Tag Archives: Pax Christi Texas

DEATH PENALTY: The zeal of pro-death penalty advocates

dave-atwoodby David Atwood
Pax Christi Texas

I am continually amazed how far death penalty advocates will go to perpetuate the machinery of death in Texas. This time pro-death penalty legislators in Austin are pushing a bill  that would shield the identity of the suppliers of the lethal drugs used to execute prisoners in Huntsville. The rationale of these legislators is that the suppliers of these drugs will no longer provide them for executions if their identity is revealed and that executions might come to a grinding halt as a result.  Now wouldn’t that be terrible.

No death penaltyOver the years, the proponents of capital punishment have used many arguments to continue to kill prisoners. Here are some examples and my reply to their arguments:

  1. Rationale: If we don’t execute these people, they will kill again.  My Reply: Texas now has “life without parole” as an optional punishment for capital murder.  This sentence allows us to keep society safe without becoming killers ourselves.
  1. Rationale: The death penalty deters others from committing murder. My Reply: There is no firm evidence that the death penalty deters others from committing murder.  In fact, several studies have shown that the death penalty does not deter others from committing murder.  Most murderers are not thinking about consequences or do not think that they will be caught. Many are high on alcohol or drugs and are not thinking clearly. Criminal justice experts have said that murder rates are primarily affected by demographics, economics, the drug trade and community policing efforts.
  1. Rationale: If we speed up executions, they would be a greater deterrent to violent crime. My Reply: Speeding up executions would also mean that the chances of executing an innocent person would increase.
  1. Rationale: The death penalty gives the family of the victim “closure”. My Reply: While an execution may give some families of victims the satisfacion of “payback”, there is little evidence that an execution actually provides “closure” or any semblance of “healing”. What does bring healing is a loving community that helps the family through the ordeal they are experiencing and move on with their lives in a positive fashion.
  1. Rationale: The death penalty saves the state money. My Reply: The high legal expenses associated with the death penalty make it significantly more expensive than life in prison. This wasted money could be better spent on effective crime prevention programs and victims’ services.
  1. Rationale: The only people who get the death penalty are the “worst of the worst”. My Reply: Whether someone ends up on death row or not has more to do with the quality of the accused’s legal defense, the race of the victim, politics and geography.
  1. Rationale: People who commit murder are monsters who deserve to die. My Reply: It is true that a person who commits murder has done a monstrous thing and caused great suffering. However, if one looks into the background of people on death row, what you often find is a history of horrible child abuse and neglect, mental disabilities and drug/alcohol abuse. Furthermore, once confined in prison, many people become rehabilitated and are no longer a threat to society.
  1. Rationale: Our criminal justice system is fair to all people and ensures that we always get the right person. My Reply: We are aware of 12 exonerated death row prisoners in Texas alone and over 150 nationwide. There is also good evidence that Texas has executed several innocent people. The death penalty system is a human system that is imperfect and will always remain so.
  1. Rationale: The death penalty is needed to “restore order” to society. My Reply: This is not the experience of many states and nations. Eighteen U.S. states have abolished the death penalty and seem to be doing fine. However, murders still occur on a regular basis in Texas although we have had more than 520 executions. Many people believe that we would have more “order ” in our society and less crime if we would spend more of our scarce financial resources on effective crime prevention measures such as improved child protective services, youth and family services, mental health services and prisoner rehabilitation programs.
  1. Rationale: The Bible demands an “eye for an eye” approach to justice. My Reply: The “eye for an eye” concept comes for the Old Testament. This concept continues a cycle of violence and vengeance in society. In the New Testament, Jesus rejects the “eye for an eye” concept and replaces it with compassion, forgiveness and mercy. “Restorative justice” is a smarter approach to crime than “retributive justice”.

In summary, the zeal of the pro-death penalty advocates is misplaced. If they want to make society safer, they should advocate for crime prevention programs that are truly effective.

David Atwood is the Founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

ON THE LINE: April 2015 edition includes resources for Earth Day, news from around the nation!

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. 

TWO RESOURCES FOR EARTH DAY: Check out these two resources for today’s celebration of Earth Day from Pax Christi Florida member Mary Ann Holtz and the Pax Christi USA Store: http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/04/22/earth-day-two-resources-to-observe-earth-day/

PC ST. LOUIS HOSTS ANTI-RACISM TRAINING: (from Laura Kent) Thirty-five bold St. Louisans from many different neighborhoods and parishes gathered this past Saturday at the Catholic Student Center at Washington University to discuss how to address racism in the St. Louis Metropolitan area (which includes Ferguson). The workshop, “What will WE do? Anti-Racism Training and an Introduction to Organizing,” was moderated by Pax Christi’s Tom Cordaro and Cathy Woodson. Participants learned about the many forms of racism including Internalized Racist Superiority and Internalized Racist Oppression. They discussed misconceptions about what is and isn’t racism and the problem with the reticence of the white majority to address white privilege. Many personal stories and family anecdotes were shared and attendees were challenged to not let this new learning end with themselves. Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/03/28/regional-event-pax-christi-st-louis-hosts-anti-racism-training/

Tom Cordaro presents the history of racism in the United States with a timeline posted on the wall to which all participants were invited to add important events.

Tom Cordaro presents the history of racism in the United States with a timeline posted on the wall to which all participants were invited to add important events.

PC PHOENIX-TEMPE EDUCATES ON IMMIGRATION, NONVIOLENCE: (from Dave Zabor) Pax Christi Phoenix-Tempe welcomed Fr. Sean Carroll, Director of the Kino Border Initiative (a binational organization that works in the area of migration and is located in Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico), for a presentation on migrants and the work that KBI is doing. Kino is doing wonderful humanitarian work and well as education, research, and advocacy on behalf of migrants. Attendees were moved by hearing stories of families struggling to survive, often tragically separated, and enduring the abuses of government officials and police on both sides of the border. Fr. Carroll took back to Nogales cash, clothing, and supplies donated by the group. That same weekend, the PC Phoenix-Tempe group continued its tradition of offering parishioners at St. Benedict Parish in Phoenix an opportunity to take the Pax Christi Vow of Nonviolence. This is the 4th consecutive year that the parish has offered the vow, and this time approximately 300 people participated.

PC LONG ISLAND HONORS PEACEMAKERS: (from Mary Beth Moore) More than sixty guests joined to honor The National Catholic Reporter on April 11th in Manhasset, NY when the Long Island Chapter of Pax Christi presented its annual “Peacemaker Award” to NCR on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The honor cites the paper “[F]or telling painful truths, in ink, on paper and online. For reporting on nonviolence, in ways that other do not. For standing up for nuns, for abuse victims and the poor. For 50 years of prophetic words.” Mercy Sister Camille D’Arienzo, who writes a bi-monthly blog for NCR, accepted the award on behalf of Editor Dennis Coday. In remarks read by Sr. D’Arienzo, Coday noted, “The first NCR editorial against the Vietnam War came in early 1966; the editors then were prescient enough to see the futility of that war — and all others since.” Yanira Chacón-Lopez, lay minister of St. Bridget Church in Westbury, NY was also honored at the event for her work in “easing the perilous journey of immigrant families.”

Accepting PC-LI awards are Mercy Sister Camille D’Arienzo (L), on behalf of NCR Editor Dennis Coday and Yanira Chacón-Lopez, lay minister of St. Bridget Church in Westbury, NY.

Accepting PC-LI awards are Mercy Sr Camille D’Arienzo (R), on behalf of NCR Editor Dennis Coday & Yanira Chacón-Lopez, lay minister, St. Bridget Church, Westbury, NY.

first vigil at the Moakley courthouse in Boston. The people: Katie Flaherty, Scott Schaeffer-Duffy from the SS Francis and Therese Catholic Worker in Worcester, MA, me, Suzanne and Brayton Shanley of the Agape Community.

PC-MA members at the first vigil at the Moakley courthouse in Boston during the Boston Marathon Bombing trial.

PC MASSACHUSETTS MEMBER PENS OP-ED REGARDING THE DEATH PENALTY IN MARATHON BOMBER CASE: (by Kathleen Schatzberg) Last week in Boston, a federal jury convicted the surviving brother of the two men who planted bombs at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three, injuring hundreds, and in the police manhunt that followed, killing a university policeman. The elder brother also died during the police pursuit. Now that same jury must decide whether to sentence the surviving brother to death or life in prison without parole. Massachusetts has not executed a convicted criminal since 1947, and a State Supreme Court ruling in 1984 effectively outlawed capital punishment in this state. This trial, however, was in federal jurisdiction, where the death penalty is allowed. A vigorous debate about capital punishment has inevitably ensued. There is no debate about the shocking heinousness of the crimes, nor about the guilt of the surviving brother who was convicted last week – his attorney admitted his guilt at the outset of the trial. But debate abounds for and against the death penalty in this case… Read the entire piece at http://www.barnstablepatriot.com/home2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38846&Itemid=32

Photo by Zach Gibson. Over two dozen PCUSA groups took part in Way of the Cross events from Newark, NJ to Springfield, MO to Los Angeles, CA. This photo is from the Economic Justice Way of the Cross in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by Zach Gibson.) Over two dozen PCUSA groups took part in Way of the Cross events from Newark, NJ to Springfield, MO to Los Angeles, CA. This photo is from the Economic Justice Way of the Cross in Washington, D.C.

PC ILLINOIS HOSTS NATIONAL STAFF FOR ANTI-RACISM PRESENTATION: (by Nancy Oetter) On March 14, 2015, West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition of Illinois held their 12th Annual Gathering and Fourth Annual Rev. J. Robert Sandman Lecture Series. “Taking on the Silence:  Daring to Explore the Sin of Racism” was presented by Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, Director of Programs. Pax Christi Illinois folks attended the gathering in support of the Sisters. They both have extensive experience on antiracism teams and they provide a perspective from a person of color and from a person of white privilege. They first asked the audience of 45 to tell how they felt talking about racism. They then discussed the definition of racism, and what steps we could take in our own lives to begin to defeat it. Besides Pax Christi Illinois, other groups represented were Occupy Naperville, First United Church, and Christi the Servant Parish. After the workshop, PCIL hosted Srs. Patty and Anne-Louise for dinner at the Greek Islands restaurant and had a great visit.

West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition of Illinois held their 12th Annual Gathering and Fourth Annual Rev. J. Robert Sandman Lecture Series. “Taking on the Silence:  Daring to Explore the Sin of Racism” was presented by Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, Director of Programs.

The Fourth Annual Rev. J. Robert Sandman Lecture Series. “Taking on the Silence: Daring to Explore the Sin of Racism”  with Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of PCUSA and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, Director of Programs.

NEW OFFERINGS FROM AUTHORS WITH PAX CHRISTI USA TIES: A number of recent books have been published by authors with ties to Pax Christi USA. We encourage you to check out Live Peace, Teach Peace: Best Practices and Tools, by PCUSA Teachers of Peace MJ and Jerry Park at http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/03/23/resource-new-book-on-peace-education-for-hearts-and-minds-by-pax-christi-usa-teachers-of-peace/; Listen Here! The Art and Spirituality of Listening by PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Megan McKenna, Ph.D., http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/04/09/resource-new-book-from-pax-christi-usa-ambassador-of-peace-megan-mckenna/; and Seizing the Nonviolent Moments: Reflections on the Spirituality of Nonviolence through the Lens of Scripture by PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Nancy Small; http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/01/23/news-new-book-on-nonviolence-from-pcusa-ambassador-of-peace-nancy-small/. All are great resources!

Pax Christi Texas members Sr. Ceil Roeger and Dave Atwood participate in "Fight for $15 Rally" in Houston.

PC Texas members Sr. Ceil Roeger & Dave Atwood participate in the “Fight for $15 Rally” in Houston.

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Apr. 22: Earth Day

Apr. 24-26: Peace and Planet Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free, Just and Sustainable World, http://www.peaceandplanet.org/

Apr. 26-27: Global Wave of Action to Say Goodbye to Nukes, http://www.globalwave2015.org/

May 2: Gospel Nonviolence conference with Fr. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy, Atlanta; contact Joe Goode of PC-Atlanta at cpatchat92@aol.com for more info or to register, go to http://www.stjudeatlanta.net/PaxChristiEvent

May 2: PC Maine assembly in Orland, ME, http://mainetalk.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/PCM-Assembly-flyer-2015.pdf

May 3: The Challenge of Peace anniversary, http://www.usccb.org/upload/challenge-peace-gods-promise-our-response-1983.pdf

May 9: Dan Berrigan’s birthday, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Berrigan

May 10: Mother’s Day

May 13-17: Pax Christi International World Assembly in Bethlehem, http://paxchristi2015.net/

May 15: International Day for Conscientious Objection, https://www.wri-irg.org/campaigns/co_day

May 24: Pentecost Sunday

May 30: Pax Christi Southern California conference with Kathy Kelly at Loyola Marymount University, http://www3.paxchristisocal.org/

June 1-30: Torture Awareness Month, http://www.tortureawareness.org/

Quicklinks:

College of the Holy Cross Pax Christi displayed a poverty tree on campus, where they hung facts about worldly environmental social issues on its branches as part of the college’s series of events on sustainability. The group also had a carbon footprint calculator to show students how as individuals they impact the environment … Pax Christi Indianapolis members and other faith activists in Raise the Wage Indiana led a 72.5 hour fast to bring attention to the issue and urge the legislature to act … Dan Peitzmeyer of Pax Christi-Phoenix debated Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery on the local PBS affiliate regarding alternatives to the death penalty … Watch video from CBS covering Pax Christi Metro New York’s Way of the Cross … PC New Orleans was quoted in an article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune in support of the Obama administration’s decision for deportation relief for 5 million undocumented immigrants … PC Northeastern Pennsylvania published a letter to the editor protesting Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech before Congress as well as calling on assistance for victims of war in Gaza … Watch this video capturing the Pax Christi Florida retreat on “Living the Nonviolent Life” … Pax Christi USA member Jacqueline Haessly has a new website for her organization Peacemaking Associates whose purpose is to empower adults and children to value and image peace … Former Pax Christi USA National Chair Judy Coode published this article on Haiti for the PCI Peace Stories blog … Pax Christi Atlanta member Cathy Crosby is being inducted this year into the MLK Jr. College of Ministers and Laity … Watch video of Pax Christi Michigan’s keynote speaker David Swanson’s address at their recent retreat … The Spring 2015 edition of Kerux, the newsletter for Pax Christi Metro New York, is now online … Pax Christi International has launched the “Disarmament for Sustainable Development Campaign”Pax Christi International’s April 2015 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2015 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: June 2014 edition includes election results, death penalty activism, peace award, 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.

QUICK NOTE FROM NATIONAL: The results of the National Council election are in and we’re pleased to announce that Jean Stokan and Sr. Rose Marie Tresp, RSM have been elected as new members of the council, and current vice-chair Cathy Woodson was re-elected to another term. Additionally Edward Martinez and Cynthia Morris-Colbert have been added to the council to fill appointed positions. Also, the Constitutional amendments passed and will be incorporated into PCUSA’s constitution.

Nick and Mary Eoloff

Nick and Mary Eoloff

GIVING THANKS FOR THE LIFE OF LONG-TIME MEMBER NICK EOLOFF: (by Florence Steichen, Pax Christi MN) Veterans, peace-makers and workers for justice, people of Guatemala and Palestine, and countless others lost a dear friend and faithful supporter when Nick Eoloff, 84, died May 24 in St. Paul. Nick Eoloff was a veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserves. Nick married Mary Lou Bunting December 26, 1955; they are the parents of six children, 14 grandchildren, and one great granddaughter. Among their many works for peace, Nick and Mary adopted Mordechai Vanunu, in 1996 when Mordechai was serving an 18 year prison term in Israel for revealing the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. They visited him in prison, corresponded with him, and enlisted friends to write to Mordechai. Mary and Nick last saw Mordechai in 2005, after his release from prison in 2004, and have remained in contact. Mary phoned when Nick died, and knew that Mordechai could not come to Nick’s funeral because his freedom of movement is severely restricted even though he finished his sentence 10 years ago… Read this entire article at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/06/04/obituary-remembering-long-time-pax-christi-usa-member-nick-eoloff/

PAX CHRISTI FLORIDA HOSTS WORKSHOP FOR CATHOLIC COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, PCF MEMBERS: (by Johnny Zokovitch) On Saturday, May 17, over 30 participants gathered at Barry University for the 4th in a series of workshops entitled, “We Grow Together: Pax Christi USA and Catholic Communities of Color,” hosted by Pax Christi Florida. Members of the Archdiocese’s Office of Black Catholic Ministry, leaders from several parishes, Pax Christi local group coordinators and state council members, and Pax Christi USA National Staff members were present for the all-day workshop which included overviews of Catholic Social Teaching and the priorities of Pax Christi USA, presentations on the corrective histories of African Americans and Latino/as in the Church, and sessions employing social analysis and planning for next steps… Read more here http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/05/19/news-pax-christi-florida-hosts-we-grow-together-pax-christi-usa-and-catholic-communities-of-color-workshop/

Participants in the "We Grow Together" workshop held at Barry Universiry in May and hosted by Pax Christi Florida.

Participants in the “We Grow Together” workshop held at Barry University in May and hosted by Pax Christi Florida.

PAX CHRISTI PHOENIX WITNESSES AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY: (from John Zemblidge) Pax Christi-Phoenix continues to witness to the nonviolent Christ in opposition to the death penalty in Arizona. For several years our chapter has sponsored prayer vigils on the eve of executions along with Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona and the Arizona Ecumenical Council. We traveled to Tucson in February to attend Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona’s annual meeting. An ongoing relationship has ensued between Pax Christi member Margaret McChesney and death row inmate Frank McCray. Several Pax Christi members continue to visit prisoners in Maricopa County Jail who are facing prosecutions that may result in sentences of death. Long-time members Inge Casey, Dan Peitzmeyer and Bob Basque continue to work tirelessly in addressing forums and meetings of other organizations involved in the abolition movement. On May 15, our chapter hosted Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery where we dialogued and discussed the death penalty in a peaceful and present manner. On May 18, Pax Christi-Phoenix participated in a peaceful prayer vigil outside the Phoenix Downtown Sheraton where the National Association of the Boards of Pharmacy will hold their annual meeting. Abolitionists view pharmacists as allies in the effort to stop executions. With the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma on April 30, states like Arizona that use compounded drugs from non-corporate pharmacies face increased scrutiny.

PAX CHRISTI MEMPHIS HOSTS DAY-MERTON PLAY: (from Janice Vanderhaar) St. Patrick’s Church in downtown Memphis will collaborate with Pax Christi Memphis in presenting the two-hour play “Pilgrims and Prophets of Peace: Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton” written and performed by Pax Christi Southern California leaders Sharon and David Halsey-Hoover on Friday, June 20, 2014. There will be an informal meet-and-greet at 6:30 to welcome guests from the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, Memphis Theological Seminary, and local congregations. For more information, see http://www.paxchristimemphis.org

Pax Christi USA staff Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN join other PCUSA members in calling for teh closing of Guantanamo.

Pax Christi USA staff Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN join other PCUSA members in calling for teh closing of Guantanamo. Photo by Ted Majdosz at http://photobyted.smugmug.com/CloseGuantanomo/Not-another-broken-promise-not/i-8GWTt5S

BISHOP ALEMANY SENIOR WINS PEACE SCHOLARSHIP: (from Sharon Halsey-Hoover) Earlier this month, Pax Christi Southern California recognized its choice for the Pax Christi Southern California Student of the Year Award. This year’s recipient is Eddie Motta, a senior and member of Pax Christi Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, CA.  The award includes a $250 scholarship to the college of his choice.

Donald Levan, Sharon Halsey-Hoover, award recipient Eddie Motta, and David Hoover of Pax Christi Southern California.

Donald Levan, Sharon Halsey-Hoover, award recipient Eddie Motta, and David Hoover of Pax Christi Southern California.

PAX CHRISTI LOS ANGELES REACHES OUT TO LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS: (from Sharon Halsey-Hoover) On Wednesday, May 12 Pax Christi Los Angeles held an informational meeting with four local high schools about Pax Christi and the starting of high school groups on their campuses.  Another six schools responded that they could not attend but would like more information. At the meeting, clips from the Pax Christi video were shown and Fr. Chris Ponnet, from Pax Christi Los Angeles, and Don Levan, from Bishop Alemany High School, spoke about the mission of Pax Christi and of how a group could add focus and opportunity to their attempts to address social justice concerns. In addition to the four Directors of Campus Ministry there were eleven students in attendance. After the meeting the attendees joined in the parish noon liturgy and then shared lunch. It was wonderful to experience so much interest in Pax Christi and in the desire for peace and nonviolence.

Pax Christi Los Angeles leadership share lunch with area directors of campus ministry and student leaders.

Pax Christi Los Angeles leadership share lunch with area directors of campus ministry and student leaders.

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

June – Torture Awareness Month, http://www.tassc.org and http://www.nrcat.org/

June 3-14 – On the Road to Ground the Drones action in Illinois and Michigan, http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/04/29/drones-on-the-road-to-ground-the-drones-action-june-3-14/

June 27 – Momentum 2014 Event in DC, http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/momentum-2014/

June 29-July 3 – Starvin for Justice: Fast and Vigil to End the Death Penalty, http://www.abolition.org/fastandvigil/; Pax Christi USA is an endorser.

July 18-20 – Annual Peacemakers’ Retreat with PCUSA Teacher of Peace Elizabeth McAlister and Frida Berrigan, in Pardox, NY, http://www.pyramidlife.org/programs/

Quicklinks:

Pax Christi Long Island member Nancy Dwyer had a letter published in Newsday on gun violence … Pax Christi Texas is asking all PCUSA members to keep Mac and Joyce Hall, long-time members, in your prayers. Mac is struggling with cancer and may not be with us much longer, writes Dave AtwoodPax Christi Hartford (CT) hosted Catholic Worker Cathy Breen this week to speak about her experiences working with Iraqi refugees … Long-time Pax Christi USA member Paul Magno has the opportunity to attend the War Resisters International meeting in South Africa in early July and help popularize what the Plowshares movement is about to an important international audience. Paul is raising funds to be able to attend. If you want to support him, contact him at pmagno@igc.org … The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns has published a new newsletter, “Encounters: A Newsletter on Faith, Economy and Ecology.” Click here to see the latest edition and information on how to receive it … Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Eric LeCompte met with Pope Francis last month on behalf of the global Jubilee movement … Pax Christi International’s June 2014 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2014 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: May 2014 edition includes Stations of the Cross reports, new workshop offering, 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.

QUICK NOTE FROM NATIONAL: The Spring 2014 edition of our newsletter, The Peace Current, was sent out several weeks ago. If you have not received a copy, it means that your membership is not up-to-date. You can renew quick and easy on the website here: http://paxchristiusa.org/join-u/. To see the PDF version of the newsletter on the website, go to http://paxchristiusa1.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/spring2014newsletter-web.pdf.

PAX CHRISTI ST. LOUIS HOSTS FIRST WORKSHOP WITH LOCAL CATHOLIC COMMUNITIES OF COLOR: (by Laura Kent) In mid-April, Pax Christi St. Louis hosted the first workshop, “We Grow Together: Catholic Communities of Color and Pax Christi USA.” The workshop is designed to bring together Catholic communities of color with members of various Pax Christi USA regions to create a community that is built on inclusivity and based on Gospel values. “If we do not count in our membership, members of the communities whom we would like to serve, then as a peace and justice organization, Pax Christi should shut down.” It was with this acknowledgement from Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, that a group of twenty-one St. Louisans began a workshop at Cardinal Ritter College Prep in St. Louis, MO on Saturday, April 12 to learn together about Pax Christi. Participants hailed from many parishes and local organizations, all with the common cause of working for justice… Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/04/29/news-pax-christi-usa-holds-first-workshop-with-catholic-communities-of-color-in-st-louis/

Sr. Patty Chappell, PCUSA Executive Director, opens the gathering.

Sr. Patty Chappell, PCUSA Executive Director, opens the workshop “We Grow Together: Catholic Communities of Color and Pax Christi USA” in St. Louis.

PAX CHRISTI GROUPS THROUGHOUT THE NATION HOST GOOD FRIDAY WAY OF THE CROSS EVENTS: Over two dozen Pax Christi USA local groups hosted or co-sponsored a “Way of the Cross” event on Good Friday, connecting the sufferings of Christ during his passion with the suffering of our brothers and sisters at the hands of violence, greed, poverty, sickness and war. In this edition of “On The Line”, you can see photos (below) from PC Illinois and PC South Dakota participating in these events. Several groups, like PC Metro New York, received local news coverage of their events. Mohawk Valley Pax Christi in Utica, NY sent us this link to the opening reflection of their Stations of the Cross, posted on the website of the local newspaper: http://www.uticaod.com/section?template=videodetail&vid=3482951928001&vidtitle=The%20Mohawk%20Valley%20Pax%20Christi%20Outdoor%20Stations%20of%20the%20Cross

Pax Christi Southeastern SD, South Dakota Peace & Justice Center, South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and Just Peace held a Good Friday Noon Vigil, April 18, 2014, at the South Dakota State Penitentiary flagpole. We witnessed in prayer, song, and silence our opposition to the Death Penalty in SD. Following the prayer service, participants were given the opportunity to sign and have notarized a Declaration of Life document.

PC Southeastern South Dakota held a Good Friday Noon Vigil at the South Dakota State Penitentiary with various partners. Following the prayer service, participants were given the opportunity to sign and have notarized a Declaration of Life document. Photo by Leona Weiland.

By Nancy Oetter from the 34th Annual Good Friday Walk for Justice.  Pax Christi IL was a co-sponsor of this event organized by 8th Day Center for Justice.

The 34th Annual Good Friday Walk for Justice in Chicago. PC Illinois was a co-sponsor of this event with the 8th Day Center for Justice. Photo by Nancy Oetter.

PC METRO NEW YORK HONORS 2014 PEACEMAKERS: (from Rosemarie Pace) Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) is very proud to announce this year’s honorees and to celebrate not only their accomplishments but also what they stand for. This year’s Peacemakers are exceptional in their commitment to end gun violence, abolish nuclear weapons, advocate for Palestinian rights, and serve the poor and needy. They stand strong in their resolve to offer compassionate alternatives inspired by their values and beliefs. On Sunday, June 1st, Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) will be paying tribute to Sandy Hook Promise; Maryknoll Sister Jean Fallon; and The Carmelite Commission for Peace, Justice, and the Integrity of Creation… Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/05/08/regional-news-pax-christi-metro-ny-honors-2014-peacemakers/

PC MASSACHUSETTS INCLUDES REFLECTION FROM DEATH ROW INMATE IN STATIONS OF THE CROSS: (from Pat Ferrone) Members of Pax Christi Massachusetts co-sponsored the annual Stations of the Cross in front of the Boston Statehouse on Good Friday. Station 11 was the presentation of a piece written by a man with whom PC-MA state coordinator Pat Ferrone has been communicating for the last 1.5 years. Marc James Asay has been on Death Row in Florida since he was 23, and is now 50. You can read his reflection at http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/05/05/reflection-living-in-the-shadow-of-death/

2104 march madness 217Pax Christi Long Island member Jacqueline Jill Rito brought a small group of students to Italy recently, covering Rome, Florence and Assisi for Holy Week 2014. She snapped this photo (to the left), writing that “the inspirational feeling and word in Rome regarding ‘the people’s Pope’ was palpable – witness this drawing on a street-sign advertisement across from Castel Sant’Angelo, just down the street from St. Peter’s Basilica.” Thanks for sharing!

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

May 15 – International Conscientious Objection Day, http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/conscientious-objection/

May 17 – Pax Christi Metro D.C.-Baltimore’s annual assembly, “From Just War to Just Peace in the Age of St. Francis,” http://www.paxchristimetrodc.org/2014/04/register-now-annual-assembly-may-17-at-gonzaga-college-high-school/

May 23 – Global Day of Action to Close Guantanamo, http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/05/13/take-action-may-23rd-is-global-day-of-action-to-close-guantanamo/. Pax Christi USA is an endorser.

May 29 – National Call-in Day for Justice for Immigrants, http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/index.shtml; Pax Christi USA is an endorser.

June – Torture Awareness Month, http://www.tassc.org and http://www.nrcat.org/

June 3-14 – On the Road to Ground the Drones action in Illinois and Michigan, http://paxchristiusa.org/2014/04/29/drones-on-the-road-to-ground-the-drones-action-june-3-14/

June 27 – Momentum 2014 Event in D.C., http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/momentum-2014/

June 29-July 3 – Starvin for Justice: Fast and Vigil to End the Death Penalty, http://www.abolition.org/fastandvigil/; Pax Christi USA is an endorser.

Quicklinks:

PC Southern California recently showed Brave New Films’ new movie, “Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars,” and shared that its producers would very much like to have viewings at other Pax Christi events. If your region or group is interested, contact Tim Molina at timothy@bravenewfoundation.orgLeona Wieland and members of the Southeastern South Dakota Chapter of Pax Christi hosted a “Take Back the Night Vigil” at the site of a recent murder in Sioux Falls … You can watch the 2014 Vanderhaar Symposium, in honor of PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Gerry Vanderhaar, at this link on YouTubePittsburgh-area Pax Christi hosted PCUSA Ambassador of Peace John Dear earlier this week to talk about nonviolence … Read Pax Christi Metro New York’s Easter reflection … Check out the new video from Campaign Nonviolence … PC Texas member Dave Atwood wrote this reflection about his friendship with a young man on death row … Pax Christi International’s May 2014 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2014 edition of The Peace Current