By Joshua McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pax Christi USA, which bills itself as the national Catholic peace movement, has capped a year of transition with the appointment of a new executive director, Notre Dame Sr. Patricia Chappell.

Chappell, a former president of the National Black Catholic Sisters Conference, replaces David Robinson, who had headed the organization since 2001.

Announcement of the appointment came yesterday in a press release. Speaking in a phone conversation with NCR, Chappell said she wants to use her new position to focus on integrating issues of racism with violence and economic injustice.

“We just have to make sure that the anti-racism lens is brought to that conversation along with Catholic social teachings,” said Chappell, a member of the Connecticut province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She said Catholics interested in social justice sometimes seem “fragmented” when it comes to issues of racism.

Chappell’s appointment as the head of Pax Christi comes after a year of change for the peace group, which also moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C., from Erie, Penn., where it has maintained an office since 1986.

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