Pax Christi USA has been inviting its members and partners to observe the intersection between faith and justice, spirituality and peace during the Lenten season from early on in our history. The first formal Lenten program I can find in our archives was articulated as a small, unassuming brochure on green paper, entitled “A Call to Conversion: 1981 Lenten Program” and it encouraged Pax Christi USA members to “undertake a program of spiritual reflection and prayer and to examine their attitudes on the arms race in the light of the Scriptures” of the Lenten season. The brochure included resources for the methodology of prayer, study and action which we still embrace and practice today as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2022.
Last year the pandemic struck the U.S. shortly after Lent began. This year, as we continue to navigate the pandemic, as we face an ongoing reckoning with our nation’s legacy of racial injustice, and with the events of the recent election and its aftermath still fresh in our minds, the season of Lent presents the opportunity to root ourselves ever more deeply in discipleship to the nonviolent Jesus, to demonstrate the unbreakable bond that exists between an authentic spirituality and our commitment to social justice, between the proclamation of the gospel and the call to practice peacemaking.
Beginning this Lent and as we go through this year leading up to our 50th anniversary in 2022, we’ll be delving deeply into our history and honoring the people who gave us life, nurtured our growth, and made us into the community we are today, as well as shining a light on how the prayer, study and action we undertake today makes our movement as vital as ever.
2021 LENTEN REFLECTION BOOKLET
Purchase and download this year’s Lenten reflection booklet, The Arc Bends Towards Justice: Reflections for Lent 2021, with reflections based on the daily Scripture readings for every day throughout the season, curated from our 40+ years of Lenten reflection booklets. Only a few paper copies are still available but the e-version can be purchased and downloaded immediately.
- Read more about this year’s Lenten booklet, an historic retrospective with reflections from authors throughout our nearly 50 year history.
- Purchase and download the e-version for your e-reader at this link.
REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAYS AND HOLY DAYS
On this page throughout the season, we’ll be featuring reflections from a variety of authors from our 40+ year history of publishing the Pax Christi USA Lenten reflection booklet. We’ll also be sending our weekly Lenten 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.)
- Ash Wednesday, February 17 – by Megan McKenna, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace (1998)
- First Sunday of Lent, February 21 – by M. Shawn Copeland (2003)
- Second Sunday of Lent, February 28 – by Joshua Casteel (2009)
- Third Sunday of Lent, March 7 – by Colleen Kelly (2012)
- Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 14 – by Mary Carter Waren (2006)
- Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 21 – by Dorothy Stoner, osb (2000)
- Solemnity of the Annunciation, March 25 – by Linda Ballard, osc (2006)
- Palm Sunday, March 28 – by Joe Nangle, ofm, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace (1997)
- Holy Thursday, April 1 – by Jeannine Gramick, SL (2001)
- Good Friday, April 2 – by Tom Cordaro, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
- Holy Saturday, April 3 – by Beatrice Parwatikar, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
- Easter Sunday, April 4 – by Joan Chittister, osb, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
PRAY-STUDY-ACT EACH WEEK OF LENT
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. Each PSA will be sent out a few days prior to the week to which it refers.
- First week of Lent, Feb. 21-27
- Second week of Lent, Feb. 28-Mar. 6
- Third week of Lent, Mar. 7-13
- Fourth week of Lent, Mar. 14-20
- Fifth week of Lent, Mar. 21-27
- Holy Week, Mar. 28-Apr. 4
OTHER LENTEN RESOURCES
- Pax Christi International’s “Journey to Nonviolence,” simple daily actions you can take throughout Lent to cultivate meaningful nonviolence in your heart, home and community
- Litany of Peace: A prayer from Pax Christi USA to use daily throughout Lent (pdf)
- An Examination of Conscience (pdf)
- Lenten reflection from Pax Christi Metro New York
- Find resources from last year’s Lenten program at this link.
SPECIAL EVENTS AND DAYS OF OBSERVANCE
- Pax Christi USA Community Weekly Lent Service, Mondays, 8:30-9pm ET, beginning on Feb. 22nd through Mar. 29th. Join with members of the Pax Christi USA family from around the nation for a short prayer service with short readings from our Lenten reflection booklet, Scripture readings, prayers of the faithful, and more. Click here to watch the prayer services from throughout Lent 2021.
- Advancing Nonviolence Study Circles: Throughout Lent and through the end of April, Pax Christi USA members and groups will be studying the new book from the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, Advancing Nonviolence and Just Peace in the Church and in the World. The study circles will periodically come together for special events like webinars, panel discussions with contributors to the book, and more. Read more about the study circles and how to register here.
- International Women’s Day: Women’s Voices from Central America – Impacts of U.S. Policies on Migration webinar, March 8th, at 7pm ET. Listen to women in three Central American countries that have been heavily impacted by U.S. foreign policy who will share their personal experiences of being caught in circumstances that threatened their livelihoods and their families. The program will also feature a live conversation with social movement women leaders who will connect the dots between the impact of U.S. policies on their countries and the massive displacement of people from their communities. Click here for more information and to watch the video of the webinar.
- The Pax Christi Young Adult Caucus will sponsor a Lenten retreat for Young Adults, “Let Us Dream”, on March 27th, focusing on Pope Francis’s new book. Read more and get a link to register here.
- Pax Christi New Jersey’s #FastWeChoose event on Ash Wednesday, February 17th, includes action and webinar.
- Pax Christi Southern California presents a Lenten Sunday Zoom Series, “Mother of God: Undoer of the Knots,” featuring some incredible speakers every Sunday during Lent, beginning Feb. 21st. Click here for more information.
- Compassion on the Path to Peace: Parable of the Good Samaritan for Our Times, a retreat during Lent from Pax Christi Metro New York, featuring Pax Christi USA National Council member Fr. Fred Thelen. The retreat is on March 6th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link. Recommended donation is $15.
- Lenten Retreat opportunity with Brayton Shanley and Suzanne Belote Shanley over Zoom, March 19-21, hosted by Pax Christi USA Teachers of Peace Jim and Shelley Douglass.
Good Friday Observances
Virtual Way of the Cross for Economic and Ecological Justice, Good Friday, April 2 at 12pm ET – Based on the Economic Way of the Cross, written by the Religious Working Group on the World Bank/IMF, the Way of the Cross for Economic and Ecological Justice provides a prayerful way to walk the steps of Jesus in this time of financial and ecological crisis. This year, it will be a virtual event. Pax Christi USA is a co-sponsor of this event. Each station symbolizes institutional roots of this suffering in government, in transnational corporations, in international financial institutions, in trade agreements, macroeconomic policies, and financial transactions that give shape to economic activity around the world.
Traditionally, many Pax Christi USA local groups plan and stage a “Way of the Cross” event on Good Friday, connecting the sufferings of Christ during his passion with the suffering of our brothers and sisters at the hands of violence, greed, poverty, sickness and war. Because of the pandemic, we are encouraging groups to conduct these events either 1) virtually or 2) in observance of local restrictions in place for the safety and well-being of all, especially the most vulnerable.
Below are resources for groups interested in undertaking a Way of the Cross in their community on Good Friday. Also please let us know if you have a Way of the Cross planned in your community. We will list the names of groups, with contact information, which will be staging a Way of the Cross this year.
- PC-Metro New York has been doing a Way of the Cross for over 30 years. For information on how to do a Way of the Cross, contact PC-MNY at email@example.com
- From the Gainesville Catholic Worker/Pax Christi-Gainesville, Way of the Cross template and sample script (MSWord, free download)
- An Earth Day Eco Stations of the Cross (MSWord, free download)
- The Stations of Justice (MSWord, free download)