‘We Shall Not Be Silent’ Campaign… Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/07/10/regional-news-pax-christi-michigan-celebrates-the-prophetic-leadership-of-women/

pcm conference

Pax Christi Michigan celebrated the “prophetic leadership of women” at their 32nd annual state conference this year.

PAX CHRISTI METRO DC-BALTIMORE LEADS ANTI-DRONE SIGN-ON AD EFFORT: Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore has been leading the effort to have the sign-on letter that the Pax Christi Anti-Drone Grassroots Task Force put together published in August in the National Catholic Reporter.  Bishop Gumbleton, Kathy Kelly and Marie Dennis are the first few “well-known” Catholics who will be signing.  If you have not signed on already, please consider joining them by signing yourself. Signatures will be taken until July 17th. For more information, visit http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/07/03/drones-sign-the-ad-to-be-published-by-pax-christi-metro-dc-baltimore/.

BLUE WATER (MI) PAX CHRISTI LEADER’S COLUMN ON THE 4TH OF JULY IN US CATHOLIC: “In 2007, facing the probability that the Iraq War was unjust, a group of Catholics in my community in Port Huron, Michigan, openly informed IRS that we would redirect hundreds of dollars from our federal taxes, donating this ‘Iraq Peace Bond’ instead to our local library. Our donation was merely a drop in the bucket of the trillions wasted in this war, but a small step in a new direction. Most of the money was eventually recovered by IRS, but the donation still helps the community and serve as an inspiration to find further methods to invest in the works of peace, not war. The spirit of the Fourth of July is one that celebrates our freedom, but it is one that often overlooks the violent revolution it took for us to achieve that independence…” To read the rest of this column by Michael McCarthy of Blue Water PC, go to http://www.uscatholic.org/blog/201307/taking-steps-toward-peace-spirit-fourth-july-27510

MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE: Pax Christi USA received quite a bit of media coverage at the 40th anniversary national conference in Atlanta in mid-June. To read the story posted in the Georgia Bulletin, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, go to http://georgiabulletin.org/news/pax-christi-veterans-extend-baton-to-young/. To read Pat O’Neill’s story for the National Catholic Reporter, go to http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/pax-christi-usa-conference-illustrates-need-move-forward-while-keeping-mission. Additionally, in the fall, the Atlanta Interfaith Network plans to broadcast the talks of both Rev. Bryan Massingale and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. We’ll provide links once they’re available. For more on the conference, visit http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/national-conference-2013/.

REPORT FROM THE PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL MEETING: (by Judy Coode) From June 10-12, several Pax Christi sections gathered in Berlin, Germany for this year’s Pax Christi International (PXI) Annual General Meeting (AGM). Sections represented included Pax Christi UK, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, Austria, New Zealand, Flanders, Netherlands (Pax Christi IKV), Peru and USA. Bishop Marc Stenger, bishop president of Pax Christi France, also attended. The meetings were presided over by co-presidents Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa and Marie Dennis of Washington, D.C., and PXI Secretary General Jose Henriquez… Read the full report at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/06/23/pax-christi-international-report-from-the-pxi-annual-general-meeting/.

Adrienne Alexander and Patrick Cashio address participants at the National Conference on June 15.

Pax Christi Young Adults Adrienne Alexander and Patrick Cashio address participants at the National Conference on June 15.

PAX CHRISTI YOUNG ADULT MEMBER WRITES PCUSA MEMBERSHIP ON OUTREACH TO YOUNG ADULTS: (The following is a letter from Patrick Cashio who addressed participants at the National Conference on June 15 alongside former PCUSA National Council member Adrienne Alexander. Patrick is a former Pax Christi USA intern and the current director of young adult ministry at the Romero Center in Camden, New Jersey.) “I want to thank you so much for your welcoming spirit at this past year’s Pax Christi USA National Conference.  I was truly honored to be among you.  Your work over the years has led to countless social changes.  You have been on the frontlines of the “good fight” of peace and justice.  For all the experience and powerful witness that your lives bear, I can hardly do justice. I am writing this letter to give you some other resources for finding and inviting young adults into the incredible work of Pax Christi.  While Adrienne and I gave you some insight into the lives of young adults, we also wanted to follow up with ways that you can find and invite other young adults…” Read the entire letter at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/06/24/national-conference-a-letter-to-pax-christi-usa-members-from-a-pcusa-young-adult/

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:    

August 4 – Pax Christi New Mexico’s Annual Sack Cloth & Ashes Hiroshima Commemoration Action, at Los Alamos. Contact Bud Ryan at 505-264-2838 or Ellie Voutselas at 505-474-8557 for more information.

August 5-6, 9 – Faith and Resistance Retreat in Washington, D.C. Contact Art Laffin for more info at  artlaffin@hotmail.com

August 17 – Pax Christi Metro New York’s Annual Summer Picnic in Central Park, http://www.nypaxchristi.org/events.html

Quicklinks:

Like Pax Christi Illinois’ new Facebook pagePax Christi Michigan is looking to hire a part-time coordinatorSr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, was recently featured in the newsletter of the National Black Catholic Congress … Pax Christi Virginia has officially changed their name to the Pax Christi Bishop Sullivan Virginia Region … Pax Christi Metro New York coordinator Rosemarie Pace wrote this moving tribute to Bishop Joseph Sullivan … Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis was featured in this CNS story on President Obama’s nuclear plans … Pax Christi Dallas has a new websitePax Christi Southwest FL member Dave Montrose blogs here on Pax Christi and youth … Pax Christi USA’s Teacher of Peace for 2013 is Mary Meg McCarthy … Pax Christi International’s June 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2013 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: June edition features groups and members acting on gun violence, poverty, healthcare and more!

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PAX CHRISTI LONG ISLAND MEMBERS USE ART TO LESSEN GUN VIOLENCE AMONG YOUTH: Pax Christi Long Island members have joined with other concerned people to form the InSight Campaign Against Gun Violence. One of the projects has been to work with high school and elementary school students to use art to express their feelings about guns and what has been happening around our nation. These works have been compiled into a PowerPoint presentation which is accompanied by the Sandy Hook children singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” See the presentation at http://paxchristilongisland.org/

REPORT ON THE PAX CHRISTI USA-PAX CHRISTI PORT-AU-PRINCE PARTNERSHIP: (from Manuel Padilla and Amy Watts, Haiti Project Coordinators) “One of the highest priorities we have had with the collaboration between Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi Port-au-Prince (PCPAP) is the peace education curriculum, designed for the older youth of SAKALA and with curriculum specialists Jane Cruz and Lori Baker. It has been over 2 years in the making, from raising the idea, through development, translation, and now teacher training and implementation. These last two are happening right now and we have never been more proud of SAKALA, the children, and the four peace educators who have been selected to teach this first cycle: Delto, Elio, Wenley, and Stephanie…” To read more of Manual and Amy’s report from Haiti, go to: http://paxchristiusa.org/?cat=51094

PCUSA and Pax Christi Port-au-Prince members collaborate on peace education training in Haiti.

Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi Port-au-Prince colleagues collaborate on peace education training in Haiti for the Sakala project.

BLUE WATER PAX CHRISTI MEMBER WRITES ON LOCAL POVERTY: (from the Port Huron Times Herald, by Michael McCarthy) “Is Port Huron a poverty magnet or a beacon of hope? Several recent articles complained that our fair city has become a destination point for those seeking supportive social services. Our city manager cited ‘liberal social programs in the city’ as one of the three biggest problems that plague our town. It’s implied that those who just want a low-income welfare life are encouraged to make Port Huron their home because so much is done for them here. A social worker in Sault Ste. Marie sends an alcoholic on a Port Huron-bound bus because those caught in the welfare social strata have it so good in our town. Could it be this woman had family here? What’s the rest of her story?…” Read the entire column here: http://www.thetimesherald.com/article/20130611/OPINION/306110051/Port-Huron-bears-no-shame-poor-people-s-beacon-hope?nclick_check=1

PAX CHRISTI MASSACHUSETTS COORDINATOR REVIEWS NEW BOOK ON PEACE: (by Pat Ferrone) “I have a long-standing habit of underlining, or in other ways noting, challenging or profound thoughts expressed in some of the books I read. This initiates a kind of ‘lectio divina’ in which I then reflect on the text and allow it to enhance or alter previously held ideas. Happily, Brayton Shanley’s new book, The Many Sides of Peace qualified for just such appraisal. Many underlined, notated, starred passages can be found in my copy of his book, elucidating points that hadn’t occurred to me in my years of soul-searching and peacemaking. Though my bias of friendship with the author should be noted, I insist that this beautifully rendered apologetic for an all-embracing and whole-hearted approach to living Gospel nonviolence, is a ‘must-read.’”… Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/06/11/book-review-the-many-sides-of-peace-challenges-one-to-live-gospel-nonviolence/

Jacqueline Jill Rito Since I teach italian, i teach "PACE", which students wrote at the end of this school year in a public school. In addition, BHS Student Civic board members attended a PCLI meeting on Sunday 6/9 much to their delight.   They anxiously took notes and outlined strategies in working for peace, social and economic justice as well as acceptance, diversity and understanding.  The "interfaith" board consists of Outgoing President, Amanda Arnold, new President Deena Hadhoud, vice pres.  Josett Bernberg, and treasurer Firas Akbik.  (Catholic, Muslim and Jewish faiths represented)  In the photo are also Agnes C. Kelly and Nancy Dwyer PCLI Council members.

Bethphage High School Student Civic board members attended a Pax Christi Long Island meeting earlier this month, anxiously taking notes and outlining strategies in working for peace, social and economic justice as well as acceptance, diversity and understanding. The “interfaith” board consists of Outgoing President, Amanda Arnold, new President Deena Hadhoud, Vice President Josett Bernberg, and Treasurer Firas Akbik (Catholic, Muslim and Jewish faiths represented). In the photo are also Agnes C. Kelly and Nancy Dwyer, PCLI Council members.

FORMER PAX CHRISTI-CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY LEADER BLOGS ON MEMORIAL DAY: (by Robert Shine) “Marking Memorial Day, we are meant to honor those in the military who died in war – but I perennially ask myself on this day, ‘Why?’ Warmaking is a most sinful and barbaric endeavor. Honoring people simply for fighting in war, using language of sacrifice and service, merely perpetuates the myths of militarism. Each year, Catholics are swept up in the dangerous nationalism of this day and lend their voice to the cultic remembrance of soldiers who died in war. Enough. Catholics must stop participating in Memorial Day, and start peacemaking with our lives every single day through mourning…” Read the entire blog post here: http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/05/28/reflection-replacing-memorial-day-with-true-mourning/

Pax Christi Texas members join with the Nuns on the Bus.

Pax Christi Texas members join with the Nuns on the Bus.

PAX CHRISTI METROWEST (MA) FEATURED IN ARTICLE ABOUT BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: (from the MetroWest Daily News) “The day before the Boston Marathon, a Christian, a Muslim, and a Sikh came together to discuss violence at the Fatima Shrine in Holliston at a special event co-sponsored by the Xaverian Missionaries and Pax Christi Metrowest. Perhaps, had the perpetrators of such needless violence at the Marathon been in the audience, they might have thought twice before planting bombs. Moderated by Xaverian Father Rocco Puopolo, the panel consisted of Shaheen Akhtar of the Islamic Center of Boston, Svea Fraser, of St. John the Evangelist in Wellesley, and Sarbjit Singh Thiara of the New England Sikh Study Circle in Milford…” Read more at http://www.wickedlocal.com/southborough/news/opinions/x633481704/Mazzaglia-Community-holds-us-together#axzz2W3asLn2P

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

May 28-June 18 – Nuns on the Bus on the Border: http://www.networklobby.org/bus

June 14-16 – Pax Christi USA National Conference in Atlanta, GA: http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/national-conference-2013/

June 27-29 – Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space conference in Sweden: http://www.space4peace.org/

July 4-7 – Fellowship of Reconciliation’s 55th Annual Northwest Regional Seabeck Conference, “Harnessing Outrage & Compassion: Awakening the Power of Nonviolence”: http://www.wwfor.org/projects/seabeck-conference-2013/

Quicklinks:

Read Ambassador of Peace Joe Fahey’s reflection on “Pacem in Terris” from Pax Christi Metro New York’s newsletter … Watch former National Council Chair Judy Coode read Sr. Dianna Ortiz’s prayer at a vigil to “close Guantanamo” in DC … Pax Christi Atlanta member Cathy Crosby is one of the founders of the Neshama Interfaith CenterPax Christi Michigan member Arny Steiber filmed a recitation of a poem he wrote at the Heartland Café in Chicago, remembering all the soldiers who have died in our misguided wars … Pax Christi El Paso’s film series recently featured “Hidden Battles,” a 2010 documentary on the psychological effects of war on soldiers … See Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Bishop Tom Gumbleton and Ambassador of Peace Rev. Joe Nangle, ofm in the video “What Religious Leaders Want to Tell President Obama at Easter”Pax Christi Staten Island will hold its 21st annual Dorothy Day Pilgrimage in Pleasant Plains on June 15, visiting the site where Dorothy’s cottage once stood … Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore Council member Eli McCarthy wrote a provocative piece on drone warfare for America magazine … Three new members were elected to the Pax Christi USA National CouncilPax Christi Manasota (FL) led a vigil at the most recent execution in Florida … Pax Christi USA is hiring for two positions … The local FOX affiliate covered the “Groceries for Guns” program which included the participation of Pax Christi members in Upstate New YorkPax Christi International’s June 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2013 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: May edition features breaking news on Transformation Now Plowshares, new pope reflection, and more

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

JURY FINDS TRANSFORM NOW PLOWSHARES GUILTY: (from the AP story) “An 83-year-old nun and two fellow protesters were convicted Wednesday of interfering with national security when they broke into a nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee and defaced a uranium processing plant. It took a jury about 2 ½ hours to find the three protesters guilty of a charge of sabotaging the plant and second charge of damaging federal property in July the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July. Defense attorneys said in closing arguments that federal prosecutors had overreached in the charges because of the embarrassment caused by the break-in. ‘The shortcomings in security at one of the most dangerous places on the planet have embarrassed a lot of people,’ said Francis Lloyd, who represented Sister Megan Rice of Washington, D.C. ‘You’re looking at three scapegoats behind me.’… Read more here: http://news.yahoo.com/jury-finds-3-guilty-weapons-plant-break-222543688.html

Sr. Megan Rice of the Transformation Now Plowshares.

Sr. Megan Rice of the Transform Now Plowshares.

PAX CHRISTI MASSACHUSETTS STATEMENT ON THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: Chaos, destruction and death visited Boston on Marathon Monday, bearing witness to the perverse power of violence to shatter families, annihilate hope, end dreams, and engender great fear in our hearts. We members of Pax Christi Massachusetts, the Catholic peace organization built on the foundation of gospel nonviolence, and deeply committed to the Way of Peace of Jesus, wish to express our profound sorrow at what has come to pass in our beloved city of Boston. We mourn with the victims and families, and claim kinship with all who will carry their suffering far into the future. We pray for the healing of bodies and spirit and cling to the hope that in this city of great diversity, we remain united in a spirit of compassion and clear thinking… Read the entire statement here: http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/04/22/statement-statement-from-pax-christi-massachusetts-on-the-marathon-bombings/

FORMER PCUSA BISHOP PRESIDENT WALTER SULLIVAN FEATURED IN HUFFINGTON POST ARTICLE: (From the Huffington Post, written by PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Fr. John Dear, S.J.) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that if our righteousness does not surpass that of the religious authorities, we will not enter the reign of God. It’s a shocking instruction. He seems to have learned early on that power corrupts, and not just politicians, but professional religious people, too. If professional religious authorities do not break out of the trappings of power, authority, money, and cultic privilege, if they do not embody the Beatitudes and struggle for justice and peace, they will not enter the reign of God. I think he means, not just in the next life, but here and now, in this life, where the reign of God is at hand. We see this play out everywhere today, where our religious leaders go along with the culture of violence and war, and remain silent in the face of warmaking, nuclear weapons, poverty, and violence. They fear rocking the boat, so they do nothing, protect their money, stay close to their benefactors, accept whatever the military tells them, and reject the way of the cross. Or if they speak, they only denounce abortion, claiming to be pro-life, even though they actively support U.S. warmaking and nuclear weapons. In doing so, they come across to the faithful as radically pro-death. They remain clueless to the prophetic vocation which Jesus calls us all to live in the Sermon on the Mount. The exceptions, of course, make the rule, and one great exception was my friend Walter Sullivan, bishop of Richmond, former president of Pax Christi USA, who died on December 11, 2012… Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-dear/walter-sullivan-the-good_b_3186832.html

Pax Christi Houston members join Mothers Demand Action for gun safety.

Pax Christi Houston members join Mothers Demand Action for gun safety.

PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK’S EASTER REFLECTION: “Easter is a time for hope, for renewal, and new life.   Nature is at one with the Resurrection of Jesus, as the first buds on the trees appear, tiny creatures cling to their mothers, and the seas calm from the harsh winds of winter.  It is a time of celebration, a time of growth, and a time of change. The recent installation of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I has given us a very special reason to celebrate, to hope, to renew, to grow, and yes, even to change, as individuals, as a community, and as a Church…” Read the entire reflection here: http://www.nypaxchristi.org/reflection.html

Images of Fr. Bill Bichsel, beloved figure of Pax Christi Pacific Northwest members, are showing up in unusual places!

Images of Fr. Bill Bichsel, beloved figure of Pax Christi Pacific Northwest members, are showing up in unusual places!

PCI CO-PRESIDENT ASKS NEW POPE – BE A SHEPHERD OF PEACE: (from US Catholic by Marie Dennis) “In his resignation statement, Benedict XVI, now the bishop emeritus of Rome, pointed to the great challenge these times present to the papal ministry, speaking in particular about ‘today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.’ Few challenges will be greater for Pope Francis than the challenge of peace—to turn the hearts, minds, and energies of 1 billion Catholics around the world to fulfilling Jesus’ resurrection promise, ‘Peace I leave with you.’ Exactly 50 years ago, Pope John XXIII’s great encyclical Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) ended with a prayer that Christ would ‘inflame the desires of all … to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong.’” … Read the rest of the article here: http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/04/18/reflection-be-a-shepherd-of-peace/

PAX CHRISTI TEXAS LEADER DELIVERS SPEECH ON PACEM IN TERRIS: (David Atwood of PC-Texas gave the following talk at the Catholic Library Association Conference.) “It is an honor to address you today on the important subject of Pacem in Terris, the encyclical written by Pope John XXIII that was published in 1963, 50 years ago. I think we would all agree that we need more peace on earth – both in our own nation and throughout the world.  The recent murder of 20 school children in Connecticut as well as the thousands of murders each year in the U.S. are indicative of the problems we have in this country.  The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the current conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, are indicative of the need for peace in the world… Read the entire speech at: http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/04/14/reflection-pacem-in-terris-its-importance-in-current-time/

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

June 14-16 – Pax Christi USA National Conference in Atlanta, GA: http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/national-conference-2013/

Quicklinks:

A special supplement by Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore member Scott Wright on “Pacem in Terris” is now included in the Just Peacemaking module from JustFaith Ministries … Tom Cornell delivered the homily at Pax Christi Hudson Valley’s Mass for Peace at St. Augustine Church in Highland, N.Y. on March 16 … Pax Christi members in Upstate New York helped to start a “groceries for guns” program at their parish … Jerry Bettice of PC-Memphis presented a PowerPoint reflection on “The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: The Dream Fulfilled” at the April meeting and at the Young Adults group at St. Patrick Church … Pax Christi members in Maryland were involved in the effort to repeal the death penaltyPax Christi Illinois member Tom Cordaro wrote this prayer following the Boston Marathon bombing … The Washington Post ran an article on the Transform Now Plowshares prior to their May trial … The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, a PCUSA partner, has named Gerry Lee their new directorPax Christi Tampa Bay member Mary Ann Holtz has published “Ten Action Steps for Individuals and Families Responding to the Current Global Crises of Energy, Environment and Economy”Pax Christi Southwest Florida is participating in “Hands Across the Sand” to raise awareness of global climate change … Pax Christi UK has made a YouTube video called “Give Peace a Budget: 7 Ways to Spend $1.7 Trillion”Pax Christi Metro New York’s latest edition of Kerux is now available on the website … Pax Christi Birmingham member Shelley Douglass asks if we will be open to the promptings of the Spirit this Pentecost? … Pax Christi Pacific Northwest member Nick Mele reports on his visit to Fukushima, JapanPax Christi International’s May 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2013 edition of The Peace Current