Dear Friends of Pax Christi USA,
When the Risen Jesus appeared to his disciples gathered together in a closed room, he greeted them with a message of peace and breathed the Holy Spirit on them, commissioning them to offer the forgiveness of sins. The wounds on his hands, feet and side were the identifying features on his glorified body. The disciples knew that Jesus who had suffered violence and torture on the cross was still marked by that experience, but had conquered it in his resurrection. His return from death was not to seek revenge, or retaliation against those who harmed them, but rather to promote peace through forgiveness and reconciliation.
Each time I celebrate mass, I greet the assembly with the words of the Risen Christ, “Peace be with you!” In our violent and troubled world, I know that these words have the power to heal for it is the peace of Christ, Pax Christi, that is so needed in the world today.
As I write these words we are hearing reports of rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the not so subtle hints of possible escalation to the point of war. Even as we pray and work for diplomatic solutions to this crisis abroad, there is vast economic disparity, racism, and political polarization that leads to rising tensions and violence within the United States. In the face of such violence, we must continually announce the Christian alternative to war and the path of nonviolence demonstrated by the Risen Christ.
Pope Francis has taught us that “Violence is not the cure for our broken world. Countering violence with violence leads at best to forced migrations and enormous suffering, because vast amounts of resources are diverted to military ends and away from the everyday needs of young people, families experiencing hardship, the elderly, the infirm and the great majority of people in our world. At worst, it can lead to the death, physical and spiritual, of many people, if not of all.” (World Day of Peace, 2017).
Please join me, Pope Francis, and the many voices of Pax Christi USA to work for the conversion of hearts and the transformation of structures. Support the prayer, study and action of Pax Christi USA as we strive to create the beloved community of peacemakers by giving online today at paxchristiusa.org/donate or by sending a check to 415 Michigan Ave. NE, Suite 240, Washington DC, 20017.
We need extra support as Pax Christi USA is transitioning to welcome a new executive director. Pax Christi USA is grateful to Sister Patty Chappell who has been elected to the leadership team of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Sister Patty worked tirelessly as the executive director of Pax Christi USA to diversify the membership and to help us all see the interconnection of racism and violence in our country and globally. With gratitude for her leadership, we especially need your help as we ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance in selecting a new executive director.
Thank you for continuing to financially support the work of Pax Christi USA in this time of new beginnings and this time when the work for peace is so urgent by giving any financial contribution today. Checks may be sent to 415 Michigan Ave. NE, Suite 240, Washington DC, 20017.
Peace and all good,
Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv.
Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA
Bishop of Lexington