We must never grow weary of working to support the principal international legal instruments of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons [TPNW].

Pope Francis, November 2019, Japan

January 22, 2023 is the second anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). “Entry into force” means that the treaty’s provisions are binding in the 68 nations that have ratified the treaty; 30 other countries are moving through their ratification processes. 

From the UN: “The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) includes a
comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities.
These include undertakings not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile,
use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. The Treaty also prohibits the deployment of
nuclear weapons on national territory and the provision of assistance to any State in the
conduct of prohibited activities.”

Why is the TPNW important?

  • On January 22, 2021, the TPNW made nuclear weapons illegal under international law. This is worth celebrating at every opportunity – it helps to inform U.S. Catholics and other citizens about the treaty and its provisions and to inspire progress toward U.S. recognition of this new reality.
  • It stigmatizes nuclear weapons, which can increase calls to abolish these weapons.
  • The treaty also prohibits the manufacturing of nuclear weapons so countries which have ratified the treaty are in the process of divesting from companies that produce nuclear weapons.

What can we do?

Here are ideas for Pax Christi members and groups to use as a starting point for the TPNW second anniversary on January 22:

  • Arrange webinars and in-person events about the treaty and nuclear abolition in connection with the anniversary. See examples of local events, many of which are being held in coalition with other peace groups. 
  • Since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday falls on the Monday before January 22, take advantage of the opportunity to highlight the links that Dr. King made between racism, militarism and poverty.
  • Hold public prayer vigils on January 22.
  • Continue to fast and pray on your own and in community for nuclear abolition.
  • Arrange parish dialogues based on Archbishop John Wester’s pastoral letter, Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace.
  • Ask your diocesan finance council to divest from any companies manufacturing or funding nuclear weapons (see Don’t Bank on the Bomb for a list).
  • Become active in Back from the Brink (BftB), an initiative of Prevent Nuclear War; Pax Christi USA is a coalition member.
  • Kick off small group discussions of the book, The Risk of the Cross, a five-part study of Gospel nonviolence in the nuclear age; and
  • Write, call or visit your federal representatives in Congress urging them to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

In addition to the resources on the Pax Christi USA website, more signs, banners and resources are available here.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will update the Doomsday Clock on January 24, 10 AM EST.

Prayers for peace and nuclear disarmament

Hiroshima, 1945. Photograph: A Peace Memorial Museum Handout/EPA

Share your own ideas in the comment section below to let the national office know what your local group or region is doing to celebrate the anniversary.

Examples of local events, many in coalition with other peace groups:

New York, NY

  • Pax Christi New York State has endorsed the Roses to Mission action (January 17-19) in which members will attempt to visit nine UN missions of newly ratifying TPNW countries and deliver a rose in gratitude.
  • A rally will be held on January 20 at 1 PM at the United States Mission (45th Street/First Avenue) to celebrate the TPNW. Gather at the 42nd Street Main Library at noon.

Bellingham, WA

  • Pax Christi and a local group affiliated with Washington Against Nuclear Weapons will observe the TPNW anniversary with a vigil in front of the local Federal Building on Friday, January 20.

Silver Spring, MD

  • On Sunday, January 22, members of Pax Christi-St. John the Baptist will vigil outside the church between the 9 AM and 11:30 AM Masses to mark the second anniversary of the TPNW, distribute flyers, and pray for peace. 12319 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD.

Amplify your message: Take a photo of your event and send it to jcoode AT paxchristiusa.org.

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