News

PAX CHRISTI USA

REMEMBERS OUR JOAN

Last year, Pax Christi Long Island devoted an entire issue of our newsletter, Peaceworks, to the memory of Joan Wittreich, one of the founders and iconic leaders of PCLI. Since then, her husband, Chuck, has also died. May both of those valiant peacemakers rest in peace. Now, Pax Christi USA has posted that issue of Peaceworks on its website here. We are immensely grateful to Johnny Zokovitch of PCUSA for that.

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iAN ARMS RACE 

WON'T HELP UKRAINE

By Katrina vanden Heuvel (in the Washington Post)

Nearly 70 years ago, a group of Manhattan Project scientists, having seen the power of nuclear destruction, created what they called the “Doomsday Clock.” It was a mechanism designed to warn the world of how imminent the threat of global catastrophe was becoming — the closer the clock moved to midnight, the closer we were to doomsday. Last month, the group of Nobel laureates charged with maintaining the clock changed its time to 11:57 p.m., denoting the closest we’ve been to doomsday in more than 30 years. Their reasoning is based not just on the world’s inaction on issues like climate change, but its provocative march toward a new Cold War. Read more here.

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KATHY KELLY IN PRISON

FOR PROTESTING DRONES

For protesting the use of American drones to kill people on the other side of the world, Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, is now in federal prison. Here's what Kathy said about it in a letter:

"I will be free in three months, but our collective future is most assuredly shackled to a wrongheaded criminal justice system. I hope this compulsively vengeful and diseased criminal justice system will change during my lifetime. And I hope that my short sojourn inside Lexington’s prison walls will help me better understand and perhaps help shed some small light on the systems that affect other people trapped there.

"During recent visits with concerned communities focused on drone warfare, many have helped me see a connection between the drone killings across Central Asia and the Middle East and the casual executions and incarceration of young black males in our own country.

"In Afghanistan, where the noise of air strikes and civil war have faded to the buzz of drones and the silence of empty promises, our friends in the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) continue their peace building efforts. Last week, eighty street children walked from the APV center to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission office to assert their right to education. Their signs expressed their determination to help create a school for street children. One sign said, “We don’t want your charity. We want dignity.” 

"Our young friends wish to provide a better life for the very children whose only other ways off the streets may well include joining the Taliban, criminal gangs, or some other militia. Meanwhile, the United States’ vengeful stance as a nation, concerned with protecting its wealth and status at all costs and its safety above all considerations of equity or reason, destroys the lives of the impoverished at home as it destroys those abroad. 

"The 'Black Lives Matter' protests need our support, as do the March 4-6 protests to 'Shut Down Creech' Air Force Base. Our friends in the Afghan Peace Volunteers will continue to do vital work for peace and solidarity, in Kabul, that needs our support. It’s encouraging to know that thousands upon thousands of committed people seek and find work to make our world less like a prison for our neighbors and ourselves.

My address for the next three months is:

Kathy Kelly 04971-045
FMC LEXINGTON
FEDERAL MEDICAL CENTER
SATELLITE CAMP
P.O. BOX 14525
LEXINGTON, KY 40512

Please think about writing her a letter during her stay in prison.

You can see an interview with Kathy on Democracy Now! here. And here is the website for Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Finally, here is a story about the vast extent of the killing that these drones have been doing. Kathy's principled act of resistance has brought her a federal prison term. But she is willing to accept that loss of liberty tin order to speak prophetically against this long-distance killing. 

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SISTER MEGAN RICE IN PRISON

FOR PROTESTING NUKES

Sister Megan Rice, 84, is now living in the Metropolitan Correction Center in Brooklyn. Her crime: protesting against nuclear proliferation at the Oak Ridge nuclear facility in Tennessee, along with others from Transform Now Plowshares. Read a story about her in the New York Daily News here.

Our PCLI council member Sister Rosalie has been in touch with the Society of the Holy Child Jesus to see how our members could be of some assistance. The result is a suggestion that you follow Sister Megan’s situation on  the website set up for her and the other activists. It offers  suggestions for getting in touch with Sister Megan and with the judge in the case, and for making donations to the Plowshares cause. If people want to write to Sister Megan, they could send the letters to the congregation's motherhouse, since that mail might get to her without so much red tape.

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Meanwhile, thank you for joining the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus in praying for Sister Megan and in standing with Pope Francis, who urges that we should all work toward "the goal of improving prison conditions out of respect for the human dignity of people deprived of their freedom.”

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PAX CHRISTI USA's

NEW MISSION STATEMENT

Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, Pax Christi USA (PCUSA) is a membership organization that rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism. As PCUSA, a section of Pax Christi International, we are a Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the Peace of Christ in our witness to the mandate of the nonviolence of the Cross. Read more...

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IDOLATRY AND THE MILITARY

By David Masciotra

Salon

Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible. Read more...

 

Events

PEACEMAKER AWARDS—

SAVE THE DATE: APRIL 11

Every year, Pax Christi Long Island gives a Peacemaker of the Year award to a local peacemaker—and often to a national one as well. This year at our awards brunch, we will be honoring Yanira Chacón-López, for her loving and constant service to immigrants through Casa Mary Johanna at St. Brigid's Parish in Westbury. We'll also give an award to National Catholic Reporter for its half-century of telling painful truths about our church and reporting on those who practice the nonviolent Gospel of Jesus. Sister Camille D'Arienzo, who writes regularly for NCR, will accept the award.

The brunch will take place on Saturday, April 11, starting at 11 AM, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset. This joyful celebration of dedicated peacemakers is not a fund-raising event. So the admission if free. But we'll have a little basket available, just in case you want to drop in a free-will offering, to help defray the costs. Whether you choose to use that basket or not, we do hope you'll come and join us.

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CURB SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

The Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock is continuing to work with the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) to pass the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A4401/S2659). Prolonged solitary confinement is torture, and it needs to end. Over 3,800 people in New York are in solitary confinement today. We need HALT, to keep all people out of isolation in New York State prisons and local jails. 

In March and April, UUSCR will offer three activities on this issue. Your participation to end this form of torture would be most welcome. These are the activities:

Monday, March 30, 7:30 PM, in the art gallery: “Mariposa and the Saint: Ending Prolonged Solitary Confinement." Longtime friends and current collaborators Sara (Mariposa) Fonseca and Julia Steele Allen have written a play through the prison wall. Over the course of three years, crafted only by letters, they smuggled out a story that is urgent, emotional and profound. Now, from inside the isolation of solitary confinement, Mariposa speaks directly to an audience. Her words will change you. Join co-writer Julia Steele Allen for a dramatic reading of this play, followed by a discussion and workshop with advocates, activists, formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. Learn how you can help end the torture of prolonged solitary confinement in New York State. Suggested donation: $5.00.

Thursday, April 16, 7:30 PM, in the social hall: Training for Lobby Day, when advocates from around the state will gather in Albany to meet with lawmakers to urge them to support the HALT Solitary Confinement Act. At this event, you can learn more about solitary confinement and the HALT bill. We will also role-play meetings with lawmakers. Please come and join us.

Wednesday, April 22, 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM: Lobby day in Albany. Limited free transportation is available on a first-come-first-served basis. We will leave from UUCSR at 6:00 AM. In Albany, we will participate in a 10:30 educational event on HALT for legislators. From 11:30 to 3:30, we will visit with lawmakers. At 3:30, we will have a closing rally and be on the road by 4:30. We'll provide free lunch.

For further information on all these activities, please contact UUCSR social justice coordinator Claire Deroche. Call 516-472-2977, or email  JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING . Meanwhile, to help get your blood boiling about solitary confinement, here's an article from The Hill about solitary in federal prisons.

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TELL CONGRESS: ENACT

A MORAL BUDGET

Budgets at all levels of government are moral documents. They allocate the funds made possible by all taxpayers, and those decisions have a clear moral dimension. In the federal budget, for example, far too much funding goes to military spending and far too little to health and education. That's a moral decision—but not a good one. To avoid making poor moral choices in their budget-making, members of Congress must keep these principles in mind:

(1) Protect low-income and vulnerable people.

(2) Invest in broadly shared prosperity that raises incomes across the economic spectrum.

(3) Increase revenues from fair sources.

(4) Seek responsible savings by targeting wasteful spending in the Pentagon and elsewhere.

If those principles seem sensible to you, please sign this letter to Congress, created by the Coalition on Human Needs as part of its Strengthening America’s Values and Economy (SAVE) for All campaign. The deadline for signing is March 12, 2015.

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UNDENIABLE PROOF THAT

SPRING IS REALLY COMING

Every year, Homecoming Farm holds a Spring Awakening—and we really need it this year, after a snowy, difficult winter. Mark your calendars for April 18, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Helen Butler Hall at Dominican Village, 565 Albany Avenue, Amityville.

The theme of the fifth annual Spring Awakening is "A New Story," a celebration of the life and legacy of the Passionist priest, cosmologist and geologian Thomas Berry. Those who will be celebrating Berry's legacy and vision include Sister Miriam Therese McGillis, founder of Genesis Farm; Sister Margaret Galiardi, author of Where the Pure Water Flows: The Story of the Universe and Christian Faith; Sister Margaret Mayce, the Dominican NGO representative to the United Nations; Sister Jeanne Clark, founder of Homecoming Farm, and Elizabeth Keihm, executive director of Homecoming Farm.

The cost of the day is $30, which includes lunch. If you'd like to join in this reflection on the work of Thomas Berry, please mail a check to Homecoming Farm, 555 Albany Avenue, Amityville, NY 11701. For further information on the farm, visit this website. If you have any questions, call Sister Jeanne at 631-842-6000, Extension 338, or email her at JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING .   

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COMMUNITY ECONOMICS:

WORTH A LOOK

Every Sunday morning, an entity called the Community Economics Group meets to discuss empowering themselves economically in a way that helps all people, families, communities— and nature. If you're interested, read the group's evolving document here. That may motivate you to attend one of the Sunday meetings, at 9 AM in the Panera's on Route 110 in Farmingdale, near Republic Airport.

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FORMER PCUSA LEADER'S

NEW BOOK ON NONVIOLENCE

Nancy Small, a former national coordinator of Pax Christi USA has written an impressive new book on the spirituality of nonviolence. Here's what she said about the book in a letter to peacemakers:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I'm writing to share with you news of a book I've written called Seizing the Nonviolent Moments: Reflections on the Spirituality of Nonviolence Through the Lens of Scripture. This book began when I served as the national coordinator of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, and has been many years in the making. Many thanks to all of you who have offered support along the way, especially you who have mentored me in the ways of nonviolence.

You can read a description of the book below and in the attached flyer. Thanks in advance for sharing this flyer with friends or people in your networks who may be interested in knowing about it. If you have questions, would like more information (including hard copies of the flyer), or if you are interested in scheduling an event, please contact me at the e-mail address below.

Here is the book description:

Life is filled with opportunities to practice nonviolence. If we kept track, we’d be surprised at how often we get to choose a violent or nonviolent response to a given situation. Seizing these moments is a spiritual practice that shapes a nonviolent heart. Many people doing this together shapes the heart of a nonviolent world.

This book is a humble and accessible approach to nonviolence based on the belief that no one is perfectly nonviolent. We are all works in progress. Each chapter presents an imaginative interpretation of a Scripture story about seizing a nonviolent moment that sheds new light on nonviolence and its spirituality.

Stories of contemporary peacemakers woven throughout offer lessons for living a spirituality of nonviolence for our times. Prophetic words from the U.S. Catholic bishops emphasize the essential role of peacemaking in renewing the earth. Questions following each chapter inspire personal reflection and make the book a welcome resource for classrooms, parishes, and small groups.

The more we seize the nonviolent moments in our lives, the more we are transformed by them. And the more we experience the power of nonviolence within ourselves, the more we believe in its potential to transform our troubled world.

I wish you every blessing in all your good works.

In peace,

Nancy

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