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 PEACE AWARDS: Journalist and writer Susan Perretti and Bethpage High School teacher/advisor Jacqueline Jill Rito were given the PCLI Peace Award for 2012 on April 21 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Manhasset. Susan and Jacqueline, members of PCLI, were honored for their work in bringing the message of peace from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers to Long Island. Jacqueline first heard of the Afghan Youth from reading about them on the PCUSA website and speaking with Amy Watts who was coordinating PCUSA’s relationship with the Afghan youth. At the award event, there was a great phone conversation between people from  5 or 6 countries, moderated by PCUSA Teacher of Peace Kathy Kelly.The AYPV developed the Global Days of Listening program, which enables conversations between ordinary people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Egypt and an expanding list of other countries. Also honored were three students from Bethpage High School, Leila Dastgheib-Beheshti, Holly Josephs and Shawn Mehrzad for their efforts in presenting the Global Days of Listening at their high school, at Adelphi University, and at the United Nations.

Pax Christi Long Island's 2012 Peacemaker Awards
Jacqueline Jill Rito ( left) and Susan Perretti received Pax Christi Long Island’s 2012 Peacemaker Awards. Their blue scarves are a symbol of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, reminding us we are all united under one blue sky.

PEACE AWARD PRESENTED TO PAX CHRISTI NEW JERSEY: From “New Jersey Peace Action (NJPA) will host its 55th anniversary dinner on Sunday, April 29, at the Regency House, 140 Route 23 North, Pompton Plains. NJPA is working to end torture, close Guantanamo Bay Prison, and stand up for the civil liberties of all, including the American Muslim community. As part of this campaign, Captain James ‘Yusuf’ Yee will speak on ‘9/11 and Guantanamo: The Struggle for Justice Ten Years Later.’ David Mortensen, a resident of Rockaway Township, will present the Sylvia and Oscar Ackelsberg Peace Award to Pax Christi New Jersey at the annual dinner. He is also a member of the Multifaith Peace and Justice and Alliance and the August 9th Saving Lives Task Force, two organizations working with New Jersey Peace Action to help bring lasting peace and justice to the world. ‘I am honored to be asked to give an award to Pax Christi New Jersey, one of our sister organizations that is making a difference in the cause of peace,’ said Mortensen. Read more by clicking here.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR ON THE DEATH PENALTY: The Catholic Sun featured a letter from Deacon Paul Hursch expressing the sentiments of Pax Christi-Phoenix members who pray and witness for the abolition of the death penalty.  Deacon Hursch wrote, in part, “I was heartened to see the article affirming our Church’s position on capital punishment (‘Forgive us as we forgive others,’  The Catholic Sun, March 15). Many Catholics do not consider these state sanctioned homicides as an affront to our Church’s prohibition against the unnecessary destruction of human life.  Most Catholics affirm the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death, but make an exception for the people on death row.  Somehow these lives don’t merit God’s forgiveness, but rather the most severe punishment. My firsthand experience has proven this wrong.  The three men whom I have visited on death row over the past 10-plus years are men whose lives have been changed through the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God…”

PC-Arizona members against the death penalty
PC-Phoenix coordinator Dan Wolford tables at a vigil against the death penalty.

PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK COORDINATOR ADDRESSES THE PAX CHRISTI AGENDA: In an op-ed piece for The Huffington Post, PC-Metro NY coordinator Rosemarie Pace wrote about the Pax Christi Agenda:” In the April 14 issue of The Tablet, the newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, there was a letter in the ‘Readers’ Forum’ that was titled ‘The Pax Christi Agenda.’ Having been a member of Pax Christi for nearly 25 years and having been Director of Pax Christi Metro New York for nearly 12 of those 25 years, I thought I was pretty familiar with Pax Christi’s agenda, but I could not recognize it in that letter. It made me realize that there’s an awful lot of misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Pax Christi out there that begs to be informed. Consequently, I offer this description of the Pax Christi ‘agenda’ for all who might be curious. Pax Christi was founded by Bishop Pierre Marie Theas and Marie-Marthe Dortel Claudot in France at the end of WWII for reconciliation between France and Germany; hence, its first and foremost agenda item to this day is reconciliation… Read the entire article by clicking here.

Mary Lea Palo Zamora
Mary Lea Palo Zamora

PAX CHRISTI FLORIDA STATE COUNCIL MEMBER PASSES: From the PC-Florida website: “It is with a very heavy heart that we inform you that Mary Lea Zamora, long-time member of Pax Christi Florida and Pax Christi Northeast FL and former member of PCF’s council, entered into eternal life Tuesday, April 24th at 9:45 a.m. Ron, her dearest friend and devoted husband, was at her side. Mary Lea showed all of us not only how to live well but also how to die with great acceptance, courage, and grace… We, who knew and loved this exceptional woman, are certain that the gates of heaven were flung wide open at her arrival. Until we meet again gentle and holy woman: Mary Lea Zamora … Presente!”

PAX CHRISTI TEXAS REMEMBERS LONG TIME MEMBER: David Atwood wrote the following tribute to Dr. Ellen Burns who died in Houston on December 5  at the age of 91. “I first met Ellen when she moved to Houston to work in the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Office in 1992 (at the age of 72!). She soon joined the local Pax Christi group and later helped found the Houston Peace and Justice Center.  Ellen’s activism included protests against nuclear weapons, advocacy for Latino immigrants, stronger gun control laws, abolition of the death penalty, and protests against the School of the Americas.  She set a shining example of putting one’s faith into action. When Ellen retired from the Catholic Archdiocese in 2002, she said, ‘I was never inactive….I don’t know how God gives me all this energy.’ We will miss Ellen’s energy, determination and courage.  Read more on the PC-Texas website.

Upcoming Events:

PC-Arizona will be holding the first Regional Dialog with members of PCUSA national leadership on May 12 at the Phoenix Archdiocesan Pastoral Center. Contact Margaret Wolford for more information at

May 17 is DREAM Day of Action, sponsored by United We Dream in support of the DREAM Act.

PC-Illinois will be participating in the Unity March for Justice and Reconciliation at the NATO Summit in Chicago, May 20. PC-Illinois will host a Mass and a meet-up to march together. Contact PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Tom Cordaro at for more information.

PC-El Paso hosts PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Fr. John Dear, SJ on May 24 at St. Pius X Catholic Church Community Center. Click here for more info.


Pax Christi Metro New York coordinator remembers support of Mary’s Pence … Mary Mitchell promotes Pax Christi in a letter to the editor on Afghanistan … Reddit post from a workshop presenter at Pax Christi Michigan’s state conference … featured a story on PCUSA being a signatory to a letter asking the President Obama to ban land mines … Central MA Pax Christi held a retreat with the theme “The Power of Forgiveness and Reconciliation” on April 14 with Marie Dennis, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns … Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis featured in Catholic Free Press article on war with Iran … Read Pax Christi International’s May newsletterJustFaith Ministries in collaboration with Pax Christi USA just released a special 12 session module for small groups on “Just Peacemaking.” There is a special discount for Pax Christi local groups wanting to purchase the module … PCUSA is seeking an Associate Director of Development

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