ASH WEDNESDAY: Ash Wednesday service of repentance at the White House

from Art Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

Ash Wednesday Prayer Service at the White House

When: Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from Noon-1:00 p.m.

Where:White House (north side on Pennsylvania Ave.)

“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15)

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time for personal and societal repentance, a time for radical conversion, renewal and transformation. Living under the brutal occupation of the Roman empire, Jesus declared: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15) Living in the U.S. empire, which is responsible for so much needless death and suffering in our world, we need to heed Jesus’ proclamation now more than ever.

On Ash Wednesday people from the faith-based peace and justice community in the D.C. area will hold a prayer service in front of the White House to call for repentance and conversion of ourselves, our society and our churches to the Gospel way of justice, nonviolence and a reverence for all life and creation. Seeking to eradicate what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism, we call for an end to corporate domination and systemic exploitation and discrimination; debt forgiveness for poor countries, justice for the poor and all immigrants; an end to torture, indefinite detention and the mass incarceration complex; and for the abolition of war and the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good, alleviating poverty and protecting the earth. We commit ourselves to ending all forms of racial hatred and profiling, and demand accountability for those responsible for acts of violence, especially with respect to the killing of so many blacks by white police.

During this Lent, we are also mindful of the imperative to be people of mercy, as Pope Francis has declared in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. We, therefore, call on the U.S. to embrace a spirit of mercy and repent for the violence, death and suffering that it has inflicted on other countries, most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya. We also call on the U.S. to reject the way of revenge and retaliation as a response to conflict and to find ways to make peace with the Islamic State instead of bombing them. We call, too, on the U.S. to halt all arms sales worldwide and to demand an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. And we call for the closure of the nearly 1,000 U.S. military bases worldwide, including new bases being constructed in Jeju Island and Okinawa.

As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has now moved the doomsday clock to three minutes to midnight, because climate change and the danger of nuclear war pose an ever-growing threat to civilization and are bringing the world closer to doomsday, we call for urgent action to be taken to end the climate crisis, safeguard the environment and abolish all nuclear weapons. We call, too, for an end to all U.S. military intervention worldwide, for an end to the U.S. militarization of space, and for the elimination of all weapons–from guns to killer drones.

Let us begin Lent together by joining in this important Ash Wednesday witness as we strive together to make God’s reign of love, justice and peace a reality.

Ashes will be blessed and distributed. Please join us.

For more info contact Art Laffin of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: artlaffin@hotmail.com.

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