In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness & the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
~from the gospel reading from Christmas Eve, Luke 1:79
Throughout this past year, we’ve seen over and over again what happens when colonial and imperial mindsets that are aiding white nationalism come before understanding, justice, and community. During the insurrection, white nationalists were seen carrying religious symbols; in our Church, favor remains toward white, straight, cisgender men, limiting full-participation to only those who fall within prescribed standards; and this past summer, the uncovering of mass graves belonging to Indigenous children forced a sorrow beyond reckoning. Globally, the pandemic has only exacerbated already-existing inequities, and the climate crisis continues to worsen while the nations with the largest impact are only further participating in a charade that will lead to human extinction. And at our 2021 National Conference, we heard Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Fr. Bryan Massingale challenge us that “white nationalism is the gravest threat to peace” and it is impossible to separate white nationalism from colonization.
The experiences, thoughts, systems, and institutions that most people living in the United States share are direct results of colonization. Catholics who continue to benefit from these have a responsibility of acknowledging the atrocities done in the name of their religion. Taking action and bringing justice to communities that have been affected by these processes is a moral obligation of all Catholics.
Throughout Advent, as we are prayerfully awaiting the coming of Jesus, we commit to this process of learning and unlearning the ways that both our internal and external spaces have been colonized. Advent is an invitation to the work of decolonization. Jesus, our Emmanuel, our “God-with-us” is coming with the promise of liberation at the end of this season, and we take up this work in anticipation of continuing his work of liberation.
Let our prayer, study, and action be the tools that decolonize our minds, our culture, our Church, and the world. Let us join together the season of Advent to pray, study, and act for a decolonized Church and world.
To learn more about the legacy of colonization in the United States of America, consider exploring the following resources:
- An overview of the Doctrine of Discovery by the Upstander Project
- Rethinking Thanksgiving Toolkit by Showing Up for Racial Justice
REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAYS AND HOLY DAYS
Below you’ll find reflections selected from this year’s Advent-Christmas reflection booklet as well as others from a variety of authors of past reflection booklets. Reflections for each upcoming Sunday will be posted typically on the preceding Tuesday, with Holy Days and other days of observance throughout Advent and Christmas posted regularly as well. We’ll also be sending our weekly Advent emails directly to your inbox if you’re subscribed to our free email service. (Click here to sign up if you are not already subscribed to our free email service.)
- First Sunday of Advent, November 28, by Doris Donnelly
- Second Sunday of Advent, December 5, by Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU
- Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, December 8, by Marie Dennis
- Advent, Christmas & Epiphany Prayers and Rituals for Families, Small Groups, includes Advent wreath rituals, Christmas tree blessings, Epiphany blessing and more…
PRAY-STUDY-ACT DURING ADVENT
Each week, we’ll be crafting a special Pray-Study-Act e-bulletin (PSA) with resources for us all to use and to act on in common.
- PSA e-bulletin for Thanksgiving, Nov. 25 through the First Week of Advent, Nov. 28-Dec. 4
- PSA e-bulletin for the Second Week of Advent, Dec. 5-11
COMMUNITY ADVENT GATHERINGS (VIRTUAL)
- Pax Christi USA Community Weekly Advent Prayer Service, Mondays, 8:30-9pm ET, on Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, and 20, join with members of the Pax Christi USA family from around the nation for a short prayer service with short readings from our Advent-Christmas reflection booklet, the lighting of the Advent candles, and more. Click here to register.
- PAX Advent Mass on Thursday, December 23, at 8pm ET; if you have already registered for our PAX Masses, you do not need to register again. Click here to register.
- PAX Mass for November on Tuesday, November 23, at 8pm ET: Lifting up Palestinian liberation in prayer and community; watch the recorded Mass here.
Our Advent-Christmas appeal is our end-of-the-year appeal, and as we prepare to enter our 50th anniversary year in 2022, we would appreciate any extra support you can give us this year. If you have the means, you can click here to make a special gift to the Advent-Christmas appeal.
To read the entire appeal letter from our past and current development directors, Jo Clarke and John Noble, click here. And thank you!
- Pax Christi USA’s 2021 Advent-Christmas Reflection Booklet, Guide Our Feet Into the Way of Peace, is an historic retrospective gleaned from the past 40+ years of Advent booklets published by Pax Christi USA and including over 30 different authors, including Dianna Ortiz, OSU; Marie Dennis; Dr. Arturo Chávez; Jamie T. Phelps, OP, PhD; John Dear; Joan Chittister, OSB, and more. These Advent reflections of decades past continue to be “life-giving words”, sharing a wisdom that is, as befits this time of year, “evergreen”, linking spirituality and social justice, the gospel and nonviolence in special ways for this season. (On sale now for just $2.50 as an immediate PDF download for your e-reader or tablet; order it by clicking here; print version is also $2.50 and can be ordered here.)
- Advent, Christmas & Epiphany Prayers and Rituals for Families, Small Groups from Pax Christi USA, includes Advent wreath rituals, Christmas tree blessings, Epiphany blessing and more…
- Short Bulletin Inserts for the 2021-22 Cycle C, by Rosemarie Pace, Ed.D. inspired by reflections from the Liturgy Center of St. Louis University
- “Happy New Year! Wait? What? An Advent Reflection”, by Rosemarie Pace
- Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas, by Bill McKibben
- Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season, by Jo Robinson & Jean C. Staeheli