by Johnny Zokovitch
Pax Christi USA Executive Director
The beginning of May is the 1.5 year mark for me since coming back to Pax Christi USA to serve as Executive Director, and that time has been a real whirlwind. We’ve spent most of this time under a pandemic, lived through a bitter election that led to an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and witnessed the power of the Black Lives Matter movement to challenge the racial inequity and injustice that has defined our nation from its very beginnings.
We’ve also seen significant changes within our own community: our growing digital presence, communications outreach and finding new ways to gather as a community; the expansion of our national staff; the burgeoning efforts of the Pax Christi Young Adult Caucus; new programs & projects (and the renewal of some older ones!); and greater participation in the international movement of which we are a part — just to name a few ways we’re growing and developing.
What I most hope that you see and experience, however, is something which doesn’t change — namely our commitment to PRAYER, STUDY & ACTION. Since my first encounter with Pax Christi USA, our central methodology for living out our discipleship to the nonviolent Jesus and the practice of a faith that seeks justice and promotes peace has been our movement’s deep roots in prayer, study and action.
As we worked on the general plan for 2021, I tried to capture what each of these look like for us as a community. For me our commitment to prayer means the promotion of a spirituality of nonviolence and peacemaking and rooting ourselves in an ethic of reconciliation with justice. Our commitment to study begins with the incorporation of an anti-racist lens to the issues we address, focusing on and examining root causes, and employing Catholic Social Teaching’s wisdom. And our commitment to action begins with a program of building community — both local faith communities of resistance and mutual support (our local groups) and a national community connecting all the constituent elements of our movement together — as well as organizing for concrete social change. These definitions, of course, aren’t exhaustive, but they help me to keep my eyes attuned to the big picture of who we are, who we belong to, what we’re called to do, and how we do it. I hope you feel this energy and hope alive in our movement today.
Read here for a few highlights of this upcoming month, including our latest study circle on the new book on Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church by our July 2021 National Conference keynote speaker, Olga Segura. And we’ve changed how you can donate to Pax Christi USA for those of us who prefer not to use PayPal! You spoke and we listened! Check it out (and give!)!
Peace to you and, as always, my deepest thanks!