Mark Your Calendar


 

Human Rights Day/Holy Innocents

In recognition of both Human Rights Day and the Feast of Holy Innocents, Pax Christi Metro New York will be joining Catholic Worker to present a Friday Night Talk at Mary House, 55 E. Third Street, Manhattan, on Friday, December 9th at 7:30 PM. Amy Wagner of the Ya Ya Network will be speaking, possibly along with some of the young people from the Network, which develops leadership skills in social and economic justice.



Other Scheduled Events


For dates and descriptions of additional upcoming events, click here.

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Annual Events

 

Good Friday Way of the Cross
PCMNY is probably best known for its Good Friday Way of the Cross, which was its founding event. Commemorating Jesus' suffering in His own life and in the lives of people throughout the world today, hundreds process together, praying for change in ourselves and a society marred by such sins as poverty, racism, bullying and gun violence, human trafficking and war.  Concluding with a 15th Station, we are reminded that we are a Resurrection people in a Good Friday world. For CBS News coverage of the 2015 Good Friday event, please click here.

Peacemaker Awards Reception
Each year PCMNY honors peacemakers, some known nationally, some known locally, and some known mostly within the Pax Christi community, but all doing noteworthy work to make the world a more peaceful and just place for all of us to live. We honor these exemplary people at a reception that is a true celebration of them and the peace community that supports them.

40-Day Fast for Christian Nonviolence
Pax Christi Metro New York joins others around the country in an annual fast for Christian Nonviolence. This fast is an opportunity to remember, repent, and resolve to transform our culture of violence, whether the violence of the street or the violence of war, drones, and nuclear weapons proliferation. It begins each July 1st and ends on August 9th, the tragic triple anniversaries of the executions of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Jewish convert to Catholicism and holocaust victim; Blessed Franz Jaegerstaetter, martyr for refusing to serve in Hitler's army; and the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, the largest Christian community in Japan. PCMNY frames it with prayers made available for you to pray alone or in community. For more information about the fast, contact the PCMNY office: info@nypaxchristi.org or, when the Fast approaches simply sign up as an individual or group to fast a day, a week, or longer between July 1st and August 9th to end the horror of nuclear weapons proliferation and all forms of violence.

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial
Each year PCMNY offers this commemorative event to mourn and repent for the horrific loss of life caused by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945 and to advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons today. Now, we can add Fukushima to the list of Japanese cities devastated by nuclear tragedy. The Memorial consists of a presentation with discussion and concludes with a silent procession and public vigil. For some historical context about the bombings, see PCMNY member Marian Ronan's article.

Summer Picnic
PCMNY’s annual pot-luck picnic in Central Park, in view of the majestic Metropolitan Museum of Art, has become a refreshing tradition that brings together members and friends in a spirit of invaluable camaraderie. A delicious assortment of foods and great conversation are the order of the day.

UN International Peace Day
The UN International Peace Day has been held on September 21st  for decades now, but so many people still aren't familiar with it; yet, it's such an important day.  Not only is it a day for the United Nations to renew its dedication to the pursuit of peace; it is also a Day of Ceasefire, both personally and politically. PCMNY observes this day with a special event that incorporates prayer and presentation, whether a speaker or film, along with time for discussion.

Fall Assembly
Pax Christi Metro New York's annual Fall Assembly offers an opportunity for reflection on PCMNY’s very identity as a peace community. We pray together, share our stories, and lend each other support. We also feature a reputable speaker to educate and inspire us on a theme taken from a current event or social concern.

Human Rights Day/Holy Innocents
Each year, Pax Christi Metro New York remembers victims of violence, especially children, in honor of Human Rights Day and the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The focus of the event is a prayer service. It may also include speakers or a video on a relevant topic like human trafficking or incarceration.

Peacemaking Through the Arts
For several years now, PCMNY has been promoting our mission with the help of the performing arts. We host a concert or play with a message of peace and social justice. We do this because we believe we all have both the desire and need for peace and justice, rooted in God. The arts are an effective way to reach into our souls and inspire us to fulfill those desires and needs for ourselves and others in a way different from any other.

Ash Wednesday Leafleting

Our tradition on Ash Wednesday is to offer a Lenten Reflection to the faithful outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Annual Retreat

Each year PCMNY organizes a weekend retreat, usually during Lent, facilitated by a noted spiritual leader to challenge and nurture participants in their commitment to Christian nonviolence.

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Featured Recent Event


Dr. Kevin Ahern on Pope Francis and the Future of the Catholic Peace Movement: Fall Assembly 2016 

by M. Doretta Cornell, RDC

This year’s Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) Fall Assembly was held on Saturday, October 22nd, at Manhattan College in the Bronx. The room had a large picture window that looked out on a mass of trees with their leaves turning an array of Fall colors. It gave a pastoral view despite being within the borders of New York City. The morning period included a very informative presentation by Beth Begley of Pax Christi Maryknoll and the Pax Christi International (PCI) NGO Team at the UN on two of the latest initiatives coming from PCI: the promotion of a Just Peace Theory to take precedence over the Just War Theory and a series of webinars on the abolition of nuclear weapons. Other reports covered PCMNY’s financial status, development strategies, and member passions leading to action.

After a delicious lunch provided by Manhattan College’s food service, our number grew from PCMNY regulars to include several students and faculty of the College. Over 40 of us filled the space.

Dr. Kevin AhernThe Keynote Speaker for the afternoon was Dr. Kevin Ahern, assistant professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College. Dr. Ahern has also served as the President of the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS-Pax Romana)and is active on the boards of several national and international networks, including the Catholic Common Ground Initiative and of America Press. His publications include The Radical Bible (as editor), Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church, and Structures of Grace: Catholic Organizations Serving the Global Common Good, all available from Orbis Books.

Dr. Ahern began his presentation by soliciting the participants’ view of changes in war and peace today.Some of the changes mentioned: We have moved from defense to preemptive war, from fighting over territory to fighting because we are different. The media saturation changes our perceived involvement, while a smaller percentage of the country (mostly poorer and people of color) are physically involved; changes in technology make the killing more impersonal; the aims seem more corporate than country-based; the fighting is no longer a country’s military against another’s, but against non-state, less-centralized groups engaging in guerilla warfare.  Victims of war are now far more often civilians than military personnel, and warfare has expanded to include financial- and cyber-attacks.

After 9/11/2001, the terminology changed from “war” to “fighting terrorism,” and the perception of a war having a foreseen endchanged to war without end, from a specific enemy to an amorphous body of people known as terrorists. The children born in 2001 are now freshmen in high school; they have never known a time without this conflict. Another change has spread beyond the military to the militarizing of our police forces, as many veterans became cops and bring their militaristic mindset to police work. Pope Francis summed this up when he said, “We are in the midst of a world war in installments.”

Pope Francis has expanded on Pope John Paul II’s identification of sins of relationship, Dr. Ahern pointed out; Pope Francis identifies four Structures of Sin in which we live:

1. We are experiencing the Globalization of Indifference, becoming less connected as people, even as technology creates a sense of being more connected.
2.  The world operates on an Economy of Exclusion, prioritizing industry, particularly the weapons industry, over people’s needs.
3.  We tend to have a Technocratic Paradigm for viewing the problems we face, trusting that technology will solve all our problems.
4. We live in a Throwaway Culture; even people (especially “different” ones) are viewed as dispensable.

Dr. Ahern then proposed that Catholic Peace Movements have the transformative power necessary to stimulate the necessary changes away from these sinful structures through God’s grace. He cited John Paul Lederach’s pyramid of building peace, which identifiesdiverse types of participants – National/Government level, Middle level, and Grassroots, refugee camps, etc. The Middle Level of society, he says, has the most power to build peace.

Dr. Ahern compares this to a web-model, with organizations mediating between local groups, such as Dominicans in the US interacting with Dominicans in Iraq, or NGOs giving and receiving information locally and with the UN. As Catholics, we can mediate with our national government and the Vatican and the grassroots organizations of which we are part, and between people and religious leaders, religious groups and secular groups. All must work together to produce lasting results. This means working across our differences; the “web” cannot be limited to those who think as we do.

Then Dr. Ahern laid out four structures that we as Catholic Peacemakers can mediate for peace, responding to Pope Francis’ Structures of Sin:

1. We need Global Governance Reform, a system that works for the world as a whole, recognizing that we are one family.
2. We need to Invest for Peace, divesting from any corporation that profits from war; this will be difficult, especially in an economy like the US that is heavily invested in munitions and military actions and systems.
3. We need new Analysis and Laws on Technological Ethics, for instance the Small Arms Trade agreement at the UN (which the US is blocking)
4. We need a Bold Cultural Revolution, educating our communities about peace in our own Catholic tradition, and then we need to share this with those from other traditions. We need dialogue across religions, cultures, races, and academic disciplines. We need greater support for Peace Movements, including financial support; we need to form a strategy for this. One aspect of this revolution must be prioritizing peace over “just war.” The PCI Peace Conference last spring was a first step in this direction.

Dr. Ahern ended his presentation by challenging us to be a “Structure of Grace” to counter the structures of sin.

General Discussion followed, ranging across such topics as the magnitude of military manufacturing as a factor in US employment and education (e.g., ROTC even on Catholic campuses)to confusion over civic and religious loyalties (flags in churches), etc.  A challenge: How can we undermine the profit of weapons making and sales? This is not unforeseeable – mines and cluster bombs are no longer profitable, so no longer produced in US.

Dr. Ahern reminded us that we need to propose strategic changes, as well as being prophetic, for example: Propose jobs that promote peace, rather than just railing against the war industries. Challenge our elected leaders to think in terms of ending war. Consider the overlap with environmental challenges (jobs can play a role here, too). Educate more on building peace, not just the “non” in nonviolent, but active conflict resolution, for instance.

Dr. Ahern invited the students present to share their concerns and interests. They mentioned that they were much more locally focused on discrimination by race, LGBT issues, and building a more inclusive society to promote peace.

Current concerns of all included: what to do about the rising polarization, once the elections are decided; how to refocus discussions and decisions based on facts (and how to recognize and determine these); and how to redefine peace and make it clearer how money devoted to war is taken from more important goals. The discussion ended with a suggestion that Pax Christi might hold a conference on just peace and humanitarian intervention.

Attendees expressed great satisfaction with the day, especially Dr. Ahern’s informed, passionate, and hopeful presentation and the interaction across generations thanks to the presence of Dr. Ahern’s students. It is now our turn to be “Structures of Grace” moving forward.

 

 

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Pax Christi Metro New York © 2016

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