2020 has been a year like no other—never have we faced a swarm of crises of this magnitude in modern-day history. Widespread systemic racism, a deadly universal pandemic, unlawful killings by police, disappearances of parents of migrant children after border separation, a chain of devastating climate disasters, warlike attacks by armed right-wing militia, and contentious and hostile U.S. elections have wreaked havoc across the nation and world. The winter moments that we find ourselves living, painful as they may be, can also be a time of an Advent awakening of the Wonder of God acting with and among us.
Pax Christi USA recognizes that each of us is contributing to the building and strengthening of our peace movement—modeling what it means to remain watchful and alert—always ready to respond and to act peacefully in situations of injustice which endanger our communities and the common home we share.
Many of us were astounded as COVID-19 exposed a long history of systemic racism and social inequities among communities of color. We have been prompted to do some agonizing soul-searching—to look both inward and outward and to take ownership of our shared silence surrounding systemic, structural, and institutional racism endangering the very people whose dignity we aim to protect.
“Vigilance,” Pope Francis tells us, “means paying attention to our neighbor in difficulty and allowing their need to draw us in.” Amid humanity’s winter moments of immense loss, fear, and uncertainty, the God of Wonder, acting with and among us is at play. Pax Christi USA, as mirrored in each of us, undertakes Jesus’s daily summon to be watchful and alert to the suffering and injustice in the world.
As Pax Christi USA, we are raising our voices of anger and sorrow at the senseless and brutal killings of Walter Wallace, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others before them in viral acts of unity—demanding that the lawbreakers be brought to justice. We are standing in solidarity, led by our African American sisters and brothers, protesting side-by-side and stating unequivocally that Black Lives DO Matter. We are refusing to forget those dreadful days in early August, 75 years ago, when the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we are working with national and international partners for a global ban on nuclear weapons. We are advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable in our communities and persistently calling on government leaders to prioritize the urgent needs of those being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Our collective, uninterrupted Gospel commitment to becoming an anti-racist, multicultural, gender-inclusive movement for peace and justice moves us to a common analysis of the social ills of our times. Together we are creating a more equitable, compassionate, just, and reflective world not only for the present but for future generations—a world where all will have life and have it more abundantly. This deep global transformation, Pope Francis reminds us in Fratelli Tutti, is necessary in rebuilding a post-pandemic world and creating systems prioritizing the community and the poor.
As we ready ourselves for this unusual Advent season and rediscover the gentle and nonviolent Jesus in our midst, Pax Christi USA thanks you for taking a stand for peace and active nonviolence and for being watchful and alert in situations of injustice. Like many of you, we have felt the repercussions of the pandemic on our financial situation as well. As this year comes to a close, we need your support to continue to build our movement. If you have the means, I hope you’ll click here and take a moment now to give what you can to support Pax Christi USA with an end-of-the-year donation.
I cannot thank you enough for your trust and your generosity. I hope this is a season of peace for you and for all the world.
In Advent peace,
Dianna Ortiz, OSU
Deputy Director, Pax Christi USA