Let peace begin with you

We bring peace into the world when we have peace in our hearts. Negativity and war cannot penetrate a person at peace, and violence is stopped in its tracks when it meets a person unwilling to engage in or perpetuate it.

A focus on being peace is one of the most important things we can do for the peace movement. A spirituality of nonviolence means union with God that allows a wellspring of creation. Co-creation with God allows for beauty, love, life, and energy. When we plug into our source we cannot help but create a life and world of goodness, and life flows with ease.

Prayer and meditation are invaluable for us peace activists. That’s why we at Pax Christi USA are dedicated to providing reflection booklets for the seasons of Advent and Lent. They are currently available by pre-order only.

book cover  Reconciliation with Justice cover

Journey Towards Justice: Reflections for Advent & Christmas 2016 is available for order through September 18.

Reconciliation with Justice: Reflections for Lent 2017 is available for order through January 10, 2017.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with” you! We hope these reflection booklets serve that purpose for you. They are only available by pre-order so order today!

Contact our Resources Coordinator, Lori Nemenz, if you have any questions about your order.

 

 

Believing…

by Rocco Puopolo, s.x.

dead tree

 

Ishallah – God is Great
Islam  –  Surrender
Barakah  –  Give thanks
Credo  –  I believe.

The light of greatness
shines forth ….
as darkness.

Aren’t they the same?

The silence and depth of the wound…
makes space for the fullness of God.

And so…

I stand beneath a tree
long dead
and displaced
whose dry wood has become the gibbet of another’s death.

And as he dies, his blood moistens the wood
which lost its sap
in other times and other places.

I don’t stand alone,
for there are many who witness the deaths that strike us dumb.

But
God is bigger than us, my friend,
and here we see God’s power.
And we are many.

Ishallah,
Islam,
Barakah,
Credimus,

we believe…..

Put yourself in the shoes of a refugee

pope_refugee_lunch

by Tony Magliano

Imagine, right now at this very moment you and your loved ones need to run for your lives!

With hardly more than the clothes on your backs, you and your family must flee from an invading armed force.

Or imagine your quick exodus is due to the fact that gang members have threatened to kill your family because your teenage son or grandson has refused to join their murderous drug gang.

Or imagine that because of your religion, race, nationality, political belief or membership in a particular social group you and your family are being persecuted.

So, you decide that despite the very dangerous risks involved, the only reasonable hope you and your family have is to move as quickly as possible towards somewhere, anywhere, where life is safer than where you’re at now.

That’s exactly what more than 65 million desperate people have done.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) recent Global Trends 2015 report, 65.3 million people were displaced by the end of 2015 — greater than the combined population of Canada, New Zealand and Australia. On average 34,000 people per day were forced to flee from their homes in 2015, that’s four times more than a decade earlier. And there appears to be no end in sight to this nightmare.

Last year well over 3 million fellow human beings sought emergency asylum in foreign countries, while more than 40 million people were displaced within their own country — the highest number of asylum seekers and internally displaced people in history, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (You can view the Global Trends 2015 video here.)

Read the rest of this article at ncronline.org

 

Pax Christi USA members meet in Baltimore and help in cleanup

by Erik Zygmont
ezygmont@CatholicReview.org
Twitter: @ReviewErik

A heat index above 100 did not deter dozens from across the country from dropping in on West Baltimore Aug. 13 to participate in the ongoing effort of building the “beloved community.”

Popularized by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the concept – in which bigotry and strife are replaced by inclusiveness and harmony – served as a reflection point for Pax Christi USA at its 2016 national gathering, held Aug. 12-14 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Baltimore in Linthicum Heights.

The weekend included workshops and lectures zeroing in on the intersection between racial justice and other injustices associated with environmental destruction, the U.S. criminal justice system, militarism, immigration and Islamaphobia.

catholic review picture
Pax Christi USA National Conference member and Minnesota native, Katherine Wojtan, performs social justice in  in West Baltimore Aug 13.  (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)

“We build the beloved community by having bold conversations that lead to transformative actions,” said Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Patricia Chappell, executive director of Pax Christi USA, a national Catholic movement for peace and opposed to racism and war. “There has to be a transformation in our attitudes, a transformation in our behavior, and a transformation in our actions.”

To get a taste for such actions, the majority of the gathering’s 125 participants helped clean two large vacant lots on the 900 block of N. Carrollton St., located in Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, the scene of Freddie Gray Jr.’s arrest as well as the brunt of the unrest that followed his death of injuries sustained while in police custody in April 2015.

The Pax Christi volunteers mowed overgrown grass and weeds and filled dozens of trashbags with broken glass and other debris.

Lightening their workload were members of the No Boundaries Coalition – a resident-led advocacy organization focused on bringing unity to Central West Baltimore – who got a several-hour head-start on the work.

“A lot of people talk, or this or that,” said Samirah Franklin, a youth organizer, “but No Boundaries just does it.”

The organization’s office is located at St. Peter Claver Parish, a couple blocks north of the cleanup site. Josephite Father Ray Bomberger, the pastor, was out with the morning No Boundaries crew, pruning the hardwoods on the vacant lots.

“It’s transformative,” said Ray Kelly, director of community relations for No Boundaries and a pastoral council member at St. Peter Claver, of the effort. “This is doing what you have to do to make your neighborhood a certain way.”

Kelly briefed the Pax Christi volunteers as they arrived, pointing out that the drug activity native to the block had vanished as community members arrived with cleanup gear.

“We appreciate you guys coming out,” he added. “Now, get to work.”

Sister Patricia said that it was important for Pax Christi to partner with a community group “already on the ground, trying to empower the people of their own neighborhood.”

“With Pax Christi USA being a predominantly white organization, we didn’t want to come into the neighborhood and be perceived as a ‘great white hope,’” she explained.

catholic review 2
Pax Christi USA Executive Director and Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Patricia Chappell, works with Jackson, Mississippi native Raymond Barry, as part of a social justice project in the 900 block of N. Carrollton Ave., in West Baltimore Aug. 13. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)

Read the rest of this article at catholicreview.org

A Mother’s Love, After Hiroshima

by Kathleen Burkinshaw

“Someday, the voices of the hibakusha will no longer be with us to bear witness. But the memory of the morning of August 6, 1945, must never fade. That memory allows us to fight complacency. It fuels our moral imagination. It allows us to change.”

President Obama said these words standing in front of the cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Parkon May 27. At that moment, the debates about why he should or should not visit Hiroshima and what he should or should not do there no longer mattered to me. As the daughter of a hibakusha, a survivor of the Hiroshima attack, I was grateful that the president paid respect to the victims who died that day, to those who lived, and to those who continue to live, being victims to their memories of August 6.

My mother, Toshiko Ishikawa, was a 12-year-old girl in Hiroshima the day the atomic bomb was dropped. She was young enough to not quite grasp why it happened, yet old enough to never forget what happened. My mother lost her family, friends, and home, yet she never lost her ability to love.

My mother moved to the United States in 1959 and shortly after that became a US citizen. My mother did not hold hatred; instead she hoped that such a weapon would never be used again on any country. I have presented her experience to middle schools for the past six years, so students would understand there’s more to August 6th and 9th than the textbook picture of the mushroom cloud and a few sentences stating the bomb ended the war. By telling her story to a new generation of future voters, I hope I am honoring her wish and making her proud.

I wrote my middle-grade historical fiction,The Last Cherry Blossom, when teachers inquired if I had a book that they could add to their class reading list to complement my discussion. The Last Cherry Blossom published this month. It’s a bittersweet time for me. My mom passed away in January 2015. However, she did read the latest draft (at that time) of the manuscript, and she knew it would be published.

Read the whole article at thebulletin.org

 

Press Release: Pax Christi USA Hosts National Gathering on Racial Justice

For Immediate Release: August 4, 2016
Contact: Rachel Schmidt, rschmidt@paxchristiusa.org, 202-635-2741 x3311

Pax Christi USA Hosts National Gathering on Racial Justice
Includes Workshops, Public Witness Event, & Teacher of Peace Award

Baltimore, MD—Pax Christi USA will host its 2016 national gathering, “Building the Beloved Community,” August 12-14 at the DoubleTree Hilton – BWI Airport. The theme of the event is racial justice.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘the aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community,” Sr. Patricia Chappell, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA said. “Especially with recent violence towards people of color in the U.S. – a focus on racial justice and the beloved community is sorely needed.”

Many educational opportunities will be provided. Dr. Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners will be one of the keynote speakers with a presentation titled, ““Racial Injustice and the Personal and Systemic Transformation Needed in Creating the Beloved Community.” Workshops include presentations on the intersection of racial justice with militarism, care for the earth, immigration, Islamophobia and criminal justice.

A time for action and communal dialogue will take place with a public witness event on August 13 from 2 – 5pm in partnership with the No Boundaries Coalition of Central West Baltimore. It will include a neighborhood clean-up and block party at 900 – 1000 N. Carrollton St. Baltimore, MD.

The Teacher of Peace Award will be presented to Art Laffin August 14, 10:30am. “We look forward to recognizing Art with this award,” Chappell said. “Art has worked consistently throughout his life for peace with justice. We are blessed to have his example.”

Laffin is a member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington D.C. For nearly four decades, he has been an organizer, writer and speaker in the faith-based, nonviolent, movement for peace, social justice and the eradication of poverty and war. Laffin is co-author of The Risk of the Cross and co-editor of Swords into Plowshares.

For media inquiries or interviews, contact Rachel Schmidt, Communications Coordinator at rschmidt@paxchristiusa.org or 202-635-2741 x3311.

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Pax Christi USA (PCUSA) is the national Catholic movement for peace. Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, PCUSA is a membership organization that rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism.

Join Us for Our Public Witness

We are partnering with the No Boundaries Coalition for a commUNITY clean up and block party. Everyone is welcome to attend. We hope to see you there!

Share with all your friends and family.

public witness picture