2018 Appeal for support

“Peace firstly means there are no wars … but it also means that there is friendship between all, that every day a step ahead is made for justice, so that there are no more children who are hungry, that there are no more sick children who do not have the possibility of receiving healthcare. Doing all of this means making peace. Peace involves work, it is not about staying calm and doing nothing. No! True peace means working so that everyone has a solution to the problems, to the needs, that they have in their land, in their homeland, in their family, in their society.” — Pope Francis

Dear Members of Pax Christi Massachusetts,

As our calendar year is coming to an end, we once again reach out to you for your support.  Your continued generosity has assisted all our work, as we try to practice the way of nonviolence and aspire for peace and justice.  Since Pax Christi Massachusetts does not charge membership dues, we depend on donations to fund our Annual Retreat, our Annual Assembly, our semi-annual newsletters, and our grants to new local groups that are beginning the work of Pax Christi Massachusetts.

This past April we held a spring retreat at Elms College in Chicopee and were thrilled to see an excellent participation level.  Western Massachusetts really hit it out of the park!  Fr. Warren Savage facilitated what proved to be a profound experience as we reflected on the theme Witnessing the Roots of Peace in a World of Discord and Hate. In October, we gathered for our Annual Assembly at St. Malachy Parish in Burlington where Erin Freeborn and Candace Julyan from the Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ) engaged us in thoughtful discussion and reflection about the positive changes in society that restorative justice practices can yield.  Pax Christi Massachusetts also co-sponsored this year’s Annual St. Francis Day at Agape and published two comprehensive newsletters that highlighted several social justice initiatives happening in our state.

We know that you receive numerous requests for charitable contributions this time of year.  We would be very grateful if you could help out. No donation is too small. Please consider writing a tax-deductible check to Pax Christi Massachusetts and sending it to 6 Bolser Avenue, Natick MA 01760.

Sincerely,
Charles E. Gobron
Treasurer, Pax Christi Massachusetts

Steadfast Hope: The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace

Pax Christi MetroWest and Mass. Peace Action are sponsoring a 3-part Study Group about the Palestine / Israel conflict, based on research by scholars in both America and the Middle East.

The conflict in the Middle East, especially Israel / Palestine, is currently often in our news media.  But most Americans do not know the history and current realities of this conflict, and as importantly, steps toward peace in the region that we can take locally.

The Study Group discussions will focus on the informative book, Steadfast Hope: The Palestinian quest for Just Peace  and a companion DVD.  These resources are researched, written, and published by the national Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches.

This 46 page booklet and DVD will be available prior to the start of each 3-series meetings.    Each discussion meeting will take about 90 minutes.

Currently a new Study Group will meet at the Xaverian House of Prayer / Fatima Shrine in Holliston on three Friday afternoons at 4 PM, usually lasting a bit over an hour.

November 30, December 7, and December 14.

101 Summer Street    Holliston, MA  01746

The purpose of the Pax Christi MetroWest group is to work toward peace, justice, and equality with a special focus on Palestine / Israel.    We do this by:

  1. Educating ourselves and others about nonviolent ways toward peace, especially in the Middle East and
  2. Taking prayer-based action based on the facts we have learned.

To let us know you are interested in attending or for questions please contact:

PeaceJPL@comcast.net or Fr. Rocco Puopolo at frrocco@xaverianmissionaries.org .

2018 State Assembly on Restorative Justice

Erin Freeborn, the executive director of Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ) lead this year’s annual assembly.  The assembly took place at St. Mulachy’s Parish, 99 Bedford Street, Burlington, MA on Saturday October 20th from 11am to 3:30pm.  Photographs from the day are included here.

PCUSA Statement on Militarization

“The land of the free and the home of the brave” is quickly becoming an oxymoron with the latest decision by the White House to deploy the National Guard to the Southern Border region of the US. This is another indignity aimed at our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers who predominantly come from communities of color.  Those coming today are mostly women and children seeking request for asylum under US domestic law.  They post no security threat, nor are they the villains that the White House portrays.    In addition this administration’s suggestion to arm teachers and security guards in our schools and the continuing militarization of our city streets is a sad commentary on the moral values of this current administration.

To confront areas of tension with weapons of violence is to breed more violence.  Adding to tensions already present is to set a stage which is dangerous, ineffective and morally irresponsible.

Our Catholic Social Teaching stresses that equality and dignity are the result of human security (not border security), freedom to learn and thrive in an atmosphere of respect (not fear of being killed for holding a cell phone), and where the common good of all enacts sensible gun legislation (and not bowing to a gun lobby whose only interest is a profit motive.)

As members of Pax Christi USA we encourage us all to use our power to address the disproportionate and growing issue of militarism that is both a contradiction and an affront to our values as members of the community of peacemakers.

Pax Christi Massachusetts Spring 2018 Retreat

Witnessing the Roots of Peace in the World of Discord and Hate

Transcending the deep racism in our history and the current
worldwide anti-immigrant feeling to re-engage public
discourse and build the beloved community of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.

Retreat Leader: Fr. Warren Savage

Saturday, April 7, at ELMS College

Faculty Dining Room of the Mary Dooley Campus Center, 291 Springfield Street, Chicopee, MA

Registration begins at 9:30 – Program 10:00 am to 3:30 pm

View the Flyer Here

From Just War to Just Peace? Peacemaking as Gospel Vocation

The 2017 Pax Christi Massachusetts annual fall Assembly featured as keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Sowle Cahill, the J. Donald Monan professor of theology at Boston College, addressing the topic, “From Just War to Just Peace?; Peacemaking as Gospel Vocation.” The event attracted 60 or so Pax Christi members and supporters to St. Susanna Parish in Dedham on Saturday, December 2, 2017.  The author of many articles and books, including ‘Love Your Enemies: Discipleship, Pacifism, and Just War Theory (Fortress, 1994), Dr. Cahill was one of 80 worldwide participants, and the only one from New England, at the April 2016 conference “On Violence and Just Peace,” convened in Rome by Pax Christi International and the Vatican.  Rome conference participants (https://nonviolencejustpeace.net) She began with a brief summary of the background paper on Catholic social teaching and just war theory that she had been asked to prepare for the Rome conference. She noted the irony that while every modern Pope (since World War II) has unequivocally condemned war, they all “leave the door open” to the use of violence as a last resort in self-defense.  But Dr. Cahill argued that Pope Francis is trying to focus the Church on “nonviolent conflict resolution” in the form of “peacebuilding.” She described this process as the finding of common ground between conflicting parties, most often in “the global south,” who are tired of endless warfare and need to find a just and sustainable way of living together. This daily reality, she suggested, makes the academic debate about “just war” vs. “just peace” at best “distracting” and at worst “divisive.” Put another way, she said there is “no just war in practice.”  Dr. Cahill also noted that while the Rome conference produced a consensus “Appeal to the Catholic Church to re-commit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence,” a number of other viewpoints we re-expressed in the “background papers” submitted from around the world. She saw Pope Francis’s World Day of Peace message for 2017 (“Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace”) as a direct outgrowth of the conference. She suggested that we familiarize ourselves with all these documents at the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative web site: https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/ After wryly commenting that “proof texting” is “not the Catholic way,” Dr. Cahill nevertheless pointed out the “Gospel basis of nonviolence” in several passages from Scripture, especially the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:38-44).  Dr. Lisa Cahill (bc.edu) In response to several questions following her remarks, ably solicited Oprah-style via mobile microphone by PCMA board member John Monaco, Dr. Cahill: revealed that she’s working on an updated edition of ‘Love Your Enemies’ ; and affirmed her belief in a “preferential option for pacifism” in contemporary Catholicism.  This year’s Assembly took the innovative form of beginning with a light lunch and social time at 11:00 am, followed by the keynote at 12:30 pm.  Lunch still included the full array of delicious home-made pies and other treats contributed by St. Susanna parishioners at prior Pax Christi events there. At the annual PCMA business meeting after the keynote, the 2017 peacemaker award went to Bill Toller of Springfield, whose separate profile in this issue more than establishes his bona fides.   An afternoon session facilitated by Pax Christi MA co-coordinator Fr. Rocco Puopolo, drew many thoughtful responses to three questions following up on Dr. Cahill’s presentation:

1. What is your vision of the ways and means to move forward with the “Appeal” that arose out of the Vatican conference in April 2016?

2. How can we make this information available to parishes throughout the state?

3. What “best practices” in your nonviolent peacemaking life seem to carry seeds of hope for change? A number of concrete suggestions, from local bulletin inserts, to collaborative support with other like-minded organizations for refugees, to further contacts with Pax Christi USA and our Bishops, promised that Dr. Cahill’s reminder about the power of public opinion to create change would not go unheeded.

[from the Winter-Spring 2018 Newsletter, article by Mike Moran]

One Thousand Ministers March for Justice

On Monday, August 28th in Washington DC, one thousand ministers will March from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to the Department of Justice to reaffirm that religious and community leaders are committed to being at the forefront of Social Justice and Civil Rights as Dr. King did 54 years ago.  See more details here.  #MM4J

An Update from Sister Helen Prejean

In her latest newsletter, Sister Helen speaks about the ongoing executions in Arkansas, the struggle to prevent them, and other updates on the movement to end the death penalty

2017 Spring Retreat

The Pax Christi Massachusetts Spring Retreat took place on Saturday, April 8th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Assumption College in Worcester (La Maison Administration Building, 500 Salisbury St.).  The retreat was directed by Fr. Tom McMurray SJ with a theme of “Living Hope” and allowed those in attendance to further ground their hope in God’s promise, compassion, faithfulness and dream for us and all creation.

 

Annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross at Massachusetts Statehouse

From Noon to 3pm on April 14th (Good Friday) join with various peace and religious communities in the front of the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston in a silent vigil with individual reflections on the sufferings of Christ as we see the sufferings of the world crucified by war and violence.  All are welcome