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.

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 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

Pax Christi New Jersey members protesting deportations. (photo courtesy of
PC New Jersey members protesting deportations. (photo from
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

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,

March 14-16 – Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space conference in Santa Barbara, CA,

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

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,

March 24 – Archbishop Romero assassinated, 1980

March 27 – Vanderhaar Symposium with Malik Yakini in Memphis, TN,

March 28-29 – Friends of Sabeel North America Conference in Philadelphia,

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,!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;

March 30 – PC-New Jersey is co-hosting “Remembering Archbishop Romero” from 2-5pm, at Saint Peter’s University; contact 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,

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 for more info

May 3 – Regional Dialogue with Pax Christi Metro D.C.-Baltimore,


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

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

  1. To: conscientious objector: March 27, 2014

    James Vernon McVay, plead guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder in the July 2011 death of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein.  Jurors are currently being interviewed to hear the penalty phase of the  case  and will decide whether Mr. McVay is eligible for  a sentence of death or life in prison without parole. The law of  South Dakota requires only that they consider a death sentence, not issue one,  a death penalty is not mandatory in a murder case. Jurors who are conscientious objectors are denied jury duty.  The judge  appears to insist that jurors be willing to impose the death penalty. Stating, he  wants “middle of the road’ jurors. The public defender asks for the requirement ‘to consider the death penalty’ be met. The trial is being held at Minnehaha Court House, 425 N. Dakota Ave. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 57104.
    Mr. McVay has a 20 year  history of being incarcerated and committing crime. He escaped during a previous incarceration.  He was interviewed by the Secret Service two (2) years prior to this crime for threats to V.P. Joe Biden.  He was incarcerated in the state of Nebraska , transferred to the South Dakota State Penitentiary.  His  prison records did not follow him.
     He was subjected to isolation for two(2) months.  Juan Mendez, the (UN) United Nation’s special rapporteur on torture is of the opinion that no mentally ill inmate should be locked up alone. Prison officials have acknowledged Mr. McVay as being mentally ill.
     He was put on parole, seen by a case manager, evaluated by a mental health professional, met with a release coordinator. He was transferred to the community transition program on June 30th.
    On the morning of July 1st — the day he killed Maybelle Schein — he walked away from custody. ‘He  was sleep-deprived, under the influence of drugs, alcohol and influenced by his psychosis…thus statements were not voluntary.’ His  public defender, lawyer Traci Smith  stated. Mr, McVay had told police officers and a Madison TV reporter about the murder and his presidential assassination plot after being read his Miranda Rights. He also stated plans to murder again and again.  At the time of arrest he stated he would do whatever necessary to receive the death penalty.  Mr. McVay has since shown remorse, said “I’m sorry’ to a perspective juror who knew the victim.  
    The only way to demonstrate your objection to this death penalty is to attend the trial in person; before the jury, once it is seated. You will not be able to voice this during court.  Your reputation, belief as a conscientious objector and/or your celebrity may be able to convey to the jury your opinion, and hopefully influence them. If you wish to stand up for this man, please contact me at (818)939-4004 or (605)731-8539 for details on the trial start date. If you are unable to attend, please ask others to do so. If you’d like more details pls call.  sincerely & briefly,  Pat Hyle 3511 S. Gateway blvd #110 Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57106. Please wear something orange to court, as Mr. Mcvay does while incarcerated in prision.

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