Art Laffin, long-time Catholic Worker, peace activist, named 2016 Teacher of Peace

Pax Christi USA honors Laffin for his personal witness to peace and justice

Art Laffin of the Dorothy Day CW and Pax Christi Metro DC at the march.
Art Laffin, the 2016 recipient of Pax Christi USA’s Teacher of Peace Award.

Washington, D.C.— Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, has recognized Art Laffin, a long-time Catholic Worker based in Washington, D.C., as the 2016 recipient of the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award. Laffin’s selection hearkens back to the original recipient of the Teacher of Peace Award, first given to Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, in 1978. Since then, Pax Christi USA has recognized some of the most significant U.S. Catholic activists for peace and justice of the past 4 decades, including actor Martin Sheen; poet and priest Daniel Berrigan, S.J.; and Dead Man Walking author Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J.

“We are excited to name Art Laffin of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, D.C. as the recipient of the 2016 PCUSA Teacher of Peace Award,” stated Cathy Woodson, Chairperson of the National Council of Pax Christi USA. “Art’s long-standing commitment to the peace of Christ has led him to champion the causes of peace, economic justice, and racial justice. He has worked to end the death penalty and the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. His life is a true example of what it means to ‘teach peace’.”

Art Laffin at Ash Wednesday service in front of the White House.
Art Laffin at Ash Wednesday service in front of the White House.

Laffin has been an organizer, writer and speaker in the faith-based
movement for peace and justice for over 30 years. He has taken part in Plowshares actions, led regular protests at the Pentagon, participated as a member of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation in their Journey of Hope anti-death penalty speaking tours, spoken internationally on numerous issues, and lived among and served the impoverished and marginalized people living in our nation’s capitol.

“I believe [Laffin] … exemplifies the theme ‘to reach peace, teach peace,’ and demonstrates an intentional and sustained effort to challenge and transform racist and sexist attitudes and actions,” wrote Stephen Kobasa in his supporting nomination of Laffin. “[A]fter his decades of advocacy against nuclear weapons, participation in Plowshares actions, international advocacy against the death penalty, countless acts of non-violent civil disobedience against weapons makers, oppressive governments, and on behalf of human rights, witness against racism and sexism in both church and society, life as a believer in a Catholic Worker community located at the center of this country’s institutional madness, writer for journals and newspapers on all aspects of the Catholic social justice tradition, a husband and parent … It is time.”

“I greatly value and am immensely thankful to Pax Christi USA for all that it has done to proclaim the peace of Christ in our world. I am deeply humbled and honored to be nominated, let alone selected, for this special award,” stated Laffin. “Throughout my journey of peacemaking I have tried, however imperfectly, to follow our crucified and risen Savior! Whatever I have been able to do and accomplish I attribute to God’s mercy and amazing grace, the loving steadfast support I have received from my family, and the example of numerous friends whom I have had the privilege to pray, live, serve and resist with, as well as the poor and the victims I have been blessed to accompany. Living in a perilous time where all of life and creation is endangered, I remain committed to and inspired by Jesus and the cloud of witnesses, who beckon us to live and proclaim God’s reign of love, justice and peace.”

The Teacher of Peace award will be presented to Laffin at the Pax Christi USA National Gathering in Linthicum, MD in August. For a full list of this year’s nominees, click here.

For more information or requests for interviews, please contact Johnny Zokovitch, Pax Christi USA’s Director of Communications, at 352-219-8419 or  

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