Wednesday, October 2, 2019
The International Day of Nonviolence

Dear friends,

It has been just over a week since I began in the position of Executive Director at Pax Christi USA. I want to send a note of thanks to all of you who have taken the time to welcome me back “into the fold” following my three-and-a-half years at Pax Christi International. I am so grateful for all of your emails, phone calls and messages of welcome and congratulations and the offers to help in continuing to grow our movement. 

It has been almost thirty years since I was first introduced to Pax Christi by Becky Stringer of Pax Christi Florida, my supervisor at the placement site for my year of volunteer service following college graduation. She invited me to attend a retreat being facilitated by Dan Berrigan. One of the great privileges and joys of my lifetime was meeting and hearing Dan that weekend, leading to a handful of times over the next twenty years that visits with Dan would lead me more deeply into understanding and following Jesus’s way of peace and nonviolence.

10-2-19 withDanBerrigan
Johnny rocking the tie-dye and timidly approaching Dan Berrigan for the first time with a scripture question at a Pax Christi Florida retreat in 1991

From that first retreat through years of campus organizing for Pax Christi USA and then 15 years on the national staff, Pax Christi USA has been a home for me-and the people who make up this extraordinary movement have been like family to me. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to be part of this movement and to have this opportunity to serve alongside all of you.

As I get started, I want to especially invite you to reach out and share with me your experience of and hopes for Pax Christi USA. I want to know why you are part of this movement, what directions and opportunities you want to see us embrace, what incredible work you and your groups and regions are already doing to embody the “peace of Christ” in our world today, and what challenges you face in living out our shared commitment to justice and nonviolence. Email me at and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.

I think that it is apropos that I’m writing to you today, the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, dedicated as the International Day of Nonviolence by the United Nations. As a movement, we promote and put into practice the spirituality of nonviolence. It is at the heart of who we are. I’m looking forward to how we together can live out the power of nonviolence and help change our world. Thanks for all your support of Pax Christi USA and of me personally. I am so excited for the journey ahead!

In peace,
Johnny Zokovitch
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

PS: And no letter from the Executive Director is ever complete without a pitch for financial help (smile)! If you have the means and can make a donation today, I hope you will! Click here to give quickly and securely. Thanks!

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