Morning workshops (11:15 AM -12:45 PM)

1. Supporting a Pathway to Peace in Palestine through the Prism of Justice

Presenters: Abigail Abysalh Metzger, Pax Christi International UN Team, and Nora Carmi, Pax Christi International Board member

Pope Francis said, “Every war stems from an injustice.” This could not be truer than in the context of the ongoing colonial violence inflicted by Israeli forces in occupied Palestine. What is the role of the United States government? What can we, people in the U.S. do at the grassroots level to support Palestinian liberation through peace with justice?

2. Bread Not Stones: Organizing to Redirect Military Spending

Presenters: Beatrice Parwatikar, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and former member of the Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team; Jean Stokan, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and Justice Team for the Sisters of Mercy; and Tom Cordaro, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and former member of the Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team

Join committee members of Bread Not Stones: A Catholic Campaign to Redirect Military Spending to explore ways to educate and organize to reduce our nation’s military spending. As we’re preparing for the midterm elections, advocacy on the local, state, and national levels is urgently needed to ensure everyone’s basic needs are met – not just the corporate good of the military industrial complex. This workshop will highlight actions being taken and give tools to organize against excessive military spending in your local community.

3. Being an LGBTQ Inclusive Peace Movement: Past, Present, and Future 

Presenters: Francis DeBernardo and Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry

This workshop will highlight some Pax Christi USA efforts made towards LGBTQ+ inclusion and justice in its history before focusing on how the organization and its members can further advance reconciliation, recognize the gifts of LGBTQ+ peacemakers, and realize the inclusive movement Pax Christi seeks to be.

4. Race and Class in the United States: Understanding their Intersections

Presenters: Colin Martinez Longmore, Outreach and Education Specialist, and Audrey Carroll, Press Assistant & Social Media Specialist, both at NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

What are the roots of the racial wealth and income gaps in the United States? How does racism affect our economic policy, and vice versa? Join us for an interactive exploration of how the interlocking injustices of white supremacy and capitalism have allowed a select few to thrive while others barely survive. This workshop will help participants dispel claims of U.S. meritocracy and as popular “bootstrap” narratives by providing participants with an opportunity to examine the institutional and political realities of racism.

5. Getting to the Root: Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery

Presenters: Janelle Delorme, francophone Red River Métis activist and drum carrier; Carrie Hansen, co-chair of Pax Christi South Dakota and Justice Contact for the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Melissa Chapman Skinner, Presentation College, advocate and training assistant at Episcopal Church, Indigenous Ministries; and Mary Beth DiMarco, Pax Christi Maine, Maine Episcopal Committee on Indian Relations

Building a world of peace means understanding the root causes of racism, colonialism, and white supremacy. Join Pax Christi USA members and advocates who have worked to publicly repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, a religious document that promoted the racist policy of “discovering” and conquering “new lands’ that were in fact already occupied. 

Drawing from Indigenous and settler perspectives, this session will explore the lived experience of those affected by the Doctrine’s harm. We will offer concrete examples for you to bring back to your chapter or local group on how you can work against the Doctrine of Discovery’s ongoing impact.

6. Thomas Merton: A Model of Unbinding (OFFERED ONLINE and IN-PERSON)

Presenter: Leslye Colvin, Policy Advocate, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Pope Francis describes Thomas Merton as “a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church.” Through her research of Merton, Leslye began to understand this description as the monk and writer became a model of the dynamic relationship between contemplation and activism that unbinds us to live the Gospel of Christ Jesus today – in our time and place. Ponder with Leslye the connection between Merton’s activism and contemplation and its lessons for peacemakers today.

Afternoon workshops (2:00-3:30 PM)

7. Groundswell: Building a sustainable racial justice ministry

Presenters: Cathy Woodson, former Pax Christi USA National Council chair and community organizer; Joan Kennedy, Executive Director of the Hampton (VA) Neighborhood Office; and Abigail Causey, Coordinator of Religious Education at Holy Spirit Catholic Church (VA). Moderated by Vicki Lott, Ph.D., Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team member and consultant with Joyce James Consulting

With the news cameras turned elsewhere and the white anger over George Floyd dissipated, how will it be this different time? In June 2020, lay leaders from across the Diocese of Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy, were called to a 30-week transformative journey with the three JustFaith racism modules that would move their conversation to action. Striving to become a beloved community, this small group evolved into a diocesan-wide ministry that creates intentional relationships, educates itself on the history of racism in the Catholic Church, and chooses the third way of nonviolence to confront racism with love’s powerful force. Learn how Virginia Catholics for Racial Justice is building a groundswell of anti-racists Catholics and how you can stand with them to make effective and sustainable change.

8. Urgency of Now: Environmental Justice, Climate Justice, and the Fight for our Future

Presenter: William Barber III, Director of Climate and Environmental Justice at The Climate Reality Project and founder of The Rural Beacon Initiative; with response from Jose Aguto, Executive Director at the Catholic Climate Covenant. Moderated by Eliane Lakam, Women of Color Advancing Nonviolence

In this workshop, the discussion will explore the history of the U.S. environmental justice movement, the present climate crisis through the lens of impact on frontline communities, and innovative solutions to help facilitate a just transition to a clean energy future. We will also discuss the reclamation of faith and morality as a powerful call to action in our urgency of now.

9. Modern-Day Lynching: Catholics Call for Abolition of the Death Penalty

Presenters: Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Executive Director of the Ohio Council of Churches; Sr. Eileen Reilly, Religious Engagement Associate for the Catholic Mobilizing Network; Art Laffin, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace and member of Journey of Hope… From Violence to Healing.

The death penalty in the U.S. directly descends from lynching, leaving it inherently racialized today. In 2015 when Pope Francis addressed Congress, he called for the abolition of the death penalty, and in 2018 the Catechism of the Catholic Church was revised to state that “the death penalty is inadmissible.” During this workshop, hear from those who have experienced this system firsthand and activists who are organizing for abolition.

10. Practicing Nonviolence: An Interfaith Conversation for Peace and Justice

Presenters: Ibrahim Anli, Executive Director, Rumi Forum (Sufi); Rabbi Gerry Serotta (Jewish); Harunnessa Fariad, Director of Outreach at Multi-faith Neighbors Network, Music Director at The ADAMS BEAT Choir; Roya Bauman, (Bahai), National Center for Youth Law; Dr. Richa Agarwala, Interfaith Outreach Coordinator for the Chinmaya Mission Washington Regional Center (Hindu)

What does weaving peace look like from faith perspectives with different threads? This interfaith workshop will focus on nonviolence as part of the core teachings of one’s faith, highlight the interfaith work that is currently being done with Pax Christi USA, and look forward to where we hope to be in the future. We will explore the necessity of interfaith cooperation in bringing us closer to the peace our world so seriously needs.

11. Nuclear weapons and the budget as a moral document

Presenters: Nick Mele, former State Department diplomat and coordinator of the Nuclear Disarmament Working Group of Pax Christi USA

This interactive workshop will involve participants in exploring basic facts about the nuclear weapons complex and how nuclear weapons spending shapes the discretionary federal budget. Participants will work with these issues through a brief presentation, puzzles and a small group exercise in setting budget priorities.

12. International Perspectives: The Impact of U.S. Foreign Policy across the Globe from Militarization to Forced Migration

Presenters: Members of the Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants and Roxana Bendezú, Pax Christi USA Program Director

During this workshop, we will be joined by members of the Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants* who will be traveling for the second time to cities in the U.S. as well as other social justice leaders representing different regions of the world. They will aid us in connecting the dots about the root causes of international social struggles by offering their analysis based on their own life experiences.

*In 2021, Pax Christi USA partnered with Migrant Roots Media and Puentes de Esperanza in coordination with el Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano to bring to the U.S. for the first time a caravan of mothers and family members whose children had disappeared in the process of crossing the border.

13. Worker Justice: Building a Nonviolent Economy

Presenters: Guests from UNITE HERE labor union, representing workers in the U.S. Senate cafeteria; Clayton Sinyai, Executive Director, Catholic Labor Network; Bob Cooke, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and retired employee of the Machinists Union and the Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Fund; Sister Barbara Finch, CSJ, who was fired (and eventually reinstated) for organizing the medical department of the Allegheny County Jail in 2014. 

From Starbucks to Amazon, workers across the country are organizing. This panel will explore how unions in Catholic Social Teaching are an antidote to coercive relations in the economy.

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