Registration Now Open for January 27 Forum “Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons: An Urgent Imperative”

Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons:
An Urgent Imperative

Most Rev. John C. Wester
Archbishop of Santa Fe, NM
Dr. Ira Helfand
Past president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and a member of the International Steering Board of ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Marie Dennis
Catholic Nonviolence Initiative/Pax Christi International
Our online forum, offered in association with Pax Christi USA, will examine the existential threat and moral implications of nuclear weapons, encourage dialogue about solutions, and urge prayer and action from individuals and groups.

SAVE THE DATE! Online Forum — “Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons: An Urgent Imperative” JANUARY 27, 2024, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET

“To love our enemies means we have to begin the process of ending our preparations to kill them, including our preparations to drop nuclear weapons on them.”

Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament
A Pastoral Letter by Most Reverend John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe

January 11, 2022, page 16

As we approach the second anniversary of Archbishop Wester’s pastoral letter, cited above, and the third anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entering into force, Pax Christi Massachusetts is planning an online forum on January 27, 2024, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET, entitled Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons: An Urgent Imperative, to examine the existential threat and moral implications of nuclear weapons, to enter into dialogue about solutions, and to urge prayer and action from individuals and groups.

Registration details are still being developed, but three powerful speakers have already been secured: Archbishop Wester; Dr. Ira Helfand, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)/Back from the Brink, and Marie Dennis, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative/Pax Christi International. Claire Schaeffer-Duffy of SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker, Worcester, will serve as moderator.

We thank and welcome our many co-sponsors for this forum! You can find them all listed here.

Keep watching for the registration opportunity! 

If you have questions about the event, please email [email protected].

Northampton Peace Activists Initiate Fast for Palestine, and Invite all to Join

Calling on their neighbors and friends to join them, a coalition of Northampton peace activists initiated a fast for Palestine on December 12, 2023. Pax Christi MA is supporting this effort, which is described in this press release. The fast will be maintained until all of the area’s elected officials support two main demands:

1.      A permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank.
2.      Enforcement by the President and Congress of the Leahy Law with respect to the Israel Defense Forces.  This law prohibits shipment of U.S. weapons to gross violators of human rights.
Click here for a descriptive flyer, which includes more background information and contact information for Central/Western MA legislators.
Neighbors and friends who wish to show solidarity are invited to join the fasters as outlined in the flyer, join in some modified form (e.g., one day per week) and/or support the fasters with prayer.

Stopping the Genocide in Palestine: A Conversation with Craig Mokhiber, December 9, 2023

This webinar, presented by PCAP (Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace) and FOSNA (Friends of Sabeel North America), was co-sponsored by Pax Christi MA.

Archbishop John Wester on Dorothy Day and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, author of Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament, was in New York City during the last week of November for the Second Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations. While there he offered a Mass at the Church of the Divine Savior on the anniversary of the death of Dorothy Day, November 29. A small but enthusiastic contingent from Pax Christi MA was in attendance. Archbishop Wester’s homily is linked above. Here is the link to his letter, co-signed with other bishops, to the UN meeting

Statement in Support of the Second Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Archbishop Wester’s homily, Mass at Church of the Divine, 11/29/2023

Attending the Mass from Massachusetts were, from left, Christopher Spicer Hankle, Pat Ferrone, Karen Brennan, Linda Taylor, Archbishop John Wester, Madeline Labriola (Rhode Island), and Peter Metz. Also attending but not in the photo: Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, and Dr. Ira Helfand.

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.