Fall Assembly 2023

Pax Christi MA Fall Assembly

The Fall Assembly was held Saturday, October 28 at St. Susanna Parish in Dedham. Keynote speaker was Rev. Kevin Peterson, founder of the New Democray Coalition and the Faneuil Hall Race and Reconciliation Project. His topic was “Renaming Faneuil Hall: the Role of Public Theology.” An afternoon panel of advocates expanded on the topic, and included Rev. Andre Bennett, President/ECCO; Youth Minister/Zion Baptist, Lynn, Rev. Valerie Copeland, Pastor, Neighborhood Church, Dorchester, and Sr. Linda Bessom, SNDdeN.

The parish hall stage displayed an installation of stones commemorating victims of gun violence arranged by Madeline Champagne and Rita Corey, with assistance from St. Susanna Pax Christi members Blanche Crandall and Pat Ferrone. Pat also  displayed her handmade tributes: long horizontal banners with the names of gun violence victims listed chronologically, and banners honoring past recipients of the Peacemaker Award.



Pax Christi Spring Retreat: Living the Company of Jesus

This spring’s retreat will feature Dr. Phil Harak, co-coordinator of Pax Christi MA. as he honors his brother, Fr. G. Simon Harak S.J., who passed into eternal life in 2019, by presenting some of Fr. Simon’s homilies and his own reflections, which focus on Jesus’ commitment to the nonviolent kingdom.

The retreat will take place on Saturday, April 22nd from 9am to 3pm at St. Thomas Parish Center, located at 1076 Thorndike St. (Rt. 32) in Palmer, MA

Additional details can be found on the attached flier.

Pax Christi Anniversary Celebration and Assembly, October 29, 2022

Build on Our Past to Create our Future

Guest Speaker: PCUSA Executive Director, Johnny Zokovitch

Keynote, workshops, Festive Lunch and Anniversary Celebrations

St. Susannah’s Parish Hall (and on Zoom), 262 Needham St., Dedham

Registration/Coffee: 8:30am

Program: 9:00am to 3:30pm

Parish Mass: 4:00pm

We’re celebrating: Pax Christi USA 50 years, Pax Christi MA 30 years, Pax Christi Maine 40+ years, Pax Christi Rhode Island 20 years!

Thousands in the U.S. Catholic Church Support Black Lives Matter and Gay Pride By Nancy Small

Recent articles about Bishop Robert McManus ordering Nativity School to take down its Black
Lives Matter (BLM) and gay pride flags have caused quite a stir in our community. Bishop
McManus suggests that flying these flags at a Catholic institution may promote an image of
inconsistency with Catholic teaching and Catholic identity. But it’s just as likely that these flags
remind people of core Catholic values which recognize each person as created in the image and
likeness of God with an inherent human dignity that is to be respected and protected.

When I see Nativity’s BLM flag, I’m reminded of Catholic leaders who have endorsed the BLM
movement and joined with it here in Worcester and across the nation. I think of leaders like
Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, TX, who knelt at a BLM vigil holding a “Black Lives Matter”
sign. I think of Sister Josita Colbert, SNDdeN, president of the National Black Sisters
Conference, who stated in a letter to an archbishop, “Black Lives is a racial justice movement…a
gospel movement…. It is a movement very much in the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.”

When I see the gay pride flag flying, I think of Catholic leaders who affirm members of the
LGBTQ+ community as made in the image and likeness of God. I think of the nine bishops who
issued a Jan. 2021 statement saying “We… say to our LGBT friends, especially young people,
that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you.
Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God is on your side.” I think of Sr.
Jeanine Gramick, SL, who has worked tirelessly for 50 years to promote the acceptance of gay
and lesbian people as full and equal members of religious, civil, and social groups, and who
recently received a commendation from Pope Francis for her work.

These leaders remind that I am part of a national Catholic Church that includes many voices
raised in support of BLM and gay pride.

According to a 2020 Pew Research survey, 77 percent of Black Catholics believe that
opposing racism is essential to their faith. A 2019 Public Religion Research Institute survey
found that 72% of Hispanic Catholics, 71% of white Catholics and 68% of other non-white
Catholics support laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination.

I have a longstanding affiliation with Pax Christi USA (PCUSA), a 50-year old national Catholic
peace and justice organization of lay women and men, women religious, priests, deacons,
brothers, bishops and Catholics of all stripes whose president has always been a bishop. Rooted
in gospel nonviolence, PCUSA rejects every form of violence and domination, including
personal and systemic racism, and represents the voices of thousands of Catholics. Its website
includes these statements of principle:

“As a community of conscience, we assert that Black lives matter and that the violence inherent
in systemic racism is an affront to the God who creates, redeems, and sanctifies all, and calls us
together as one family.

As a community of conscience, we affirm the right of LGBTQ people to equality, which includes
.. a cultural and religious transformation to celebrate every person’s sexual orientation and
gender identity as being made imago Dei.

These principles, written before the 2020 national elections, affirm the importance of Catholics
standing in solidarity with two disenfranchised groups seeking to have their human dignity and
civil rights respected.

Now is not the time for Catholic schools and institutions to take down their Black Lives Matter
and gay pride flags. Now is the time for all of us who identify as Catholic to hoist these flags
high with hope. Now is the time for Catholics throughout the Commonwealth to stand with our
Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers to let them know their lives matter deeply to us
and so does their liberation. Now is the time to open wide the doors of our churches and our
hearts and warmly say, “Welcome home.”

Nancy Small, a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace, lives in Worcester, MA.

2022 Pax Christi Massachusetts Peacemaker Award Nomination

To be awarded at the annual Pax Christi Massachusetts Assembly Fall 2022

This award is given to an outstanding peacemaker who embodies the ideals of Pax Christi. She or he need not be a member of Pax Christi and may be a person as young as 16, or older. Nominations may be submitted by PCMA members, teachers, campus ministers, parish pastoral leaders, youth ministers, family members or friends who have been inspired by the nominee.

DEADLINE: Nominations must be received by September 1, 2022.

SEND TO: Mike Moran, 135 Shearer Street, Palmer, MA 01069 (or email: [email protected])

“Wisdom Speaks to and from All Ages” – Pax Christi MA spring retreat with Sr. Jane and Fr. Brian

Saturday April 23rd, 2022 10:00am to 12:30pm
Via Zoom

Pax Christi Massachusetts will gather and pray at its Spring Retreat via Zoom on April 23rd from 10:00am to 12:30pm. We will draw wisdom from the young and the old. We take our cue from this year’s Papal Message for the World Day of Peace, January 1st, 2022, Tools for Dialogue Between Generations, Education for Building Lasting Peace.” Using the See, Reflect and Act method, we will listen to youth sharing their concerns and hopes through short videos.

Sr. Jane Morrissey and Rev. Brian Ashmankas will reflect on that wisdom and share their own insights, wisdom, hopes, and dreams.  The Holy Spirit, we trust, will empower all of us to appropriate action for peace rooted in common prayer as we celebrate and experience the grace of Christ’s Resurrection.

Registration is free. Email [email protected] by April 8th and we will sendyou the link inviting you into the meeting. For those who   wish to offer a donation to support this event, you can make the check out to Pax Christi MA and mail it to Pax Christi MA 6 Bolser Avenue, Natick, MA 01760.  For information: [email protected]

Sr. Jane Morrissey, a Sister of St. Joseph of Springfield, has worked and taught among the poor in Holyoke and Springfield as well as abroad in Colom bia, Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala. She is one of the founders of Pax Christi in our State.

Fr. Brian Ashmankas is a newly ordained priest and has been active in Pax Christ for many years including work in prison ministry and service as a member of our state board and the Pax Christi USA National Council. His ministry currently focuses on facilitating online conversations between those on the religious peripheries, including the so-called “nones,” from multiple states, backgrounds, and generations.

Co-sponsored by the Agape Community and St. Susanna Parish, Dedham

Fall Assembly with Eli McCarthy on Remembering, Repenting, and Restoring

This year’s fall assembly will take place on Zoom from 9:30am to 1:30pm.  The featured speaker will be Prof. Eli McCarthy of Georgetown University and the theme of the day will be Remembering, Repenting, Restoring: Mining the wisdom of Pope Francis as we confront the challenges of Racism, Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons/War through his writings in Fratelli Tutti and Laudato Si.  It will also include presentations on nuclear weapons/war, racism, and climate change from representatives of some of our partner organizations.  Full details can be found on the above flier.

Spring Retreat to take place on Zoom: April 17, 2021 from 10am to 12:30pm

“Building Emotional and Spiritual Resilience”

In the face of converging social and ecological crises, how do we maintain courage and hope? What spiritual practices and perspectives sustain us as we struggle to protect the web of life and to create a more just society? Through a mix of presentations and small group conversations, this morning retreat will explore a framework for the heart to help us become compassionate, prophetic leaders who are willing and able to take up the mantle of moral leadership that this decisive moment in history requires.

Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas is an Episcopal priest, author, and retreat leader who serves as Missioner for Creation Care for both the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and Mass. Conference, United Church of Christ. Rev. Margaret offers encouragement and guidance on creation care topics through articles, sermons and more on her website, www.RevivingCreation.org, which she calls a place “to rest and reflect, to learn and find encouragement.”

“Sue Malone, longtime member of the Pax Christi MA board and lifelong peace activist joins the Communion of Saints.”

“Yes, she was indeed a passionate and outspoken advocate for peace and social justice. Whether it was standing in an Arizona desert as part of a protest against a death penalty execution or getting arrested in Westborough for protesting work being done on nuclear missiles or years of standing on the Westborough rotary to protest the futility and waste of war or contacting government officials, she walked the walk. Sue also joined church groups in visiting Haiti and Guatemala and saw the poverty of so many of the people. As arthritis overtook her body, action was seldom easy, but Sue would not give up. She was a long-time member of Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace organization, and was a veteran member of the board of Pax Christi Massachusetts. In 2019 that organization presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award for over forty years of dedication to the ideals of Pax Christi. In a broader context, Sue’s heart always went out to anyone in need and she would look for ways to give assistance. Kindness was a way of life for her. One could not begin to count the number of people she helped directly or made contributions to organizations in a position to help. If there was a theme to her life, it was one of service to others”


Sue’s full obituary can be found here: