Yes on 62! Call to Action!

JusticeThatWorksPax Christi Southern California

invites you to join us on

Saturday, September 24th, 2016
8:30 am to 2:00 pm

to gather together congregation and community groups
and reach out to our neighbors in support of Prop 62 on the November ballot
to end the Death Penalty in California.

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Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 9 August 2016

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
A Candlelight Vigil for Peace and Global Nuclear Disarmament

7:00 pm (until 8:00 pm),
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

At the late Paul Conrad’s unique and creative ‘Chain Reaction’
landmarked 26-foot-tall nuclear mushroom cloud peace sculpture
and warning monument located in the Santa Monica Civic Center
(1800 block of Main Street just north of Pico Blvd.).

Free to the public. Parking available at City surface lot next to Chain Reaction.
Sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility, L.A. Chapter.

RIP Father Daniel Berrigan

JESUIT FATHER DANIEL BERRIGANJesuit Father Daniel Berrigan, an early critic of U.S. military intervention in Vietnam who for years challenged the country’s reliance on military might, died April 30. He was 94.

The author of several books of poetry and one of the first Catholic priests to receive a federal sentence for peace activism, Father Berrigan protested government policies in word and in deeds, which garnered several stays in jail and in federal prison.

Father Berrigan died in the company of family. In a statement issued shortly after the priest’s death, the family said, “It was a sacrament to be with Dan and feel his spirit move out of his body and into each of us and in the world.”

“Dan taught us that every person is a miracle, every person has a story, every person is worthy of respect,” the statement said. “And we are so aware of all he did and all he was and all he created in almost 95 years of life lived with enthusiasm, commitment, seriousness and almost holy humor.”

The “heavy burden” of peacemaking will continue among many people, the family added, saying, “We can all move forward Dan Berrigan’s work for humanity.”

Full story on Catholic News Service

Jewish Prayer for the Dead of 9/11

On Friday, September 25 2015, Pope Francis presided at a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center.

In a haunting chant, Park Avenue Synagogue Cantor Azi Schwartz sang this prayer:

O G-d, full of compassion, Who dwells on high,
grant true rest upon the wings of the Shechinah,
in the exalted spheres of the holy and pure,
who shine as the resplendence of the firmament,
to the souls of Victims of September 11th
who [have] gone to their eternal home;
may their place of rest be in Gan Eden.
Therefore, may the All-Merciful One
shelter them with the cover of His wings forever,
and bind their souls in the bond of life.
The Lord is their heritage;
may they rest in peace;
and let us say: Amen!

Never Again – Hiroshima 70th Anniversary Vigil – Aug. 5

Never Again flyer
Hiroshima 70th Anniversary Vigil to Mark Exact Time of Atomic Bomb Explosion
August 5 event at Chain Reaction in Santa Monica

On August 5, 2015 at 4 pm sharp, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA), Pax Christi, and eleven other social justice organizations will host “Never Again – Hiroshima 70th Anniversary Vigil” at the Chain Reaction peace sculpture in Santa Monica. A moment of silence will be observed at 4:15 pm, the exact time the first bomb was dropped over Hiroshima (8:15 am August 6 in Japan local time).

The vigil will feature a presentation of the Hiroshima Peace Flame by Reverend Ryuzen Hayashi of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple. The flame was brought from Hiroshima to Los Angeles by former Mayor Tom Bradley in 1989.

“It is imperative that we remember the destruction and lives lost 70 years ago due to the atomic bombings,” said Dr. Jimmy Hara, Board Member of PSR-LA. “Most were women, children, and the elderly. Nuclear weapons must never be used again.” Hara is a longtime advocate for nuclear disarmament and the recipient of numerous public health awards including the Medical Board of California’s Physician Humanitarian Award.

The August 5 Hiroshima commemoration will also feature journalist Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief of TruthDig, who has covered nuclear issues since the Cold War. Scheer has interviewed every President from Nixon to Clinton. In a 1980 Los Angeles Times interview, then-candidate George H.W. Bush revealed to Scheer that he believed a nuclear war was winnable.

The global nuclear arsenal has since dropped dramatically, from 70,000 weapons to over 15,000 today. But many scientists and scholars contend the nuclear threat remains very real – and growing. This year the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hand on its allegorical “Doomsday Clock” further to 3 minutes before midnight, citing weapons modernization programs, stalled arms reductions, and international tensions.

A renewed global effort for disarmament is emerging. At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in May, 159 countries (82% of all nations) delivered a Joint Statement demanding that the nuclear-armed countries agree to totally eliminate their arsenals. Over 110 countries support a legal ban.

Focusing on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent have called for weapons elimination, and just last month, the American Medical Association adopted a resolution urging the U.S. and world governments “to continue to work to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.”

Pope Francis has also called for nuclear abolition. “Pope Francis reminds us that even the possession of nuclear weapons is morally problematic.” said Alice Soto of Pax Christi, a Catholic peace organization. “As we remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must recommit to abolishing these indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction.”

The “Never Again” vigil will take place at the Chain Reaction peace sculpture in Santa Monica, which depicts a nuclear mushroom cloud created from chain links. The sculpture was designed by three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Conrad and gifted to the City of Santa Monica in 1991.

For more information, see attached flyer or visit .

# # #

PSR-LA is the largest chapter of the national organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Physicians for the Prevent of Nuclear War.

The Quest for Peace and Justice

On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to him for leading nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice in the U.S. The following is an excerpt from Dr. King’s Nobel Lecture on December 11, 1964.

261px-Martin_Luther_King_-_March_on_Washington[1]“The word that symbolizes the spirit and the outward form of our encounter is nonviolence, and it is doubtless that factor which made it seem appropriate to award a peace prize to one identified with struggle. Broadly speaking, nonviolence in the civil rights struggle has meant not relying on arms and weapons of struggle. It has meant noncooperation with customs and laws which are institutional aspects of a regime of discrimination and enslavement. It has meant direct participation of masses in protest, rather than reliance on indirect methods which frequently do not involve masses in action at all.

Nonviolence has also meant that my people in the agonizing struggles of recent years have taken suffering upon themselves instead of inflicting it on others. It has meant, as I said, that we are no longer afraid and cowed. But in some substantial degree it has meant that we do not want to instill fear in others or into the society of which we are a part. The movement does not seek to liberate Negroes at the expense of the humiliation and enslavement of whites. It seeks no victory over anyone. It seeks to liberate American society and to share in the self-liberation of all the people.

pullq1Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. In a real sense nonviolence seeks to redeem the spiritual and moral lag that I spoke of earlier as the chief dilemma of modern man. It seeks to secure moral ends through moral means. Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.

I believe in this method because I think it is the only way to reestablish a broken community. It is the method which seeks to implement the just law by appealing to the conscience of the great decent majority who through blindness, fear, pride, and irrationality have allowed their consciences to sleep.

pullq2The nonviolent resisters can summarize their message in the following simple terms: we will take direct action against injustice despite the failure of governmental and other official agencies to act first. We will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully because our aim is to persuade. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts. We will always be willing to talk and seek fair compromise, but we are ready to suffer when necessary and even risk our lives to become witnesses to truth as we see it.

This approach to the problem of racial injustice is not at all without successful precedent. It was used in a magnificent way by Mohandas K. Gandhi to challenge the might of the British Empire and free his people from the political domination and economic exploitation inflicted upon them for centuries. He struggled only with the weapons of truth, soul force, non-injury, and courage.

In the past ten years unarmed gallant men and women of the United States have given living testimony to the moral power and efficacy of nonviolence. By the thousands, faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black and white, have temporarily left the ivory towers of learning for the barricades of bias. Their courageous and disciplined activities have come as a refreshing oasis in a desert sweltering with the heat of injustice. They have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. One day all of America will be proud of their achievements.

I am only too well aware of the human weaknesses and failures which exist, the doubts about the efficacy of nonviolence, and the open advocacy of violence by some. But I am still convinced that nonviolence is both the most practically sound and morally excellent way to grapple with the age-old problem of racial injustice.”

Paths to JUST PEACE, September 21, 2014

image001An Interfaith Celebration of

Co-Sponsored at
Holy Spirit Retreat Center of the Sisters of Social Service,
with Pax Christi Southern California and Campaign Nonviolence

Sunday, September 21, 2014
12:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Come to celebrate and learn what paths we might take
in order to work towards nonviolent actions promoting a JUST PEACE.

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Pope Francis as Peacemaker

by Thomas H. Smolich, S.J.
on March 22, 2014
at Pax Christi Southern California Assembly


What is your image of the first year of Pope Francis?

One powerful image is the September 7, 2013 day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East and the World, culminating in a four-hour vigil of prayer for Syria… his words:

“How I wish that all men and women of goodwill would look to the Cross if only for a moment! There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered by violence, death is not answered with the language of death.”

As my brother Gerard Whelan, SJ commented: “when the Pope arrived it was like a friend and neighbor thanking us for having accepted an invitation to visit him at his home.”

PDF of the complete text of Fr. Tom’s presentation: Pope Francis as peacemaker

John Dear, The Nonviolent Life Tour, 2014 February 5, South Pasadena

Pace e Bene Outreach Coordinator John Dear is traveling the nation February through May 2014 promoting his new book The Nonviolent Life and encouraging everyone to take part in Pace e Bene’s powerful new movement for nonviolent change: Campaign Nonviolence.

He will be speaking at Holy Family Church on February 5th in South Pasadena, CA.

February 5, 2014
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Holy Family Church
1527 Fremont Ave, South Pasadena

Pax Christ Southern California is co-sponsoring this event with Holy Family Church, South Pasadena.

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Pope Francis: Hunger is a scandal

2013-12-11 Vatican Radio

Pope Francis on Wednesday spoke out against the scourge of hunger saying that “the scandal that millions of people suffer from hunger must not paralyze us, but push each and every one of us to act: singles, families, communities, institutions, governments, to eliminate this injustice”.

Speaking at the end of his General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope mentioned the global Caritas Internationalis campaign, “One Human Family, Food for All”, to end hunger and food waste. He had immediately put his full support behind the campaign when it was launched this week with a video message in which he noted that nearly one billion people still suffer from hunger worldwide today, and said: “We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist”.

Pax Christi USA gives thanks for the life of Nelson Mandela

Posted on December 6, 2013

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  ~ Nelson Mandela

 Pax Christi USA, upon learning of the death of Nelson Mandela, joins with people all over the world who are mourning his passing and celebrating his life. His extraordinary personal witness to the power of justice and reconciliation serves as a model for political leaders everywhere. His leadership in uniting the people of South Africa and overcoming apartheid displayed the power of truth and nonviolence to transform fear and conflict in individuals and a nation.

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ICUJP: Three Paths to Peace

On September 8, ICUJP honored three peacemakers at the Agape International Spiritual Center.

At a time when the US is at the brink of war again, as it was 12 years ago when ICUJP was formed, this was an opportunity to hear about these important Journeys Towards Peace, and to join in the continuing Journey!

Leonard Beerman was the founding rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles and has been a long-time international activist on the issues of peace and social justice.

Maher M. Hathout is the senior advisor of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and is a leading spokesperson for the American Muslim community.

Eisha Mason is the Associate Regional Director of the West Region of the American Friends Service Committee.  She has been a courageous spokesperson for justice and peace, an author and teacher of nonviolence.

Pax Christi of Pomona Valley Annual Dinner

Noted prison expert and author Dr. David Werner, professor at the University of La Verne, will speak about “The Prison: Accident, Success or Failure?” on Saturday, April 13, in Claremont during the 2013 Annual Dinner sponsored by Pax Christi of the Pomona Valley and the Peace with Justice Center.

The event begins at 5:45 p.m. in the auditorium at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 435 Berkeley Ave., Claremont CA 91711.
Dinner will be served at 6:15.

Dr. Werner has directed and taught in the University’s prison program for 30 years, has spoken widely and internationally on prison-related issues and authored a key text for prison educators.

Tickets for the event are $25 general and $15 for students and persons with low income. Vegetarian options will be available.

For reservations and information:

Nick Parra: 909 455-8293 or
Connie Weir: 909 596-4460

James Carroll Talk in La Verne

James Carroll of the Boston Globe, author of several books, including Constantine’s Sword and House of War, will be speaking in La Verne on Sunday April 7, 2013 at 7 p.m.

His talk is called “Toward a Civil Society“. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $10. Student price is $1. Good to arrive at least 15 minutes early.

7:00 PM, Sunday, April 7, 2013
LaVerne Church of the Brethren
2425 “E” St.
La Verne CA 91750
(corner of Bonita & “E” St.)

One Billion Rising Ecumenical Liturgical Service

UN statistics report that 1 in 3 women on the planet will experience violence in her lifetime, which amounts to over 1 billion people. On February 14th , join us in an ecumenical service to remember the women and girls who have been harmed and to call upon a spirit of healing and empowerment as we rise in a commitment to ending violence against women and girls.

Church of the Blessed Sacrament
6657 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA
Feb 14th at 8:30 am

For more information:

Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

Please join us at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, the largest annual gathering of its kind in the world. The four-day event is held at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center and is sponsored by the Los Angeles Office of Religious Education. Begun in 1968 as an “institute,” RECongress is open to people of all vocations and different faiths.

Youth Day (February 21, 2013) – Congress opens on Thursday with a day-long event for high school youth. This is an opportunity for students – not only from the Los Angeles Archdiocese but throughout California and the western states – to come together and share in Liturgy, workshops, entertainment and to experience the energy of a Youth Day Rally.

Congress days (February 22-24) – The remaining three-day weekend is open to adults and young adults and offers more than 200 speakers presenting over 300 workshops, in addition to lunchtime entertainment, evening concerts, Liturgy in a variety of characters, the Exhibit Hall and much more.

Free Exhibits (open to Registrants only) – One of the perks of Congress is the Exhibit Hall – held Friday through Sunday – showcasing over 200 companies ranging from religious art to music, and from publishing houses to educational institutions, in addition to our own represented Archdiocesan ministries.

Local Guantanamo Activities, 11 January 2013

Pax Christi Southern California joins ICUJP and NRCAT in calling for a shutdown of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Join NRCAT and other organizations in urging the President to continue working to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. This January’s clarion call is “Eleven Years Too Many!”

If you are able, please join us in Washington, DC, for this important public witness on January 11, 2013. This event will be an important opportunity for NRCAT supporters who have worked on this issue.

If you can’t come to DC, January brings two important anniversaries that offer good opportunities for local organizing:

  • January 11, 2013 – 11th anniversary of the arrival of the first prisoners at Guantanamo.
  • January 22, 2013 – 4th anniversary of the executive order calling for Guantanamo’s closure.

Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
National Religious Campaign Against Torture


Regional Assembly 2012 Photos

Pax Christi Southern California held its regional assembly on September 29, 2012 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The assembly entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers: Gospel Nonviolence and the Road to Peace” featured Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and author Fr. John Dear, S.J.

Please specify a Flickr ID for this galleria

California Homeless Bill of Rights

Dear brothers and sisters,

Every person is created in the image of God. Many of these persons are being oppressed and persecuted simply because of their economic status. It would be of great help if you would help promote a Homeless Bill of Rights for the State of California. Below is a link to a petition started by Homeless advocates in Palo Alto who are apposing a local Vehicle Habitation Ordinance. The petition is requesting that the California Legislator enact a Homeless Bill of Rights patterned after the example provided in the petition and that of Rhode Islands. It would be greatly appreciated if you would sign this petition to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights patterned after Rhode Island’s.

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Response to hearing on solitary confinement

19 June 2012

Religious coalition responds to first-ever
Congressional hearing on prolonged solitary confinement

Hundreds of religious leaders and people of faith nationwide conclude 23-hour fast
drawing attention to the harm caused by prolonged solitary confinement

Washington, D.C. – A group of religious leaders today ended a 23-hour nationwide fast at 12 p.m. at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill, interceding on behalf of the tens of thousands of American prisoners currently housed in solitary confinement across the country.  The fast was held in conjunction with a Senate hearing on the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.  Today’s hearing was the first time Congress has explored this issue.

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Pax Christi issues letter of support for LCWR

June 13, 2012

Following the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) report, Pax Christi International’s sections and member organizations from around the world joined together in releasing a letter of support for LCWR. Sr. Josie Chrosniak, HM, National Council Chairperson, and Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director, signed the letter on behalf of Pax Christi USA. The letter was circulated, at Sr. Patty’s request, to PCUSA regional leadership with an invitation to also sign. The letter was released this week. As Pax Christi International Co-Presidents Marie Dennis and Bishop Kevin Dowling wrote, “In the United States and in many other corners of the world, women religious have been at the heart of Pax Christi’s work for peace. Their faithful presence, deep theological grounding and remarkable leadership have made an extraordinary contribution to our movement.” Here is the letter:

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What sisters mean to me

April 26, 2012

James Martin, SJ
from Washington Post

Last week, on the day when the Vatican released the results of its investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents 80 percent of women’s religious orders in this country, I received emails from several Catholic sisters. All described themselves as saddened, stunned or demoralized by the Vatican document, which severely criticized the LCWR in a number of areas.

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The George Regas Interfaith Youth Outreach Internship

ICUJP is looking for a justice and peace intern for 2012 for 10 hours a week. The intern will work with the Program Director on a variety of justice and peace issues but will be primarily focused on outreach to youth within the interfaith community.

Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP), grounded in many faith traditions, and honoring prophetic perspectives of non-violence, promotes critical examination of the costs of violence at home and around the world. ICUJP members are spiritual and secular leaders and activists urgently committed to building a progressive interfaith movement devoted to actions that advance the causes of justice and peace.

ICUJP stands in solidarity with the victims of war, discrimination and injustice on a broad range of issues including the wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, torture, immigration, civil liberties, human rights, racism, and health care. ICUJP conducts in-depth self-education, hosts educational programs for the broader public, supports and encourages faith leaders to uphold their denominations’ peacemaking principles, and participates in other coalitions in the struggle for justice and peace.

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Bible Study of John 11 and Book Signing with John Dear, SJ.

Friday, February 24, 2012
7:00 p.m. to 9:00p.m.

Fr. John will lead us in a two-hour book study of John 11,
the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

Mother Louis Room
St. Joseph Center
480 S. Batavia, Orange, CA 92868

Free will Offering
Books will be available for sale.

For registration please contact:
Gerri Scharff, CSD Registrar:
(714) 744-3175 ext. 4409 or

John Dear’s ground-breaking new book, “Lazarus Come Forth!,” explores the story of the raising of Lazarus in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, and suggests that Lazarus represents “humanity” stuck in the culture of death, and that Jesus represents “the God of life” calling humanity out of the tombs, out of the culture of violence and war, into “the new life of resurrection peace.” This book invites us to carry on Jesus’ liberating work by obeying his commandments–to take away the stone that keeps us trapped in our violent culture of war, to call each other out of the tombs, to unbind one another and to set each other free to live in peace and nonviolence.

The Work of Christmas

Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among people,

To make music in the heart.


From wheat to war — a life for the poor

December 16, 2011

Sr. Rose Pacatte
from National Catholic Reporter

If you are wandering in the 50-block area known as Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles and you ask directions to Hospitality Kitchen or where the Catholic Workers serve meals to the homeless, no one will know what you are talking about.

“This place,” explains Catherine Morris, the gentle Catholic worker, “is and always has been known among the people as ‘The Hippie Kitchen.’ Since the beginning.”

Catherine is author Jeff Dietrich’s wife, who, together with various community members, has run the Catholic Worker Movement in Los Angeles since 1970. When NCR asked me to review Jeff Dietrich’s book and attend the launch at Loyola Marymount University this past Sunday, I knew I needed to visit the kitchen to have an idea of their work in Los Angeles, a visit long overdue.

Catherine showed me around the hippie kitchen and the dining garden where they serve thousands of meals a week to the endless stream of homeless men and women who quietly stand in line for their meal. There were sturdy paper plates with salad and beans and garlic bread, as well as a table with a cooler with water in the garden. It was a beautiful day, and the noonday almost-winter sun shed clear light on the people and the simple Christmas tree in the corner. As closing time drew near, a group at the end of the line began singing a Christmas carol.

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Advent readings inspire Occupy LA arrest

December 8, 2011

Jeff Dietrich
from National Catholic Reporter

They came just before dawn; they came with fire trucks and ambulances and sirens blaring; they came in helicopters with rotary blades flapping; they came marching in lock step with helmets and visors and steel batons at “port arms.” They came and came and came. They came to disperse, to clean up, and to clear out Occupy LA. The morning air was cold and I was shivering not from the cold but from fear. Small drops of sweat trickled down my armpits. This was the last place I wanted to be. At age 65 I was in the distinct minority of this ragtag assembly of youthful rabble-rousers, an alien in this collection of seemingly disorganized children.

I had not planned on coming here but someone stood up at church on Sunday and pleaded with the congregation to join him at 12:01 a.m., the police deadline for dispersal of the LA Occupiers of City Hall Plaza. The readings for that Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, were from the Gospel of Mark: “Stay awake, don’t fall asleep for you do not know the hour or the time of the master’s return! I say to you what I say to all, stay awake!” It occurred to me at that moment, like a flash of lightning: Where are people staying awake? Where are people not sleeping? Where are people keeping vigil? Certainly not in this church and mostly not in any church for that matter. The readings have nothing to do with keeping vigil in quiet candlelit spaces of sacred sanctuaries. The readings are about being awake to the historical moment; the readings are about discerning the movement of the spirit in the present.

If we are not awake we will miss this moment because it’s not going to look like what we think it should look like. Theologians call it the “Parousia” — most of us don’t know what that means. It is a Greek word for the second coming of God’s kingdom, which is what Advent is all about. And we should remember that almost no one in the Gospel stories was actually awake for the first coming because it did not look like what they thought it should look like.

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Justice groups start work on ‘common good’ platform for 2012 election

November 30, 2011

Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service
from National Catholic Reporter

WASHINGTON — With the first votes of the presidential primary season set for Jan. 3 at the Iowa caucuses, Catholic social justice organizations are asking local communities to help draft platforms rooted in church teaching that they hope will enter the discussion on the campaign trail next fall.

Called Election 2012: Catholics Vote for the Common Good, the effort is taking place nationwide, but is specifically targeting six states with significant Catholic populations that political observers expect will play a key role in the election: Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

Organizers of the effort told Catholic News Service that the polarization that dominates American politics is fueling their plan to put the spotlight on the needs of people struggling under the depressed economy.

The program is being tested in Iowa, where groups of voters are being invited to discuss what they think presidential and congressional candidates should address in their push for votes.

“It just seems like at this time people have forgotten about the common good,” said Michelle Knight, advocacy associate with the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, one of the organizations involved in Election 2012. “It seems like there’s such an emphasis on what’s good for the individual and not thinking about the common good.”

In all, more than a dozen organizations have banded together in the endeavor. Sister Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service who is executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, said it builds upon a national gathering in 2008 in Philadelphia that led to the development of a broad platform incorporating major Catholic social justice themes.

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The Quest for Peace Continues At Assisi Gathering

November 14, 2011

Austen Ivereigh
from America Magazine

Speaking to some 300 representatives of the world’s major religions gathered in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, Italy, Pope Benedict XVI opened an interreligious pilgrimage for peace on Oct. 27 with an expression of shame for the complicity of faith in acts of violence and praised agnostics and other “searchers” for helping to purify faith. The event marked the 25th anniversary of the first interreligious gathering in the hometown of St. Francis, called in 1986 by Pope John Paul II.

Pope Benedict distinguished this year’s gathering at Assisi by insisting that nonbelievers be invited. This was interpreted by many as a gesture calculated to begin a dialogue with proponents of Western secularism. Indeed, in his opening address Pope Benedict visited one of secularism’s favored terrains. He said the post-Enlightenment critique of religion as a cause of violence was valid when “religion really does motivate violence” and that the “reckless brutality” of religiously motivated terrorism “should be profoundly disturbing to us as religious persons.”

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Canada ‘more powerful than it understands’: M*A*S*H star

October 27, 2011

Tracey Tyler, Legal Affairs Reporter
from The Toronto Star 

M*A*S*H star and social justice crusader Mike Farrell will be in Toronto Friday for a panel discussion on the death penalty, a fundraiser hosted by the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.

We caught up with the 72-year-old actor, president of Death Penalty Focus as he changed planes at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport:

Q. Where does your social activism come from?

 A. That’s a good question. I guess what I discovered over time is that, as a child, I lived in fear. My father was a very volcanic man whose behaviour was not unusual for men at the time, but it scared the hell out of me. And he made me very much aware and, as I later discovered, made me very angry about oppression and injustice by powerful people against people who are less powerful.

He wasn’t an abusive man in the sense we know of that today. But he was a two-fisted Irishman who drank a lot.

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Time to rid world of nuclear weapons, cardinal, ex-defense secretary say

October 26, 2011

Dennis Sadowski
from Catholic News Service

Nuclear disarmament is a moral imperative that requires bold action on the part of the world’s military powers, an American cardinal and a former Secretary of Defense told a forum sponsored by University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles, and William Perry, who served as defense secretary from 1994 to 1997 under President Bill Clinton and helped build the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the Cold War, said Oct. 25 that even though eliminating nuclear weapons around the world will be a tough challenge, it doesn’t mean world leaders shouldn’t try.

“The church … finds the nuclear status quo morally unacceptable,” Cardinal Mahony said, pointing to the need to begin moving toward a mutual, verifiable global ban on such weapons.

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New Pax Christi leader seeks new era in social issues

October 25, 2011

Joshua J. McElwee, NCR Staff Writer
from National Catholic Reporter

Pax Christi USA, which bills itself as the national Catholic peace movement, has capped a year of transition with the appointment of a new executive director, Notre Dame Sr. Patricia Chappell.

Chappell, a former president of the National Black Catholic Sisters Conference, replaces David Robinson, who had headed the organization since 2001.

Announcement of the appointment came yesterday in a press release. Speaking in a phone conversation with NCR, Chappell said she wants to use her new position to focus on integrating issues of racism with violence and economic injustice.

“We just have to make sure that the anti-racism lens is brought to that conversation along with Catholic social teachings,” said Chappell, a member of the Connecticut province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She said Catholics interested in social justice sometimes seem “fragmented” when it comes to issues of racism.

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Pax Christi USA names new executive director

October 24, 2011

Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service
from National Catholic Reporter

WASHINGTON — Helping people understand how the sin of racism undermines society’s ability to overcome violence and economic injustice is the top priority for Sr. Patricia Chappell as the new executive director of Pax Christi USA.

“People really have to acknowledge that racism is a deep integral sin in our country and we have to admit it continues to be an institutional sin,” Sr. Patricia told Catholic News Service on Oct. 24, shortly after the organization announced she would succeed David Robinson as head of the nationwide Catholic peace organization.

“We have to acknowledge that, but then we have to be able to find ways to move forward, not just get stuck on the emotional piece of it all,” said Sr. Patricia, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Connecticut province.

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‘God weeps at what God’s children are doing’

October 14, 2011

Robert Dellinger
from The Tidings

More than 100 men and women, young adults and teenagers walked out of La Placita Church a little before 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7, singing, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

By 12:16 p.m., the last of 15 demonstrators wearing blue arm bands were arrested and driven away in van paddy wagons for a deliberate act of civil disobedience, stretching across Los Angeles Street downtown while singing, “We shall not be moved.”

Read the full article at The Tidings →

Why Do I Gather in Interfaith Prayer and Risk Arrest on the 10th Anniversary of the US Led War?

October 7, 2011
Fr. Chris Ponnet
Pastor, St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care

I stand in this place to say NO to business as usual on this tenth anniversary of war!

I stand in memory of the thousands of humans who have been killed! Presente!

I stand in memory of the prophet among us Sr. Anita Caspery! Presente!

I stand in honor of the thousands wounded and the millions displaced from their lands and those without jobs in our land! Presente!

I stand in honor our Catholic feast of St. Francis of Assisi and Our Lady of the Rosary! Presente!

I stand in honor of all human life from womb to tomb! Presente!

I stand to honor this holy day of Yom Kippur and seek forgiveness for our USA role in these ten years of persistent war! No more war!

I stand to say NO to business as usual on this anniversary of the war on terror! No more war!!!

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‘Connecting the dots is peacemaking’

September 30, 2011

Robert Dellinger 
from The Tidings

Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, bishop president of Pax Christi USA, summed up best what happened at the Catholic peace and justice organization’s Southern California Regional Assembly 2011 — whose theme was “Connecting the Dots of Peacemaking: War, Economy and Environment.”

“Connecting the dots is peacemaking,” pointed out the bishop of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region. “And it’s all about war and violence. The war abroad and the wars that we’re fighting in different countries. What captured a lot of the news this week was Troy Davis being murdered by the state. We have war at home and the violence that is perpetuated by our government in different ways.”

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The Immigration Debate and U.S.- Mexico Relations: A Catholic Perspective

Most Rev. José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Committee on Migration

Catholic University of America
March 21, 2011

I want to say thank you to Archbishop Romo, Ambassador Sarukhan, and Assistant Secretary Schwartz for your participation in tonight’s program.

We are at an important moment in the relationship between Mexico and the United States. I want to talk about that relationship tonight as it relates to migration between our two countries, and especially the debate over immigration here in the United States.

I have three basic goals tonight: First, I want to outline what I believe to be the root issues with U.S.-Mexican migration. Second, I want to explain the Catholic Church’s approach to these issues. Third and finally, I want to make some suggestions and observations about the current debate in light of Catholic principles.

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