Tag Archives: Pax Christi Texas

ON THE LINE: May 2016 edition includes Daniel Berrigan memoriam, regional events, peacemakers honored, 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.

Fr. Dan Berrigan, S.J.

Fr. Dan Berrigan, S.J.

PAX CHRISTI USA CELEBRATES THE LIFE OF TEACHER OF PEACE DANIEL BERRIGAN, S.J.: Pax Christi USA leadership responded to the news late last month that Dan Berrigan, S.J., a Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace, had passed away: Cathy Woodson, National Chair of Pax Christ USA, upon hearing of Berrigan’s passing, said, “I had the privilege of hearing Fr. Berrigan speak at our inner city parish in the early 1980s. His message tied together the call for justice that connected many issues facing those of us sitting in the pews.  His passion for justice and peace, his message about war came across with a sense of power that led me to look closer at how faith leaders in the Catholic peace movement carried out what they preached. He lived his commitment that pushed beyond our expectations and comfort zone, standing strong for peace in our world. He now joins others who have taught us how to be peacemakers; well done thy good and faithful servant as you are welcomed into the kingdom, and thank you.” And from Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN: “Daniel Berrigan was a man faithful to the transformative values of living out the Gospel. Until his very death, he modeled for all a spirituality of non-violence and peace-making. Pax Christi USA mourns the passing of Dan Berrigan, one of the most widely admired peacemakers of our time. His life and witness have inspired thousands to learn and embody the nonviolence at the heart of Jesus teachings. We give thanks and celebrate the life of Dan, a Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace.”

PAX CHRISTI MAINE EXPLORES NONVIOLENCE AT ASSEMBLY: (from Mary Ellen Quinn) On April 30, 2016, members of Pax Christi Maine gathered together for our Spring Assembly at H.O.M.E., an Emmaus community in Orland, ME. Following the opening prayer, our program, “Nonviolence – A Way of Life and Resistance in a Culture of Violence” included lively discussion guided by questions for self-reflection on the challenges & opportunities inherent in living a nonviolent life. The group sharing was based on Fr. John Dear’s three dimensions of a nonviolent life – Practicing Nonviolence Toward Ourselves; Practice Nonviolence Toward All Others including the earth & its creatures and Active Engagement in the global Grassroots Movement of Nonviolence. The annual meeting also included the election of officers, the welcoming of new council members and review of our plan for the coming year. All present were excited by the recent Vatican Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace and the promise it holds for the future.

Pax Christi Maine State Assembly

Discussion at the Pax Christi Maine State Assembly

PAX CHRISTI MICHIGAN HOLDS 35TH ANNUAL STATE CONFERENCE: (from Mary Hanna) Pax Christi Michigan’s 35th Annual State Conference,  “Breaking the Silence: Confronting Race, Power & Privilege,” was a wonderful event, featuring Pax Christi USA’s National Director, Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Program Director, Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, and special guest Ana Garcia-Ashley, National Director of the Gamaliel Network. Held at Cristo Rey Church in Lansing on Saturday April 23, 2016 , the day was full of introspection and a renewed conviction to eradicating racism. Pax Christi USA has been at the forefront of confronting structural racism, and these powerful women are leading the way in that movement. Also honored were Mary Hennig as our Purple Ribbon for Peace award winner, and Aida Cuadrado as our Young Adult Peacemaker. To see photos from the event, go to http://www.paxchristimi.org/#!2016-conference-photos/lfee3

Ana Garcia-Ashley, National Director of the Gamaliel Network, with Aida Cuadrado, recipient of the Young Adult Peacemaker Award.

Ana Garcia-Ashley, National Director of the Gamaliel Network, with Aida Cuadrado, recipient of PC Michigan’s Young Adult Peacemaker Award.

AUTHORS FOR 2016 ADVENT REFLECTION BOOKLET ANNOUNCED: The authors for the annual Pax Christi USA booklet of Advent reflections for 2016 have been selected. Pax Christi USA is pleased to announce that this year’s authors are Cathy Woodson, National Council Chair of Pax Christi USA, and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, Pax Christi USA’s Director of Programs. To read more, go to https://paxchristiusa.org/2016/04/25/announcement-authors-for-2016-advent-booklet-selected/

PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK HONORS PEACEMAKERS: (from Rosemarie Pace) Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) is very proud to announce this year’s Peacemaker Award Honorees and to celebrate not only their accomplishments but also what they stand for. On Sunday, May 15th, PCMNY will be paying tribute to: Phyllis & Orlando Rodriguez, Founding Members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Educators, and Advocates for Human Rights and Restorative Justice; Sr. Evelyn Lamoureux, D.W., Community and Peace Activist in Nassau and Queens Counties, serving the poor and working to end human trafficking; and Fr. Francis Gargani, C.Ss.R, Peace and Social Justice Minister for the Redemptorist Order of Brothers and Priests of the Baltimore Province and PCMNY Board Member, whose work incorporates spirituality with the arts, hospitality, and interfaith outreach. We will also be recognizing our Maloof Family Young Peacebuilders: Paul Thomas, a senior at St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx who has volunteered his time and talents in a hospital and soup kitchen and on a service trip helping to rebuild houses; Caroline Bandigan, a senior at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn who has served food to the homeless, been a companion to the elderly, and helped teach religion and martial arts to young children; and Jillian Eberlein, a junior at Notre Dame Academy H.S. in Staten Island who teaches conflict resolution strategies to elementary school girls in the Ophelia Project, helps with Meals on Wheels, and provides gifts to adults and children at a homeless shelter each Christmas Eve. The awards ceremony will take place in Casserly Hall below St. Joseph’s Greenwich Village Church, Washington Place just off Sixth Avenue, on Sunday, May 15th between 3 and 6 PM. Contact PCMNY at 212-420-0250, info@nypaxchristi.org, or http://www.nycharities.org/events/EventLevels.aspx?ETID=8977.

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Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

May 14: “We Grow Together,” Pax Christi USA and Communities of Color workshop, Washington, D.C.

May 15: Pentecost

May 15: Peacemakers Awards Reception with Pax Christi Metro New York: Contact PCMNY to register now: 212-420-0250, info@nypaxchristi.org

May 21: Feast of Blessed Franz Jaeggerstaetter

May 23: Wendy’s Boycott National Day of Prayer (PCUSA has endorsed this action)

May 28-June 11: Christian Peacemaker Team delegation to Colombia

May 30: Memorial Day

June is Torture Awareness Month

June 6-July 6: Ramadan Project with the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

June 7-12: Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.

June 12-19: Laudato Si week

June 26-July 2: Torture Survivors Awareness Week

June 29-July 2: Starvin for Justice: Annual Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty in Washington, D.C. (Pax Christi USA has endorsed this action)

July 16-30: Christian Peacemaker Team delegation to Colombia

July 16-31: Christian Peacemaker Team delegation to Israel-Palestine

July 17-21: Social Action Summer Institute in Chicago

July 22-24: Changemakers, a new social justice program, San Antonio, TX

July 24: March for a Clean Energy Revolution

Aug. 12-14: Pax Christi USA National Gathering in Linthicum, MD

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Quicklinks:

Pax Christi Maine member Bill Slavick published this op-ed on the recent conference in Rome on nonviolence … NCR did an in-depth interview with Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU on her work against human trafficking … The southeastern South Dakota chapter of Pax Christi recently held a 15-minute Take Back the Site vigil for Baptiste White Eyes who was shot and killed in front of the Lucky Lady casino … PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Rev. John Dear penned this reflection on the life of Dan Berrigan, S.J., a Pax Christi USA Teacher of PeacePax Christi Phoenix is devoting time at their May 19th meeting to discussing the guidance and example of Pope Francis in our world … Pax Christi Metro D.C.-Baltimore member Scott Wright reflected on the season of Easter and an end to war … Listen to this interview with PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Rev. John Dear on his return from the nonviolence conference in Rome … PC Memphis hosted Jamie Goldring, a teacher who has worked with children for more than 30 years, to describe the methods she uses in her workshops to stem the violent behavior so prevalent in our schools and throughout society … Pax Christi San Antonio welcomes Congressional candidate Tom Wakely on May 14 to present his approach to social justice … Pax Christi Metro New York’s Spring edition of their newsletter Kerux is now online … Registration for the 2016 Pax Christi USA National Gathering in Maryland is now open … Pax Christi International’s May 2016 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2016 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: April 2016 edition includes Good Friday actions slideshow 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.

PAX CHRISTI GROUPS ACROSS THE NATION PARTICIPATE IN GOOD FRIDAY WITNESS: Many Pax Christi USA local groups planned and staged 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. Check out the slideshow featuring photos of many of these events.

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LOCAL POVERTY AND FAITHFUL BUDGET CAMPAIGN TOPICS AT PC MEMPHIS MEETING: (from PC-Memphis newsletter by Paul Crum) Terry Hash and her daughter Christine presented an eye opening look at poverty in the Memphis area and beyond at our March gathering. Armed with surprising facts and a wealth of data, the pair highlighted the struggle that thousands of our neighbors endure to navigate current economic conditions. Christine, Manager of Social Enterprises and Community Engagement for Catholic Charities of West Tennessee, told the group that Memphis has the highest level of childhood poverty in the nation. She presented statistics reflecting the typical expenses for families of various sizes living in the Memphis metropolitan area, and showed the wide disparity in wages between the working poor and their more affluent suburban counterparts… To read more, go to http://www.paxchristimemphis.org/

Sr. Patty Chappell and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN did anti-racism workshops for members of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in Wichita, KS; Roma, IL; and Columbia, PA this past weekend.

Sr. Patty Chappell and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN did anti-racism workshops for members of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in Wichita, KS; Roma, IL; and Columbia, PA this past weekend.

PAX CHRISTI USA MEMBERS PARTICIPATE IN HISTORIC NONVIOLENCE AND JUST PEACE CONFERENCE IN ROME: This past week, Pax Christi International co-convened with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, UISG/USG and many other international Catholic organizations, an international conference on nonviolence and just peace. Several members of Pax Christi USA from various regions were participants in the meeting, including Pax Christi International Co-President and PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Marie Dennis, former PCUSA National Coordinator Anne McCarthy, osb, former PCUSA National Council Chair Judy Coode, former PCUSA staff member Jean Stokan, and PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Rev. John Dear, among others. To see the conference statement, click here. For media coverage of this historic gathering, go to: https://paxchristiusa.org/2016/04/16/news-media-coverage-of-nonviolence-and-just-peace-conference-in-rome/

Pax Christi TX members participated in the "Fight for $15" March and Rally in Houston on April 14.

Pax Christi TX members participated in the Fight for $15 March in Houston on Apr. 14.

PAX CHRISTI USA MEMBERSHIP NEWSLETTER FOR SPRING 2016: If you did not receive a hard copy of the Pax Christi USA membership newsletter, The Peace Current, which includes two pages of updates from the national, regional and local levels, please let us know. It means your membership is not up-to-date or there is an error in our database. The Spring 2016 edition should have arrived within the last month. You can view it online by going to https://paxchristiusa1.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/39803_nl_pax_web.pdf

Pax Christi Charlottesville (VA) member Ellen Mohr attended the St. Patrick's Day celebration at the White House with her niece Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. Ellen won a legislative battle with her niece in New York to let adopted children be able to know their birth parents.

Pax Christi Charlottesville (VA) member Ellen Mohr attended the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House with her niece Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. Ellen won a legislative battle with her niece in New York to let adopted children be able to know their birth parents.

Mary McDonough Harren

Mary McDonough Harren

PAX CHRISTI MEMBER MARY MCDONOUGH HARREN HONORED AS DIFFERENCE-MAKER IN KANSAS: (from Tom Cordaro, PC-Illinois) Long time Pax Christi member Mary McDonough Harren will be honored at the “She Made a Difference” award dinner on March 25th being held by the Wichita chapter of NOW (National Organization of Women). Mary is being honored for her activism for peace with justice and her commitment to women’s equality in Church and society. Mary has been an inspiration and a mentor to generations of women (and men) in Kansas and beyond.

Members of the Pax Christi Anti-Racism team at their gathering in Illinois last month

Members of the Pax Christi Anti-Racism team at their gathering in Illinois last month

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Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Apr. 22: Earth Day

Apr. 23: Breaking the Silence: Confronting Race, Power and Privilege. Pax Christi Michigan’s state conference, in Lansing, MI

Apr. 23: “A Future Covenant,” Justice and Spirituality Convocation in Stirling, NJ

Apr. 25-May 1: SOA Delegation to the Border; contact marialuisa@soaw.org

Apr. 30: Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore Spring Retreat, “Let Creation Call Us More Deeply to God,” with PCUSA Teacher of Peace Rev. John Rausch, glmy

May 1: Feast of St. Joseph the WorkerMay Day

May 3: The Challenge of Peace anniversary

May 4: Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA and PCUSA Program Director Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN will present a training for Loyola University Cabinet Members, Baltimore on Racial Justice

May 5: Feast of the Ascension

May 6-8: Atlantic Life Community Retreat at Mariandale Retreat Center in Ossining, New York; contact Scott Langley at scott@scottlangleyphoto.com

May 7: Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA and PCUSA Program Director Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN will present a training at St. Boniface, Brooklyn, NY on Racial Justice

May 8: Mother’s Day

May 9: PCUSA Teacher of Peace Rev. Daniel Berrigan’s birthday; also Peter Maurin and Sophie Scholl

May 14: “We Grow Together,” Pax Christi USA and Communities of Color workshop, Washington DC

May 15: Pentecost

May 15: Peacemakers Awards Reception with Pax Christi Metro New York: Contact PCMNY to register now: 212-420-0250, info@nypaxchristi.org, or http://www.nycharities.org/events/EventLevels.aspx?ETID=8977.

May 21: Feast of Blessed Franz Jaeggerstaetter

May 28-June 11: Christian Peacemaker Team delegation to Colombia

May 30: Memorial Day

June 7-12: Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.

June 29-July 2: Starvin for Justice: Annual Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty in Washington, D.C.

Aug. 12-14: Pax Christi USA National Gathering in Linthicum, MD

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Quicklinks:

Pax Christi members in Pennsylvania, under the leadership of Fr. Bernie Survil, are passing out the election guide, A Revolution of Tenderness, to parishes and religious communities in their state … Mercy Sister and long-time PCUSA member Diane Guerin was interviewed in NCR … Over 25 activists were arrested at the Shut Down Creech action earlier this month … Local news shot this video of Pax Christi Harrisburg (PA) during their Good Friday Way of the Cross … Pax Christi El Paso publicly declares their opposition to endless war by joining Border Peace Presence on Fridays from noon to 1:00 p.m. in front of the Federal Court House (corner of Campbell and San Antonio) … NCR ran an interview with long-time Pax Christi New Jersey member Rev. Ron Cioffi about him and his parish’s commitment to social justice … PC Illinois member Sr. Karen Nykiel presented on “The Spirituality of Aging” at a conference at Benedictine UniversityPax Christi Young Adult member Vickie Machado was interviewed in this article about U.S.-Cuba relations following her trip there earlier this year … Pax Christi Northeast Florida co-sponsored an anti-death penalty event with Marietta Jaeger-Lane of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation … Registration for the 2016 Pax Christi USA National Gathering in Maryland is now open … Pax Christi International’s April 2016 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2016 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: January 2016 edition – Vote for Marie! Bernie Kopera, PRESENTE! 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.

marienomforpeaceprize-bigPAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL CO-PRESIDENT MARIE DENNIS IS FINALIST FOR PUBLIC PEACE PRIZE; VOTE NOW! (from Pax Christi International) We are pleased to tell you that Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International, has been nominated for the 2016 Public Peace Prize. This prize is the only one in the world which is based on the public’s choices. The voting is open until 24 January, 2016. To vote for Marie Dennis you have three possibilities: 1) Vote on the Public Peace Prize website: Visit the webpage presenting Marie (each visitor = 1 vote) or leave an appreciative comment on the bottom of the page (each comment = 3 votes). See Marie’s nomination page here. 2) On Public Peace Prize’s Facebook page: Click “Like” below the posting presenting Marie. To increase the number of votes, click on the “share” button. See the posting here. 3) On Public Peace Prize’s Twitter account: “Retweet” the tweets presenting Marie. See the tweet here.

On December 23 PC Houston members helped to distribute Christmas gifts to children who were leaving the Harris County Jail with their parents. The children had been visiting their loved ones in the jail. The event is sponsored by End Mass Incarceration Houston with the support of other organizations.

On December 23 PC Houston members helped to distribute Christmas gifts to children who were leaving the Harris County Jail with their parents. The children had been visiting their loved ones in the jail. The event is sponsored by End Mass Incarceration Houston with the support of other organizations.

PAX CHRISTI INDIANAPOLIS SUPPORTS ARCHBISHOP ON REFUGEE RESPONSE: In a letter to Archbishop Joseph Tobin of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, PC Indianapolis wrote, “We, the members of Pax Christi of Indianapolis, are supportive of and encouraged by your courageous actions and example in deciding to accept the Syrian refugee family to our Indiana home.  Your words and your decision have sent a strong message of Christianity and the words of Christ to ‘love one another.’ Thank you for your leadership and the message of justice you have sent.” The Archbishop had decided to go through with the refugee relocation over objections from the Governor of Indiana.

Seven people were arrested at a Pentagon peace witness on the Feast of the Holy Innocents following the Faith and Resistance Retreat. See more photos at https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AmZMEAszDHL4CtM&id=D886EDE2FD42F445%21882&cid=D886EDE2FD42F445

Seven people were arrested at a Pentagon peace witness on the Feast of the Holy Innocents following the Faith and Resistance Retreat. See more photos at http://1drv.ms/1PeViuD

PAX CHRISTI ILLINOIS SPONSORS WORLD PEACE DAY INTERFAITH SERVICE: (from Tom Cordaro, Pax Christi Illinois) Pax Christi Illinois was a major sponsor and organizer of the 2016 World Peace Day Interfaith Prayer Service, celebrated January 3, in Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College in Illinois. Over 300 people attended. The event was co-sponsored by Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Bahai, Christian Scientist and other faith communities. Click on the following link to read the speech given by Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Tom Cordaro at the event: https://paxchristiusa.org/2016/01/13/reflection-the-cross-and-the-call-to-reconciliation/

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Participants in the World Peace Day Interfaith Prayer Service in Illinois.

PAX CHRISTI ILLINOIS ACTIVIST BERNIE KOPERA PASSES: It is with great sadness that we share with you that Bernie Kopera of Pax Christi Illinois, who we featured in last month’s OTL, passed away on Christmas Day from a heart attack. Bernie was 71. You can read a longer article in the Chicago Tribune celebrating and remembering Bernie’s life at http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-bernie-kopera-obit-st-1229-20151228-story.html.

Bernie Kopera, in back with right hand raised, at the SOA march to the detention center in Stewart, with other members of PC Illinois.

Bernie Kopera, in back with right hand raised and sunglasses, at the SOA march to the detention center in Stewart, with other members of PC Illinois, Nov. 2015.

Lent2016bookletcoverPAX CHRISTI REFLECTION BOOKLET FOR LENT AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK! The Lent 2016 reflection booklet, “Everything is Grace: Reflections for Lent 2016,” is now available for purchase and download at the Pax Christi USA store as an electronic book. The book is authored by Tonie Malone (PC New Jersey); Nancy Small (PC Massachusetts); Allison Blay (PC Florida); Cathy Crayton (PC Southern California); Eric LeCompte (PC Metro D.C.-Baltimore), Kwame Assenyoh, SVD; and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN. To purchase and download this excellent resource, go to http://paxchristiusa.3dcartstores.com/Lent-2016–e-BOOK–DAILY-REFLECTIONS–NO-HARD-COPY-WILL-BE-SENT_p_297.html 

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Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Jan. 26: Bishop Gumbleton’s birthday

Jan. 29-31: Pax Christi USA National Council meeting in Bay St. Louis, MS

Jan. 31: Peacemaking thru the Arts with Pax Christi Metro New York, Greenwich Village, NYC

Feb: Black History Month

Feb. 4: Birth of Rosa Parks, 1913

Feb. 5: Christian Peace Witness for Syria and We Refuse To Be Enemies Interfaith group’s day-long planning meeting, the Methodist Building, Washington D.C.; to attend or join by teleconference, contact Bob Cooke of Pax Christi International at cookerh1251@gmail.com.

Feb. 10: Nelson Mandela released, 1990

Feb. 10: Ash Wednesday

Feb. 12: NAACP founded, 1909

Feb. 14: Frederick Douglass, b. 1818

Feb. 20: World Day of Social Justice

March: Women’s History Month

Mar. 1: International Death Penalty Abolition Day

Mar. 2-13: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ “Workers’ Voice Tour”, Eastern U.S.

Mar. 8: International Women’s Day

Mar. 13: Election of Pope Francis, 2013

Mar. 20: Palm Sunday

Mar. 21-27: Week of Solidarity with Peoples Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination

Mar. 22: World Water Day

Mar. 24: Holy Thursday, Feast of Blessed Oscar Romero

Mar. 25: Good Friday, International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Mar. 27: Easter

Mar. 31: Cesar Chavez, b. 1927

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Quicklinks:

Pax Christi Michigan and its Lansing chapter celebrated “Pax Christi Lansing’s 9th Annual Interfaith New Year Community Peace Prayer Service” on January 1 … Pax Christi USA joins with the rest of the Pax Christi world community in giving thanks for the contributions of Jose Henriquez who left his position as Pax Christi International Secretary General in December … Read this report-back from PC Metro DC-Baltimore member Sr. Veronica Schweyen who was on a SHARE delegation to El Salvador in December … Fr. Jim Murphy was sentenced to 5 days in jail in Wisconsin for his anti-drone action … Blue Water (MI) Pax Christi had their Christmas billboard featured in this article in a local newspaper …  Srs. Patricia Chappell and Anne-Louise Nadeau, executive director and director of programs, respectively, of Pax Christi USA, led a peace retreat on racism at the Carondelet Hospitality Center in Latham, NY in conjunction with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the Justice Committee of the Albany Province … Former PCUSA National Council chair and member of Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore Judy Coode was quoted in an article from CNS on the immigration and refugee crisis … A colleague from Pax Christi Germany was quoted in this article in the NY Times on the refugee crisis … The Winter edition of Kerux from Pax Christi Metro New York is now online … Pax Christi International’s January 2016 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Fall-Winter 2015-16 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: December 2015 edition includes efforts in support of migrants, refugees, victims of gun violence, 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.

PAX CHRISTI ILLINOIS ACTIVISTS HELP KILL PLAN FOR IMMIGRANT DETENTION CENTER: (from The Chicago Tribune) Bernie Kopera and Concetta Smart are so often together fighting for the underdogs that people often assume they are married to each other. They are not. Yet the pair of Southland residents have formed an alliance that has enabled them to successfully oppose plans for a for-profit immigration detention center in the Chicago area. First in Crete, then in Joliet and Hobart, Ind., and most recently in Gary, they banded together with others to defeat the proposals. Recently they stepped in to help those fighting the latest plan — a center across from the Gary/Chicago Airport where undocumented immigrants would be held until they could be deported… Read the entire article http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-immigrant-detention-center-activists-st-1115-20151118-story.html

Pax Christi Los Angeles members participate in a community prayer vigil to protest conditions at Los Angeles Men's Central Twin Tower Jail in September.

Pax Christi Los Angeles members participate in a community prayer vigil to protest conditions at Los Angeles Men’s Central Twin Tower Jail in September.

PAX CHRISTI METROWEST (MA) CO-SPONSORS EVENT TO END GUN VIOLENCE: (from The MetroWest Daily News) NATICK, MA – Thoughts and prayers are nice, but to end gun violence, more has to be done, state Rep. David Linsky told a group of about 60 anti-gun violence advocates. Speaking at a Community Interfaith Gathering at the Common Street Spiritual Center on Saturday, the Natick Democrat said it is time for action. … The gathering was co-sponsored by the spiritual center, the First Congregational Church in Natick, Temple Israel of Natick, Pax Christi MetroWest, Fisk United Methodist Church and the Massachusetts Chapter of Brady Campaign. To read the entire article, go to: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/article/20151212/NEWS/151218369

This is the fourth year Blue Water PC has put up this billboard to promote peace, charity, and prayerful nonviolence. Councils of local Knights of Columbus and many local church and community members have been supportive. The billboard appears above the Chamber of Commerce building for one month beginning Dec. 23.

This is the fourth year Blue Water (MI) PC has put up this billboard to promote peace, charity, and prayerful nonviolence. Councils of local Knights of Columbus and many local church and community members have been supportive. The billboard appears above the Chamber of Commerce building for one month beginning Dec. 23.

Bishop Gumbleton and Ruben Garcia at Momentum 2012

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and 2012 PCUSA Teacher of Peace Ruben Garcia

AMERICA MAGAZINE INTERVIEWS BISHOP GUMBLETON: (from America) Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton is a writer and retired Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was also the founding president of Pax Christi USA and a co-founder of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. Bishop Gumbleton earned a B.A. degree in 1952, a M.Div. degree in 1956 and then later earned a J.C.D in 1964. On Aug. 28, I interviewed Bishop Gumbleton by telephone about his life and work. The following transcript has been edited for style and length… Read the interview at http://americamagazine.org/content/all-things/social-justice-all-interview-bishop-thomas-gumbleton

PAX CHRISTI METRO DC-BALTIMORE ELECTS NEW COUNCIL, HONORS PEACEMAKER: Effective January 1, Mary Liepold will be the new chairperson of Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore, replacing Bob Cooke and Bob More. Other officers include Dennis Warner, Vice Chairperson; Luis Cabrales, Secretary; and Luann Mostello, Treasurer. The rest of the council includes Bob Cooke, Jack McHale, Tony Langbehn, Bro. Brian McLaughlin, Chuck Michaels, Katie Murphy, Sr. Roni Schweyen, and Pierre Thompson. … Also, on November 14, PC Metro DC-Baltimore held their Eighth Annual Peacemaker of the Year Event. The 2015 award recipient was Fr. Gerry Creedon, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Dale City, Virginia, former pastor of St. Charles, Chair of the Diocese of Arlington Peace and Justice Commission, and a tireless advocate for peace and justice in our region. Read more at http://www.paxchristimetrodc.org/2015/10/fr-gerry-creedon-named-2015-peacemaker-of-the-year/

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Pax Christi Texas members Sr. Ceil Roeger and Dave Atwood participated in a DACA/DAPA immigration rally in Houston on November 20, 2015.

PC SAN ANTONIO (TX) MEMBERS PRAY FOR PEACE FOLLOWING TERROR ATTACKS: (from Fox San Antonio) SAN ANTONIO – Faith leaders and residents prayed for peace at a candlelight vigil Sunday night. Recent terror attacks and the national debate over Syrian refugees led more than a hundred to attend. … In silence, attendees circled a peace pole for more than half an hour on the University of the Incarnate Word campus. … Anthony Blasi, leader of Pax Christi San Antonio, said he’s also concerned people want to stop refugees. “We have always been a nation that welcomed all kinds of people,” Blasi said, “and we shouldn’t start changing our ways because of some lunatics in the alleged state of ISIS.” Read more at http://www.foxsanantonio.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/faith-leaders-residents-pray-peace-at-vigil-after-terror-attacks-17750.shtml#.VnDZJ_krLIU

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Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Dec. 25: Christmas

Dec. 27: Holy Family observance

Dec. 27-28: Feast of the Holy Innocents Retreat and Action at STRATCOM headquarters in Omaha, NE; contact frank.cordaro@gmail.com or 515 292-4781 for more info; for peace witness in DC, contact: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker at 202-882-9649, artlaffin@hotmail.com

Dec. 28: Massacre of the Holy Innocents observance

Jan. 1: World Day of Peace

Jan. 3: Epiphany observance

Jan. 3-13: Witness Against Torture Fast and Action in DC

Jan. 15: Birth of MLK, 1929

Jan. 15-16: Rotary World Peace Conference in Ontario, CA; Pax Christi will have a table thanks to PC Southern California members

Jan. 18: MLK Day observance

Jan. 26: Bishop Gumbleton’s birthday

Jan. 29-31: Pax Christi USA National Council meeting in Bay St. Louis, MS

Feb: Black History Month

Feb. 4: Birth of Rosa Parks, 1913

Feb. 10: Nelson Mandela released, 1990

Feb. 10: Ash Wednesday

Feb. 12: NAACP founded, 1909

____________

Quicklinks:

PC Metro DC-Baltimore helped coordinate a dinner during the annual USCCB meetings at which bishops and others dined with local activists … Pax Christi Fremont (CA) is co-hosting an interfaith prayer service for peace on Dec. 31 … Pax Christi New Jersey was represented at the New Jersey Peace Action gathering on Nov. 14 where Kathy O’ Leary, PCNJ coordinator, presented the Hope Shapiro Bread and Roses Peace Award to featured speaker Sister Megan Rice … PC Northern California leader Tom Webb wrote an article on immigrationPC International intern Tabitha Redeppening wrote a reflection on the COP21 talks for the PCI blog … PC South Dakota Presentation Sisters JoAnn Sturzl and Myra Remily traveled in the Veterans for Peace bus from Minneapolis to the SOA this year. You can read their reflections online herePC El Paso members joined El Paso Bishop Seitz for Posadas sin Fronteras, a prayer and witness for migrants and their families, on Dec. 13 … PC Memphis signed onto a letter from the ACLU asking Tennessee Governor Haslam to rescind his request to suspend Syrian refugee resettlement in Tennessee … Visit the Pax Christi San Antonio (TX) website for upcoming events and photos … Pax Christi International’s December 2015 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Fall-Winter 2015-16 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: September 2015 edition features work on Iran deal, Campaign Nonviolence, 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. 

ED. NOTE: I was out of the office for a variety of reasons in July and August and didn’t get to post editions of On The Line during those months. This month is a particularly full edition to make up for the backlog of incredible things on which PCUSA groups and members are busy working. Thanks for your understanding!

PC Sioux Falls (SD) members and others at Sen. Rounds office.

PC Sioux Falls (SD) members & others at Sen. Rounds office.

PAX CHRISTI LOCAL AND REGIONAL GROUPS INSTRUMENTAL IN SUPPORT FOR IRAN DEAL: All across the United States, Pax Christi local groups and regions mobilized to encourage their senators, representatives and bishops to support the nuclear deal brokered by Secretary John Kerry and representatives from other nations. To this date, the Iran deal has been upheld because of these efforts and many efforts, but it is not a done deal yet, so stay vigilant! A sampling of the efforts of PCUSA local groups and regions: PC Dallas members met with aides to Senator Cornyn at his Dallas office; PC Sioux Falls (SD) held a vigil in support of the agreement and met with their representative; PC Long Island (NY) and PC Metro NY members joined rallies outside Sen. Schumer’s offices; PC NJ members Fr. Gene Squeo and Carol Fay met with aides of Sen. Booker at his D.C. office and PC NJ released a statement after Sen. Menendez voiced his opposition to the deal; PC Beverly (MA) wrote letters to their bishop and letters-to-the-editors in support of the agreement…

Visiting Texas Senator Cornyn’s office in Dallas on the Iran deal are Joyce Hall, Pax Christi Dallas; Mavis Belisle, Nuclear Free World Committee; Bill Maxwell, Dallas Peace and Justice Center; Leslie Harris, CodePink, and Hadi Jawad, Middle East Peace Committee.

Visiting Senator Cornyn’s office in Dallas on the Iran deal are Joyce Hall, Pax Christi Dallas; Mavis Belisle, Nuclear Free World Committee; Bill Maxwell, Dallas Peace & Justice Center; Leslie Harris, CodePink, & Hadi Jawad, Middle East Peace Committee.

PC Long Island (NY) members rally outside Sen. Schumer's office.

PC Long Island (NY) members rally outside Sen. Schumer’s office.

PAX CHRISTI LOCAL GROUPS PARTICIPATE IN CAMPAIGN NONVIOLENCE: Pax Christi regions and local groups are participating in the Campaign Nonviolence week of actions, Sept. 20-27, all across the nation. A sampling of PCUSA activities includes: Pax Christi Memphis’ Interfaith Vigil at the Civil Rights Museum; Pax Christi San Diego will be hosting a Peace Prayer Vigil on Sept. 21, the International Day for Peace, and an Autumn Equinox Interfaith Peace Ritual on Sept. 23; PC Florida will hold an action against drones at MacDill Air Force base and a nonviolence training with Kit Evans-Ford of Pace e Bene; and PC Beverly (MA) has planned an Interfaith Candlelight Vigil on Sept. 22 at the Peace Pole on Beverly Common…

PAX CHRISTI ILLINOIS TO FOCUS ON OVERCOMING WHITE SUPREMACY: Pax Christi Illinois will host their 2015 annual gathering, “Set the Captives Free: Is there a way beyond White Supremacy?” on Saturday, October 3rd, from 1-4pm at Ascension Catholic Church, 808 S. East Ave, Oak Park, IL. The presenter is  Alex Mikulich, Ph.D., a Roman Catholic anti-racist theologian and social ethicist at the Jesuit Social Research Institute of Loyola University in New Orleans. He will be discussing the possibility of white Catholic activists and other people of faith working through white supremacy. He begins with an understanding of the depth of the wound that is racism in America, including how it is killing all of us and holds us captive. Mikulich draws upon his recent book, The Scandal of White Complicity in US Hyper-Incarceration, to demonstrate how the U.S. system is designed to control black and brown bodies as it maintains white innocence and superiority. He also draws upon the wisdom of Thomas Merton to propose a spirituality open to the possibility of overcoming white supremacy.

PEACE ACTIVISTS CONVERGE ON LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (from The NY Times) Ellie Voutselas, 78 (Pax Christi New Mexico member) pulled from a cardboard box the sacks she had fashioned into ponchos, slicing holes in the burlap for the head and arms. Cayla Turain, 22, grabbed hers, smudged ashes on her face, and joined a silent march for peace. On Aug. 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, incinerating tens of thousands on the ground. Seventy years later, Ms. Voutselas, Ms. Turain and about 80 others marched toward the secured entrance to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the bombs that ravaged Hiroshima and, three days later, Nagasaki, had been conceived. “My generation might be the one that’s going to have to grapple with the question, to nuke or not to nuke?” Ms. Turain, a graduate student from Fort Collins, Colo., said Thursday. “I came here looking for answers.” From a stage at the Ashley Pond Park, the Rev. John Dear (PCUSA Ambassador of Peace), the Catholic priest who organized the protest and a self-described “nonviolent troublemaker” — he says he has been arrested 75 times in acts of civil disobedience against war and was once convicted of striking an F-15E fighter-bomber with a hammer inside a military base — offered his answers… Read more by clicking here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/08/us/peace-activists-descend-on-los-alamos-but-residents-remain-indifferent.html?emc=edit_th_20150808&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=805989&_r=0

PAX CHRISTI USA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR QUOTED IN STORY ON RACISM, CHARLESTON MASSACRE: Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, was quoted in a Catholic News Service story following the massacre in Charleston. The story read, in part, “Pax Christi is practicing what it preaches. It has conducted a series of dialogues over the past year in five major U.S. cities, and will add a sixth in September in the Washington-Baltimore area. A similar lack of recognition of minorities cropped up even within U.S. Catholic peace activist circles, according to Sister Patricia Chappell, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who is Pax Christi USA’s president, and herself an African-American…” Read the entire article at https://paxchristiusa.org/2015/06/30/racism-americas-original-sin-manifests-itself-again-in-charleston-shootings/

Shatha, our guide in Aida refugee camp, next to a mural listing the names of all the villages represented in the camp.

Shatha, the guide in Aida refugee camp, next to a mural listing the names of all the villages represented in the camp.

THE WITNESS OF LIVING STONES IN THE HOLY LAND: (by Rosemarie Pace, Pax Christi Metro New York coordinator) “Seventy years ago, at the end of World War II, a French woman, Madame Dortel-Claudot, and a French Bishop, Pierre-Marie Theas, began a movement to pray for peace and reconciliation between their country and Germany. It disturbed them terribly that two supposedly Catholic Christian countries could have been at war with each other, killing each other’s people. Seventy years later, Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace movement, the outgrowth of that simple beginning, spreads across six continents and continues the work of prayer, study, and action for peace, justice, and reconciliation.”… Read more at this link: https://paxchristiusa.org/2015/07/01/reflection-the-witness-of-living-stones-in-the-holy-land/

NEW MEMBERS ELECTED, APPOINTED TO THE PCUSA NATIONAL COUNCIL: Three new council members have been elected and one current member has been appointed to the Pax Christi USA National Council. From the at-large slate of candidates, Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team member Isaac Chandler and Sr. Regina Ann Brummell, CSJ have been elected to three-year terms. From the regional slate, Nancy Oetter, Pax Christi Illinois state coordinator, was elected. Additionally, Olga Sarabia of Pax Christi Southern California has been appointed to continue for another year on the council. See more by clicking here: https://paxchristiusa.org/2015/08/05/national-council-new-members-elected-appointed-to-the-pax-christi-usa-national-council/

Pax Christi USA National Council 2015-16

Pax Christi USA National Council 2015-16

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Sept. 19-20: Pax Christi Florida Assembly and Action

Sept. 20-26: World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel

Sept. 20-27: Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions

Sept. 21: International Day of Peace

Sept. 21: Global Days of Listening teleconference

Sept. 21-25: Week of Moral Action for Climate Justice

Sept. 22-26: Pope Francis in USA

Sept. 22-27: World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia

Sept. 26: International day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Oct. 3: Pax Christi New York Fall Assembly, “Jihad and Just War”, Bronx, NY

Oct. 3: “Set the Captives Free: Is there a way beyond White Supremacy?” the 2015 Pax Christi Illinois Annual Gathering at Ascension Catholic Church in Oak Park, IL; contact cordarotom@gmail.com for more info

Oct. 3-10: Keep Space for Peace Week

Oct. 4: St. Francis Day

Oct. 4-10: Ohio Walk to Stop Executions

Oct. 5: Witness Against Torture vigil in NYC

Oct. 8-11: National Black Catholic Men’s Conference, Lafayette, LA

Oct. 16-18: Pax Christi Michigan Annual Retreat with Gail Presbey, Ph.D., Roscommon, MI

Oct. 16-20: Peace Alliance conference in Washington, D.C.

Oct. 17: PC Northern California assembly, “Creative Nonviolence: Peacemaking in the 21st Century,” with Sr. Megan Rice, Rivera Sun and Elizabeth Murray, among others in Oakland. Contact oaklandcatholicworker@yahoo.com for more info

Oct. 24: NCR Conference in Illinois

Nov. 5-7: Fellowship of Reconciliation Centennial events in NY

Nov. 6-7: “Black Lives Matter: Race, Poverty and Violence Symposium” at Xavier University in New Orleans

Nov. 20-22: SOA vigil and action, Columbus, GA

Quicklinks:

Transform Now Plowshares receive “unsupervised” supervised probation at re-sentencing hearing … Pax Christi Burlington (VT) co-hosted a symposium on Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment at St. Michael’s College … NCR mentioned the efforts of Pax Christi USA in their editorial on “Churches can lead the fight against racism”PC Pittsburgh member Mimi Darragh had a letter-to-the-editor on Israel-Palestine published in America Magazine … PC Southern California co-hosted a vigil commemorating the Hiroshima-Nagasaki anniversariesPC Maine member Bill Slavick published this op-ed on the Pope’s encyclical in the Portland Press Herald … PC Viroqua (WI) hosted a screening of “The Forgotten Bomb” to commemorate the anniversaries of Hiroshima-Nagasaki … PC Long Island member Sr. Mary Beth Moore was interviewed in NCR about her life and work … PC Palm Beach (FL) member Barbara Richardson was recently awarded the Humana Good Neighbor Award at the Area Agency on Aging Prime Time Breakfast which was attended by several hundred area seniors and guests … PC Metro DC-Baltimore co-coordinator Bob Cooke was quoted in this article on Politico regarding the Iran nuclear deal … On Oct. 11, Pax Christi El Paso will be hosting the film “Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence” … PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Megan McKenna wrote this impassioned plea for the synod on families taking place later this month … PC New Jersey was a co-initiator of this report on solitary confinementMarie Dennis, PCI Co-President, had this opinion piece on the Iran nuclear deal published on the Catholic Philly site … PC Rhode Island educates on the Hiroshima-Nagasaki anniversariesPC NJ member Tom Mahedy was quoted in this piece in the Asbury Park Press at Bishop O’Connell’s celebration of the Mass for Creation … Pax Christi International’s September 2015 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Summer 2015 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: June 2015 edition features the work of PCUSA members and groups across the nation

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. 

ED. NOTE: My apologies for not getting out the May edition of On The Line last month. I was in the Middle East during the weeks I usually prepare and post this feature, and I simply didn’t have the time to pull it together in addition to my responsibilities on the Pax Christi International delegation. Thanks for your understanding!

Esther PinedaPAX CHRISTI USA MOURNS THE LOSS OF SR ESTHER PINEDA, CSJ: Pax Christi USA was saddened to learn that Sr. Esther Pineda, CSJ, a member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, has died following a short illness. “Sr. Esther was a woman of great faith and was passionate when it came to issues concerning peace and justice. Her steady and gentle manner was a major contribution to Pax Christi USA,” stated Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN. “I thank our good God for Sr. Esther and our world is a better place because of the compassion and tenderness which she shared with everyone whose lives she touched.” Read more at https://paxchristiusa.org/2015/05/08/obituary-pax-christi-usa-saddened-by-the-death-of-sr-esther-pineda-csj-national-council-member/

PAX CHRISTI METRO NY HONORS PEACEMAKERS: On Sunday, June 7th, PC Metro NY hosted our Peacemaker Award Reception honoring Sr. Joan Dawber, SC, Director of LifeWay Network; Maureen Blaine, Principal of St. Leo’s Elementary School, Corona, Queens; and Joe Dirr and Jill Frasier, Financial Advisors. We will also be honoring our Maloof Family Young Peacebuilder recipients: Mariah Espada, Marymount School of New York; Joseph Grasso, John S. Burke Catholic High School; and Juan Moreno, Cristo Rey New York High School. To read more about this year’s recipients, read the PC Metro NY newsletter at http://www.nypaxchristi.org/KeruxLive.html

Fr. Chris Ponnet of Pax Christi Los Angeles led a retreat for Maryknollers and Pax Christi members on peacemaking, nonviolence and stories of ministry in early June.

Fr. Chris Ponnet of Pax Christi Los Angeles led a retreat for Maryknollers and Pax Christi members on peacemaking, nonviolence and stories of ministry in early June.

PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL CO-PRESIDENT ADDRESSES WORLDWIDE FRANCISCANS: On 25 May, Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis addressed the 2015 General Chapter of the Ordo Fratrum Minorum (Franciscans), in Assisi. In a challenging lecture, she spoke about the urgency of working towards human and economic relationships based on the Christian and Franciscan principles of peace and of universal sister- and brotherhood. She asked the assembly to consider which of the challenges she presented are most urgent. Her questions led to a reflection, first in the various Chapter groups, then later in the prayerful atmosphere which characterized the final session of the day – a contemplative reading of the Word of God. See the video at https://paxchristiusa.org/2015/06/03/pax-christi-international-pax-christi-co-president-marie-dennis-addresses-franciscans-2015-general-chapter-in-assisi/

At 2015 Pax Christi Texas Conference in San Antonio, Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez joined the group for a photo.

At the 2015 Pax Christi Texas Conference in San Antonio, Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez joined PC Texas members for a photo.

PC FLORIDA LEADER TO PRESENT AT WILD GOOSE FESTIVAL: Joseph “Pat” Mahon of Pax Christi Florida will be presenting a workshop entitled “Photography, Spirituality, and Peacemaking” at this year’s Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina, July 9-12. The description includes, “Contemplative photography (Zen Photography), connects us intimately with the screed which surrounds us. Connecting with creation and creating icons awakes us to the fact that, as Thomas Merton says, ‘We are already one.’ This awakened awareness is the foundation for peacemaking.” Read more at http://wildgoosefestival.org/festival-2015/speakers-2015/joseph-patrick-mahon/

BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFICUL: A REFLECTION FROM PC-MA ON THE MARATHON BOMBING TRIAL: (by Pat Ferrone, PC-MA coordinator) Armed only with banners advocating mercy, and signs decrying the death penalty, nonviolent peacemakers from Agape, Pax Christi, Veterans for Peace and elsewhere, regularly stand vigil in front of the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston. In the early morning, a stream of employees, visitors, victims and lawyers pass before us, some with averted eyes or unreadable expressions, some clearly disdainful, like the man who muttered, “We should fry him – crisp as bacon.” Others, perhaps reflecting the general distaste for the death penalty in Massachusetts, pause to read the banners, or quietly voice appreciation and thanks for our witness. Reporters from the major news outlets are strategically stationed in view of the entryway, eager to capture the highlights of the day; on several occasions, interviews of vigil participants takes place, the reflections broadcast beyond our small witness… Read more at https://paxchristiusa.org/2015/05/21/reflection-blessed-are-the-merciful/

NEW OFFERINGS FROM AUTHORS WITH PAX CHRISTI USA TIES: A number of recent books have been published by authors with ties to Pax Christi USA. We encourage you to check out A Vision of Justice: Engaging Catholic Social Teaching on College Campus, by PCUSA Peace Studies liaison Ron Pagnucco at http://paxchristiusa.3dcartstores.com/VISION-OF-JUSTICE–Engaging-Catholic-Social-Teaching-on-the-College-Campus_p_289.html; and Natural Human Rights: A Theory by PC campus group advisor Michael Boylan, http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/philosophy/ethics/natural-human-rights-theory

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

June 1-30: Torture Awareness Month, http://www.tortureawareness.org/

June 18: Release of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment

June 21: Father’s Day

June 24-28: Torture Survivors Week, http://www.tassc.org/events-1/2015/6/24/18th-annual-june-survivors-week

June 27: Join PC Metro DC-Baltimore at the Air and Space Museum for a drone protest and action from 10-11:30am

June 29-July 2: Starvin for Justice: Annual Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty in Washington, D.C. (Pax Christi USA is an endorser); http://www.abolition.org/fastandvigil/

July 4: Independence Day

July 8: Advent 2015 booklets go on sale! Check back on the PCUSA website on that date; http://paxchristiusa.org

July 9-12: Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC. Several speakers with PCUSA ties will be there including Fr. John Dear, Pat Mahon, and others; http://wildgoosefestival.org/

July 24-26: National Convening of the Movement for Black Lives, Cleveland, OH; http://movementforblacklives.org/

July 31-Aug. 2: National Council Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Aug. 6: PCUSA at the Campaign Nonviolence conference in New Mexico; https://paxchristiusa.org/2015/04/29/event-pax-christi-usa-gathering-at-campaign-nonviolence-conference-august-6/

Aug. 6: Hiroshima Anniversary

Aug. 6-9: Campaign Nonviolence conference in New Mexico; http://paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence/campaign-nonviolence-national-conference/

Aug. 9: Nagasaki Anniversary

Quicklinks:

Read a number of reflections and articles from various Pax Christi USA members who were on the delegation to Israel-Palestine last month … Authors for the 2015 Advent booklet were announced in April … PC Michigan’s Summer Newsletter is out and includes info on the new PCM Coordinator (congrats Mary Hanna!); Pax Christi at Campaign Nonviolence; our 34th Annual State Conference; Take ACTION for Immigrant Rights; and more … PC Long Island hosted a report on June 9 from an audience with Pope Francis on the climate crisis by Patrick Carolan of the Franciscan Action Network … Members of Pax Christi El Paso protest regularly against the death penalty in Texas … Stephen Oldham, a member of the recent Pax Christi delegation to the Middle East, had a letter published in The Washington Post on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict … PXI Co-President Marie Dennis and PCUSA member Sr. Mary Ann McGivern were quoted in a CNS article on the U.S. lack of political will to abolish nuclear weapons … Observe this year’s Romero and Merton anniversaries with resources from Pax Christi USA … Pax Christi Texas sponsored a screening of “White Like Me” based on the work of acclaimed anti-racist educator and author Tim Wise; the film explores race and racism in the U.S. through the lens of whiteness and white privilege … Pax Christi at St. Rose of Lima parish in Gaithersburg, MD hosted a gun violence exhibit as part of the Heeding God’s Call campaign … Pax Christi Western New York spoke out against legislation to pre-empt New York State law and permit the concealed carrying of firearms by civilian non-residents … Pax Christi Beverly (MA) members and friends paid tribute to Sr. Julie Kane, SND on May 16 at St. Mary Convent for her spiritual work for peace and justice … Pax Christi International’s June 2015 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2015 edition of The Peace Current

DEATH PENALTY: The zeal of pro-death penalty advocates

dave-atwoodby David Atwood
Pax Christi Texas

I am continually amazed how far death penalty advocates will go to perpetuate the machinery of death in Texas. This time pro-death penalty legislators in Austin are pushing a bill  that would shield the identity of the suppliers of the lethal drugs used to execute prisoners in Huntsville. The rationale of these legislators is that the suppliers of these drugs will no longer provide them for executions if their identity is revealed and that executions might come to a grinding halt as a result.  Now wouldn’t that be terrible.

No death penaltyOver the years, the proponents of capital punishment have used many arguments to continue to kill prisoners. Here are some examples and my reply to their arguments:

  1. Rationale: If we don’t execute these people, they will kill again.  My Reply: Texas now has “life without parole” as an optional punishment for capital murder.  This sentence allows us to keep society safe without becoming killers ourselves.
  1. Rationale: The death penalty deters others from committing murder. My Reply: There is no firm evidence that the death penalty deters others from committing murder.  In fact, several studies have shown that the death penalty does not deter others from committing murder.  Most murderers are not thinking about consequences or do not think that they will be caught. Many are high on alcohol or drugs and are not thinking clearly. Criminal justice experts have said that murder rates are primarily affected by demographics, economics, the drug trade and community policing efforts.
  1. Rationale: If we speed up executions, they would be a greater deterrent to violent crime. My Reply: Speeding up executions would also mean that the chances of executing an innocent person would increase.
  1. Rationale: The death penalty gives the family of the victim “closure”. My Reply: While an execution may give some families of victims the satisfacion of “payback”, there is little evidence that an execution actually provides “closure” or any semblance of “healing”. What does bring healing is a loving community that helps the family through the ordeal they are experiencing and move on with their lives in a positive fashion.
  1. Rationale: The death penalty saves the state money. My Reply: The high legal expenses associated with the death penalty make it significantly more expensive than life in prison. This wasted money could be better spent on effective crime prevention programs and victims’ services.
  1. Rationale: The only people who get the death penalty are the “worst of the worst”. My Reply: Whether someone ends up on death row or not has more to do with the quality of the accused’s legal defense, the race of the victim, politics and geography.
  1. Rationale: People who commit murder are monsters who deserve to die. My Reply: It is true that a person who commits murder has done a monstrous thing and caused great suffering. However, if one looks into the background of people on death row, what you often find is a history of horrible child abuse and neglect, mental disabilities and drug/alcohol abuse. Furthermore, once confined in prison, many people become rehabilitated and are no longer a threat to society.
  1. Rationale: Our criminal justice system is fair to all people and ensures that we always get the right person. My Reply: We are aware of 12 exonerated death row prisoners in Texas alone and over 150 nationwide. There is also good evidence that Texas has executed several innocent people. The death penalty system is a human system that is imperfect and will always remain so.
  1. Rationale: The death penalty is needed to “restore order” to society. My Reply: This is not the experience of many states and nations. Eighteen U.S. states have abolished the death penalty and seem to be doing fine. However, murders still occur on a regular basis in Texas although we have had more than 520 executions. Many people believe that we would have more “order ” in our society and less crime if we would spend more of our scarce financial resources on effective crime prevention measures such as improved child protective services, youth and family services, mental health services and prisoner rehabilitation programs.
  1. Rationale: The Bible demands an “eye for an eye” approach to justice. My Reply: The “eye for an eye” concept comes for the Old Testament. This concept continues a cycle of violence and vengeance in society. In the New Testament, Jesus rejects the “eye for an eye” concept and replaces it with compassion, forgiveness and mercy. “Restorative justice” is a smarter approach to crime than “retributive justice”.

In summary, the zeal of the pro-death penalty advocates is misplaced. If they want to make society safer, they should advocate for crime prevention programs that are truly effective.

David Atwood is the Founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.