John Dear: Our Matthew 25 Duty

On the Mexican Border 


It was Holy Week, and we walked for miles through the desert. We hiked along ribbons of dirt paths, over parched rocky hills near the U.S.-Mexico border. The closest U.S. city was Tucson, Ariz., some 30 miles to the north.

Ours was an uncomplicated mission -- to place some 40 gallons of water where some of the thousands of sisters and brothers who cross the border at this "sector" can find them. It is a great risk for them to make this trek. Especially in the desert heat. Read more...


Pax Christi Long Island:

How We Did in 2013

Since this is the season for you to reflect back on your 2013 charity contributions, it is also the time for us to thank you for your support for Pax Christi Long Island. We have no way of knowing all you have done: the petitions, the phone calls, the letters, the meetings, and the prayers that peace and justice might flourish. But we do know that your generous contributions enabled PCLI to have a productive year, as you can see in the following brief report. For that, PCLI is most grateful. 

2013    PCLI Activities and Highlights

March 23: Regional meeting with PCUSA leadership team headed by Sister Patricia Chappell, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, in Manhasset.

March 29: Participated in Pax Christi Metro New York's Good Friday Stations of the Cross in Manhattan.

April 15: The InSight Campaign to End Gun Violence, initiated by PCLI as this year's major initiative, held a panel discussion on the gun issue at Hofstra University.

April 20: Presented the PCLI Peacemaker of the Year Award to Sister Mary Hughes, OP.

May 17: Co-sponsored Medea Benjamin's appearance at Book Revue for her latest book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

May 29: Weather forced us to cancel our annual Memorial Day action at Jones Beach.

June 2:  The InSight Campaign presented the film “Trigger” at the Cinema Arts Centre.

November 2: Father Ron Richardson led our retreat day at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

December 8:  The InSight Campaign sponsored an interfaith peace service at St. Martha's in Uniondale, commemorating the anniversaries of mass killings on the Long Island Rail Road and at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut. (Here's Newsday's coverage of the event. And PCUSA is now carrying on its website this account of the InSight Campaign's origins and efforts.)

In addition:

Agnes Kelly chaired monthly meetings at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch. The group supported activities related to immigration, reducing gun violence and voter registration. 

We mailed two issues of Peaceworks to members and sent mailings to all Long Island parishes on peace issues.

We co-sponsored events and activities organized by Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Long Island Interfaith Council, Long Island Immigrant Alliance, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock.

We further developed our website,

Three council members received awards for their contributions to peace and justice communitiesBob Keeler, from CARECEN; Sister Mary Beth Moore, SC, from the Sisters of Charity of Halifax; and Martin Melkonian, from the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives.




Pope Francis Makes it Clear:
Our Economy Hurts the Poor


In case you haven't noticed, Pope Francis is making a lot of news. The latest example, just in time for Thanksgiving, is his Apostolic Exhortation, "Evangelii Gaudium," or "The Joy of the Gospel." As usual, our pope does not dance gingerly around issues or bury his message in doublespeak. He says very clearly that the world's economic system is failing the poor. Here's one sample of his prose: "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?" And there's this: "I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security." To read the full document, go to the Vatican website here.


But that is far from all he has been saying. Almost every day, he says something that forces us to change the way we think about church, about life, about the Gospel. It makes you wonder how a 76-year-old man, operating with only one lung for many decades, has the energy to shake us up daily. It also makes you wonder how we can keep up with what he's saying and doing. We could spoon-feed you our favorite Francis homilies. But we think you'd be better served if you figured out for yourself what those favorite homilies are.



One way to do that is to follow the Francis Chronicles, a service of the National Catholic Reporter, here. We recommend that you sign up on that site for their email alerts. That way, you'll be getting frequent updates on our pope, without having to search for them. Another is to go directly to the Vatican's own website here. Or you can check out Whispers in the Loggia, a gossipy but savvy blog about doings in the Vatican. Try to make it a part of your daily routine to check our website, click on one of those links, and enjoy the way Pope Francis is trying to rebuild the church, just as St. Francis of Assisi did in his time.





April 26:

Award Brunch

Our annual Pax Christi Long Island award brunch will take place this year on Saturday, April 26, from 11 AM to 2 PM, also at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock. Our two peace award recipients and honored speakers are Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of the 4th Congressional District and Joyce Gorycki, chairperson of the Long Island Chapter of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. We are honoring them for their long, steadfast struggle for sane gun control.



May 24: Jones Beach

Memorial Day Action

As we do every year, Pax Christi Long Island will be in attendance at Jones Beach on Saturday, May 24, to provide a peaceful counterpoint to the glorification of the military that accompanies the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend....

This is supposed to be a holiday commemorating those who have died in current and past wars—not an opportunity to use soaring fighters and military recruiters to whip up patriotic fervor and sign up young men and women to appear on future lists of those killed in war. So we show up, we read the names of the dead, we march, and we bear witness. Keep an eye on this space for further details, as the day approaches.