We will celebrate Joe Nangle as the 2023 Teacher of Peace on Friday, September 29, starting with a prayer service at 6 PM, followed by an award ceremony and celebration, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Arlington, VA. Join us in person or via livestream!

August 10, 2023

Washington, D.C. — Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, has recognized Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM, as the 2023 recipient of the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace award, its highest honor. Fr. Nangle is well-known for his decades of dedication to the people of God and his commitment to justice, peace, simple living, and service.

“‘Teacher of peace’ is an apt description of Fr. Joe. His life has been lived in mission and service and he has taught first by example and then by words about what justice with peace means,” said Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA. “Inspired by another teacher of peace, Francis of Assisi, Joe has been a vital part of the Assisi community since the beginning in DC; he has drawn together and trained young women and men to be in mission and to be converted by the poor. And in recent years, his reflections for Pax Christi have provided strong, distilled Gospel reflections that are challenging and encouraging to anyone who wants to live God’s peace.”

“The decision of Pax Christi USA to honor Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM as a Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace is both wise and wonderful,” said Marie Dennis, program chair of Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and Pax Christi USA’s 2022 Teacher of Peace. “For more than 50 years, Joe has brought to his writing and to the pastoral work he loves both a deep liberationist spirituality and a careful social analysis informed by his years in Latin America. As a faithful follower of St. Francis, Joe is truly a Teacher of Peace!”

A native of Massachusetts, Fr. Nangle spent 15 years as a missioner in Bolivia and Peru. There, his experience of ministry with Indigenous communities, the Latin American church transformed by Medellin, the influence of Gustavo Gutierrez and liberation theology profoundly affected his spirituality and vocation.

He returned to the U.S. to address the root causes of the oppression and poverty he saw in Latin America. On October 4, 1986, he co-founded the Assisi community in the Petworth neighborhood in Washington, DC, an intentional, faith-based group of lay persons and vowed religious with a focus on simple lifestyle, social justice and witness, which continues to this day. Fr. Nangle served for 12 years as co-director of the Franciscan Mission Service and, from 2011-2017, he was a member of the Provincial Council of the Holy Name province of the Order of Friars Minor. He currently serves in ministry with the Latino community at Our Lady Queen of Peace parish in Arlington, VA.

Photos provided by the NOVA Catholic Community

Fr. Nangle was nominated for this year’s award by several people, including parishioners from Our Lady Queen of Peace. “As a parishioner from Our Lady Queen of Peace since 1992, my family and I have learned what it means to ‘walk the talk’ as we have observed Fr. Joe’s interactions with people of all ages and especially vulnerable populations, listened to his homilies that bring the Gospel alive through contemporary real-life stories, and observed the many times he has been jailed for peaceful resistance,” wrote Karen Gladbach. “At 91 years old, he continues to amaze us with his commitment to working for peace and justice.”

“To receive this honor from Pax Christi USA is at once a great honor and truly humbling,” said Fr. Nangle. “The list of those who have received this award over the 51 years since Pax Christi USA was formed includes historic peacemakers. At a moment like this, one has the feeling of standing on the shoulders of that cloud of witnesses who lived the prayer ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi: ‘Lord, make us instruments of your peace.’”

Fr. Nangle is the author of Birth of a Church, a memoir of his years of mission in Bolivia and Peru, and Engaged Spirituality, and is co-author of Say to This Mountain, a reflection on the Gospel of Mark, and St. Francis and the Foolishness of God, which gives a Franciscan perspective on current issues of poverty, peace, ecology, and interreligious dialogue.

This year’s Teacher of Peace award will be presented to Fr. Nangle at an event later this fall. For a full list of this year’s nominees, click here.

Watch this 2017 video from the Franciscans’ to learn more about Fr. Nangle: A Friar Life: Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM.

Messages of congratulations to Fr. Joe can be posted in the comments section below.

For more information or requests for interviews, please contact:

14 thoughts on “Pax Christi USA recognizes Joe Nangle, OFM with the 2023 Teacher of Peace Award

  1. Way to go, Father Joe! Your consistent teaching of peace and living the Gospel have made you an extraordinarily worthy recipient of the Teacher of Peace award.

  2. Congratulations to Fr Joe, Praise God 🙏. Love and Christ’s Peace be with you always! Fr Joe!
    Debra and Ralph and family of OLQP Catholic Church ❣️

  3. Congratulations, Father Joe. You are so deserving of this award. May God continue to bless you and your work for peace and justice.

  4. Fr Joe is a great teacher of Peace and the word of God. He tells of the teachings of our brother Jesus, and very understandably.

  5. Congratulations to my dear old friend Fr. Joe Nangle on being named Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace! A true long distance runner for Christ’s peace in the world. Joe Fahey

  6. I’m delighted with PCUSA’s choice. Fr. Joe is always there for us, whether it be through an inspirational blog or his in-person witness at events.

  7. Seeing this press release this morning brought a tear. You are so deserving of this honor Joe! Your ministry has impacted my life in so many ways and you are a spiritual mentor and dear friend! Congratulations!

  8. Now this makes my heart sing, Joe! Since I first met you in the 1950s, you have been a loving and steadfast teacher of and witness for peace in all its forms and manifestations. How to express heartfelt gratitude for all you have given and taught us over the decades. Muchas felicidades!

  9. Congratulations my dear Fr. Jose, We are so happy for you, we can’t ever thank you enough for your invaluable teachings.
    Truly a peacemaker!!

  10. Dear Fr. Joe. I was so thrilled to be part of the National Council when you were selected to be our 2023 Teacher of Peace. I admire your work, am inspired by your commitment and read your column which renews my faith. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do in the name of the nonviolent Jesus. May God bless and keep you.

  11. ——-
    Buenos días Padre José💖. Acabo de leerle a mi papi su menaje al recibir el premio de “Maestro de la Paz” y esta es do reacción:

    “Felicidades Padre José, por recibir tan merecido premio, Maestro de la Paz. Meritorio por el esfuerzo y trabajo en pro de nuestra Santa Iglesia y de las comunidades en las cuales ha trabajado. Y más grande la felicitación por el mensaje refiriéndose a la JMJ. Esperamos pronto darle un abrazo fraterno y de mucho amor como nuestro pastor y consejero en nuestra amada iglesia OLQP. Dios lo siga benefícielo iluminándole, dándole sabiduría y mucha salud.”

    Le amamos, Luis, Zoe Muñoz y las generaciones que les siguen!

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