Earlier today, we learned of the passing of Tom Cornell, long-time Catholic Worker, Catholic peace activist, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and one of the co-founders of Pax Christi USA. Johnny Zokovitch, Pax Christi USA Executive Director, released the following statement:
“All of Pax Christi USA mourn the loss of Tom Cornell, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and one of the co-founders of our movement. Tom’s wit and wisdom, his prophetic edge and challenging witness have been gifts to the Catholic peace and justice movement for over half a century. I had the opportunity to speak with Tom and share his company a handful of times and always came away from those times invigorated by his spirit and more deeply rooted because of his critiques of society and government, but also the Church and our own movement. We’ve loss a tremendous figure and offer our condolences to Monica, his family and all who know and love him.”
Tom began with the Catholic Worker in 1953 and was one of about a dozen people present at the meeting in July 1972 known as the “Pax Christi Affiliation Discussion” which gave birth to Pax Christi USA. Tom also served as one of Pax Christi USA’s first National Council members beginning in 1976, and has been a speaker, mentor and guide to numerous Pax Christi USA members, regions and local groups for many years. Tom was named a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace in 2021 for his contributions made in preaching and practicing gospel nonviolence, peacemaking, reconciliation and justice. He served as a living embodiment to our community and beyond of what it means to live a life rooted in the “peace of Christ”.
Tom Cornell – Presente!
Pictured above: Tom Cornell (L) and others burn their draft cards to protest the Vietnam War, Nov. 1965, Union Square, NYC. (Photo credit: The Plough)
(This page will be updated with an obituary for Tom once it has been published.)
Other quotes regarding Tom from our Pax Christi USA community (and see the comments section below for more):
Jane Morrissey, SSJ, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace: “Tom Cornell farmed for peace, firm for peace, gave form to peace with courage and tenacity, and always with his family gathered around the Risen ONE! May we follow…”
More about Tom:
- Tom Cornell named one of four Ambassadors of Peace in 2021
- A short bio of Tom on our Ambassadors of Peace page
- Commonweal’s interview with Tom in 2014
- Read Tom’s reflection, “Talking Pope Francis and Dorothy Day,” delivered at Pax Christi Hudson Valley’s Mass for Peace in 2013.