Tag Archives: David O’Brien

ON THE LINE: December 2013 edition features actions on the death penalty, immigration reform, SOA and more

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PC AUSTIN (TX) CO-SPONSORS ANTI-DEATH PENALTY OBSERVANCE: (by Bob Rankin) “This year, Pax Christi Austin joined with the Friends Meeting of Austin (Quaker) and the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to plan and sponsor our annual Sant’Egidio ‘Cities For Life’ Vigil on Nov. 30th. We gathered at the Plaza in front of Austin City Hall where we prayed, reflected on the death penalty in Texas, the United States, and sang. We had approached a City Council Member asking for a proclamation and received one. Finally we processed through a few city blocks of restaurants and business with ‘No More Executions!’ signs and ‘sandwich boards’ with the names of the 507 executed in Texas since 1976.”

Pax Christi Austin (TX) members march against the death penalty as part of "Cities for Life" in November. Photo by Bob Kinney

Pax Christi Austin (TX) members march against the death penalty as part of “Cities for Life” in November. Photo by Bob Kinney

PCUSA TEACHER OF PEACE BISHOP GUMBLETON SHARES ADVENT HOMILY WITH NEW PC GROUP IN MISSISSIPPI: (in NCR) “During this day, when we are spending time as a Pax Christi group (at St. Richard’s Parish), trying to determine how we can best live out the commitment we make when we join Pax Christi, it is very clear that our Scripture lessons provide us with very important ideas and important things for us to reflect on, think about, to become truly peacemakers, making Pax Christi the peace of Christ come about in our world. We’re celebrating the season of Advent, of course, and I’m sure all of us remember that and realize and experience that this is a season of hope — hope for the coming of Jesus. But we also have to remember that Jesus came historically almost 2,000 years ago, and we can hardly hope for something that has already happened. So what are we hoping for?”… Read more at http://ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/give-violence-prepare-final-coming-god

MICHAEL WALLI NAMED PEACEMAKER OF THE YEAR: (by Joshua McElwee in NCR) “It was the kind of celebration that, six months ago, Michael Walli might have enjoyed: Simple plates of spaghetti and salad, gathered friends, and an award for a noted local peacemaker. Except that award went to Walli himself, who could not accept because he is imprisoned some 700 miles away in a private detention facility in Georgia. Members of the DC/Baltimore chapter of the international Catholic peace group Pax Christi awarded their annual peacemaker of the year award to Walli Sunday anyway, honoring him in absentia and organizing their members to write to the judge urging leniency for the activist and the two others in his group…” Read more at https://paxchristiusa.org/2013/11/30/regional-event-pax-christi-metro-dc-baltimore-honors-peacemaker-of-the-year/

Seven plowshares activists seen together at the Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore Peacemaker of the Year event. They are holding a sign created by the late Philip Berrigan, who participated in the first action in 1980. Photo by Ted Majdosz

Seven plowshares activists seen together at the Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore Peacemaker of the Year event. They are holding a sign created by the late Philip Berrigan, who participated in the first action in 1980. Photo by Ted Majdosz

PAX CHRISTI MEMBERS FROM ACROSS THE NATION CONVERGE ON THE SOA: “On Friday night, 200 Pax Christi USA members and friends gathered at the Columbus Convention Center for Pax Christi USA’s annual gathering at the SOA. This year’s presentation was entitled, ‘Gun Violence Has No Room in the Spirituality of Peacemaking,’ with presentations from Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Kathy Kelly and Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN. The evening started with a welcome from Cathy Crosby, former member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, and Carole Lacour of Pax Christi Atlanta, with both serving as the emcees for the evening…” Read more at https://paxchristiusa.org/2013/11/26/soa-report-back-from-the-annual-vigil-and-action-at-the-soa/

PC New Mexico members Ellie Voutselas and Bud Ryan at the SOA. Photo by Johnny Zokovitch

PC New Mexico members Ellie Voutselas and Bud Ryan at the SOA during Sunday’s funeral procession. Photo by Johnny Zokovitch

PC METRO NY ISSUES ADVENT REFLECTION: “Hurry up and wait!  Sadly, this could be the theme for many each Advent. We hurry to shop. We hurry to write Christmas cards. We hurry to cook and bake. We hurry to decorate. We hurry, hurry, hurry. Then we wait. We wait on lines in stores or on the web. We wait for deliveries. We wait in traffic. We wait and wait and wait. Actually, Advent is about preparing, which we’re doing when we do all that scurrying about, and it’s about waiting, but the preparation and the waiting are a bit different…” Read more at http://www.nypaxchristi.org/reflection.html

PC METRO DC-BALTIMORE MEMBERS JOIN FAST4FAMILIES: (by Scott Wright) “On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on the National Mall, steps away from the Capitol. On that day, Eliseo Medina, DJ Yoon, Christian Avila, and Lisa Sharon Harper began a fast to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. In their statement the four fasters asked: “What is our faith, our words and our history worth if not translated into action, sacrifice and redemption?” … Read more at https://paxchristiusa.org/2013/12/13/reflection-a-light-shines-in-the-darkness-immigrant-fast-for-justice/

PC ILLINOIS MEMBERS ACT FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM: (by Tom Cordaro) “For years immigrant communities and their supporters have been marching, canvasing, writing letters, lobbying politicians, holding educational events, telling their stories and praying for an end to the pain, suffering and fear caused by our broken immigration system.  In spite of all this effort nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants have been forcibly deported leaving nearly 3 million children without a parent. In the face of so much preventable human suffering there comes a time when good order must be interrupted so the cries of children can be heard. This is why I joined 141 immigrant activists in blocking a major intersection in downtown Chicago on November 6th…” Read more at https://paxchristiusa.org/2013/11/19/immigration-this-is-what-america-looks-like/

Pax Christi Illinois members (including Tom Cordaro, PCUSA Ambassador of Peace, bottom right corner) join the immigration reform action in Chicago.

Pax Christi Illinois members (including Tom Cordaro, PCUSA Ambassador of Peace, bottom right corner) join the immigration reform action in Chicago.

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Dec. 28 – Feast of the Holy Innocents actions and observances

Jan. 1-31 – January is Poverty Awareness Month, http://www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/povertyusa/upload/poverty-awareness-month-calendar.pdf

Jan. 6-13, Jan. 11 – Witness Against Torture’s Fast for Justice from the 6th through the 13th and Jan. 11th actions to Close Guantanamo. Visit  http://witnesstorture.org/blog/2013/12/05/december-wat-trial-january-action-dates-announced/ for more information.

Jan. 26 – Peacemaking through the Arts: “Luke Live!” with PC-Metro New York Board member,  Fr. James DiLuzio, CSP. “Luke Live!” is a dramatic proclamation of the Gospel of Luke interspersed with Song Meditations, highlighting the peace and justice components in Luke’s Gospel. At St. Joseph’s Greenwich Village Church from 2:30 to 4:30pm.


PC Metro DC-Baltimore member Donna Grimes’ son was featured in an article in The Washington Post following the Trayvon Martin verdict earlier this year … For Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, Pax Christi El Paso (TX) collaborated with El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty and the El Paso chapter of CURE to protest the death penalty, mass incarceration, and abuse of solitary confinement, demonstrating in front of the county courthouse … PCUSA Program Director Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN presented at the Ignatian Family Teach-in in November in DC … PC Massachusetts member David O’Brien reflects on the legacy of JFKFormer Pax Christi USA Policy Director Jean Stokan had a letter to the editor published in The Washington Post regarding the ongoing situation in Honduras … PC Pacific NW member Nick Mele writes on the negotiations with IranPC Metro DC-Baltimore member Judy Coode has co-edited a book of reflections for next year’s liturgical readings for Orbis Press … PC Illinois members protested outside Rep. Roskam’s office after he repeatedly refused to meet with them … Former PCUSA interns Amy Watts and Manuel Padilla are now working in Chad with Jesuit Refugee Services and writing a blog about their experiences … PCUSA Teacher of Peace and PC Birmingham (AL) member Jim Douglass was featured on the Peace Talks radio programPax Christi USA gives thanks for the life of Nelson MandelaPax Christi International’s December 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Fall 2013 edition of The Peace Current

REFLECTION: JFK, a reflection on his life, death and legacy

Obrien, David -historyby David O’Brien 
former Pax Christi USA National Council member

John F. Kennedy’s 1960 election was a moment of arrival of American Catholics into the mainstream of American society. His eloquent inaugural, with Boston’s Cardinal Richard Cushing offering the prayer, seemed to fulfill the promise of American Catholic history. I graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1960 and like many of my generation, I fell in love with John Kennedy. His intelligence, grace, and willingness to confront hard truths (movement on civil rights, resistance to military options during Cuban missile crisis, his American University address) and, yes, his “style” especially, for me, at press conferences, drew me in.

Then, after a thousand days, came the assassination—an experience of what Catholic peace leader James Douglass, drawing on Thomas Merton, calls “the unspeakable.” That experience, over days of national solidarity in grief, took place amid an amazingly integrated series of rituals at once American and Catholic. For those of us descended from European Catholic immigrants, this was the completion of the American Catholic journey: We were no longer outsiders, but insiders. Later we would face deeper truths about racism and war and nuclear weapons and abortion, and we would never know that integration again. Experience, not ideology, forced reconsideration of our American and Catholic commitments—and responsibilities. It is not too much to say that a long history of American-Catholic negotiation aimed at liberation and integration—liberty and justice for all, including us—ended in November, 1963.


I thought then and think now that this experience was deeply religious, as deeply religious for me as any experience “in church.” Religion is about what matters, and America really did—and does—matter. Sociologist Robert Bellah famously used President Kennedy’s inaugural address to revive consideration of what scholars call “civil religion.” The assassination and its aftermath stirred profound feelings that had much to do with love of God and neighbor—and love’s absence. So did the 1968 murders and mourning of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. We were stirred by JFK; then he was murdered. How many young African Americans were stirred by Dr. King’s “dream,” and then they too had to face the dreamer’s brutal murder. JFK and MLK mattered, and so did the people and the nation they loved…

Read the entire reflection by clicking here.

ON THE LINE: September edition features 30 Days of Peace, Caravan of Peace, Los Alamos story and more!

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

ALPENA PEACE PEOPLE PAX CHRISTI GROUP SPONSORS 30 DAYS OF PEACE: From the Alpena News – “If participants in this year’s 30 Days of Peace take anything away from attending one of the multitude of planned activities, Sister Mary Hughes hopes it is inner peace. ‘My hope is that initially it will help people as individuals to find a peace within themselves and that will be spread to their relatives, their friends and their neighbors,” Hughes said. “If we have an atmosphere of peace within our community, it will spread. It will affect the leaders we choose for local and state, and our church and civic groups. It will affect the activities in the community and promote wholesome living.” On Sept. 14, An Evening of Poetry, Readings, Blues and Jazz will be held from 7-9 at Cabin Creek Coffee in downtown Alpena. Poems and readings promoting peace will be given by representatives of the local Pax Christi, a Catholic organization that strives to create a world that reflects the peace of Christ. ‘People come to this event who never come to anything else given by LARCC or Pax Christi, so if you have different things, you get different people,’ said Hughes of the wide diversity of events planned for the entire month.” Read the whole story here: http://www.thealpenanews.com/page/content.detail/id/522591/30-Days-of-Peace-initiative-coming-up.html?nav=5042

LONG-TIME PC-FLORIDA, MICHIGAN MEMBER PASSES: In late August, we learned that long-time Pax Christi USA member and local group leader Herb Bazur had died. Herb was 88 years old. Herb was active in Pax Christi USA for many years, including his local participation with Pax Christi groups and members in Michigan, Florida and Indiana. Known for his Pax Christi USA rose tattoo, Herb was often the center of laughter and joy at the many Pax Christi gatherings he and his wife Betty attended. Herb’s family writes in his obituary, “We will work to keep alive the memory of our charismatic and colorful Herb in many ways. He would encourage us to stop and smell the flowers, love our neighbors, walk with the marginalized, vote with poor people in mind, and spread joy.” Read more about Herb here: https://paxchristiusa.org/2012/08/27/obituary-herb-bazur-long-time-pax-christi-usa-leader-age-88/

Caravan of Peace

Pax Christi Texas members participated in the Caravan of Peace in August.

PAX CHRISTI ST. CLOUD PROTESTS AT CAMP RIPLEY: From The Morrison County Record – “The exercises at Camp Ripley usually involve training soldiers and public safety agencies. But the exercises at the National Guard base Monday involved the constitutional right to free speech. A peace vigil/protest was held Monday by the Little Falls Partners for Peace and Occupy Little Falls in front of the gates of Camp Ripley. In addition to several demands, one of the group’s goals was to increase public awareness about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), often called drones. Two factions with opposing views about war stood across from each other, both literally and figuratively, near the gates of Camp Ripley. Standing north of Highway 115 in front of Camp Ripley’s gates, members of the Little Falls Partners for Peace and Occupy Little Falls held what they termed a “peace vigil” and drone protest. About 14 in all, others were from the Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace, Women Against Military Madness from the Twin Cities, Alternatives to War, St. Cloud Occupy, Pax Christi St. Cloud and Alexandria Peace, joining the Little Falls contingent.” Read more at: http://mcrecord.com/archives/515939/exercise-at-camp-ripley-right-to-free-speech/

NCR ARTICLE ON THE PASSING OF JOSHUA CASTEEL: From NCR’s Tom Roberts – “The news, expected but dreaded, began to leak out on Facebook on Saturday night. Joshua Casteel had died earlier that day. He was 32. And the postings, which seemed endless, as well as those on the site of the Iraq Veterans Against the War and on Pax Christi USA all seemed to ache in trying to say some version of the same thing: How do we tell those who should know about this life of grace and courage, of holiness and unending search, of both consummate resolution and relentless questions? How did he fit it all into such a short time, and how do we explain that the world — the church, the state and beyond — needs to know of this life?” Read more here: http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/inspirational-soldier-turned-conscientious-objector-dies-lung-cancer-32

PAX CHRISTI NEW MEXICO REMEMBERS HIROSHIMA: From The Santa Fe Reporter – “Members of various activist organizations and local residents against nuclear weapons gathered in Ashley Pond in Los Alamos on Sunday. The rally, which was mainly organized by Pax Christi New Mexico and lasted all afternoon, celebrated the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. Dozens of framed pictures of victims and information about the bombing’s aftereffects were scattered around the area to pay homage to the victims. Organizers also established a live stream of the 8:15 am annual bell ringing in Hiroshima, Japan, the precise time the bomb was dropped in 1945. Father John Dear, an Christian anti-nuke activist nominated by Desmond Tutu for the Nobel Peace Prize, called the atomic bomb ‘the biggest sin’ and Los Alamos as its birthplace. ‘We gather here to repent that greatest sin,’ he told the crowd. Read the whole article here: http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/blog-3714-los-alamos-remembers-hiroshima.html

Proetest at Los Alamos

Pax Chrsti New Mexico members Fr. John Dear and Bud Ryan at the Hiroshima Day event at Los Alamos.

PAX CRISTI MICHIGAN SUPPORTS SCHOOL SALE TO MUSLIM ORGANIZATION: From The Detroit News – “An interfaith coalition plans to demonstrate its support Tuesday night for the sale of a school building owned Farmington Public Schools to a Muslim organization. The sale last year of the former Eagle Elementary School in West Bloomfield for $1.1 million has drawn protests from groups alleging the district showed undue favor to the buyer, the Islamic Cultural Association, which plans to open a school there. Taking ‘a stand against Islamophobia,’ coalition members plan to attend the West Bloomfield Township Planning Commission meeting, which is at 7:30 p.m. The commission is expected to consider issues related to the Islamic group’s construction plans for the site. Coalition members include Jewish Voice for Peace-Detroit, Pax Christi-Michigan, Detroit Meeting of Friends, Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Pointes for Peace and Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. Read more at: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120814/METRO02/208140446/Controversy-surrounds-sale-school-W-Bloomfield-Muslim-group?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Sept. 15 – Regional Dialogue in Atlanta, GA: https://paxchristiusa.org/programs/regional-dialogues-2012-13/

Sept. 21 – International Day of Peace: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs090/1011223557022/archive/1110865699008.html

Sept. 22 – Pax Christi South Dakota Conference with Sr. Helen Prejean: http://presentationsisters.org/vocation-outreach/events/Pax_Flyer_September_2012.pdf

Sept. 29 – Pax Christi Richmond with the Catholic Diocesan Office of Justice and Peace and the Office for Black Catholics will co-sponsor the Slave Trail Walk. Contact Mike at mike.jackman@capitalone.com for more information.

Sept. 29 – Pax Christi Minnesota State Assembly with Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer: http://www.paxchristimn.org/2012/08/18/jack-nelson-pallmeyer-to-headline-minnesota-peace-assembly/

Sept. 29 – Regional Dialogue in Illinois: https://paxchristiusa.org/programs/regional-dialogues-2012-13/

Oct. 20-21 – Pax Christi Florida’s Fall Assembly and Regional Dialogue: http://paxchristiflorida.org/events/

Oct. 27 – Pax Christi Massachusetts Regional Dialogue: https://paxchristiusa.org/programs/regional-dialogues-2012-13/


Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, founding Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA, was featured in the Albany Times Union … Many thanks to all of the Pax Christi regions and groups who took out an ad in the Momentum 2012 program booklet. See videos, listen to the speeches and see photos from the event on the PCUSA websitePC Metro DC-Baltimore member Jean Stokan wrote the article, “U.S. Elections: The Whole World is Watching” for the Intercommunity Peace and Justice newsletter … The Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, John Onaiyekan has been named Pax Christi International’s 2012 Peace Laureate … At the August 6th remembrance of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan in WWII at the Quaker Meeting House in West Hartford,CT, PC-Hartford member Kate McLoughlin was a featured speaker … Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis has a series running on the PCUSA website on civil discourse during this election year … Pax Christi Massachusetts board member and PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Nancy Small reflected on the 9/11 anniversary in this blog postThe Pax Christi USA-produced film on Haiti was chosen for another film festivalHeather Brouillet Navarro of PC-St. Louis, Sr. Esther Pineda of PC-Salinas (KS) and historian David O’Brien were elected to the National Council … See more local and regional updates in the summer edition of The Peace Current

NATIONAL COUNCIL: New council members, new Executive Committee announced

National Council with PCI Co-Presidents

Members of the Pax Christi USA National Council and Staff with Pax Christi International Co-Presidents Bishop Kevin Dowling and Marie Dennis.

The Pax Christi USA National council met this week in Washington, D.C. at the Center of Concern. Two new members, the recently elected David O’Brien and Heather Brouillet Navarro, joined the council. O’Brien is an historian who comments regularly on issues in American Catholic life and recently contributed an essay on Catholic peacemaking in Peacebuilding: Catholic Theology, Ethics, and Praxis (Orbis, 2010). Navarro formerly led a campus chapter at Washington University in St. Louis and recently helped to catalyze a new group in St. Louis. She is a private public interest attorney working in the area of civil rights, advocating for individuals and groups for the inclusion and equality of those at the margins of society. You can read their full bios by clicking here.

The September National Council meeting also saw the election of a new executive committee for the 2012-2013 year. Re-elected as National Council Chair is Sr. Josie Chrosniak, HM. Cathy Woodson, a community organizer from Virginia was elected to serve as the Vice-Chair, with Cynthia Morris-Colbert, former education director at the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the USCCB, elected as Treasurer. Nick Mele was re-elected as Secretary. You can read full bios of the Executive Committee by clicking here.