First week of Lent, Feb. 21-27
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Greetings of peace!

Usually, we have sent out the first Pray-Study-Act e-bulletin for the season of Lent a few days prior to the week starting, but this past week was spent sharing with one another the news of Dianna Ortiz's illness, her short time in hospice, and her death on Friday morning. If you haven't already heard that news or want to know more about what an extraordinary person Dianna was, we've posted a few things you can read on our website, including our statement on her passing, Rev. Joe Nangle's tender remembrance of Dianna's last days, and a page that shares more of her story and how much she meant to us. We thank you for all the messages of support and sympathy you have sent our way, and we will carry Di's spirit with us throughout this Lenten season.  
Throughout Lent, we will be sharing with you resources to pray, study and act for peace with justice. In addition to these weekly PSA (Pray-Study-Act) e-bulletins, we have set up a special Lenten webpage with more resources which we hope will deepen the experience of Lent for you, your family, your local group and your larger faith community. The PSAs will typically be sent out on Tuesday or Wednesday of the week prior to the week for which they are designed, and special reflections for Sundays and holy days will be delivered to your inbox on those days. Also, if you are still looking for a daily reflection book for Lent, you can purchase and download our Lenten e-booklet for just $2 at this link. Once you've purchased the e-booklet, you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to download it to your computer, tablet or phone for immediate access. Read more about this special edition of the Lent booklet here.

May the peace of Christ be our common witness during this Lenten season.  
In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Pax Christi USA Executive Director
By Linda Friern & Tony Bartlett
Let us pray to Jesus Christ that we may be set free from the chains of violence and war.

Jesus the Christ, by your cross and resurrection
… deliver us.
by your nonviolence and love
by your witness to truth
by your passion and death
by your victory over the grave
from the desire for power
from the conspiracy of silence
from the negation of life
from the worship of weapons
from the celebration of killing
from the slaughter of the innocent
from the extermination of the weak
from the nightmare of hunger
from the politics of terror
from a false peace
from relying on weapons
from the spiral of armaments
from plundering the earth’s resources
from the despair of this age
from global suicide.

By the light of the Gospel
… give us your peace.
by the good news for the poor
by your healing and wounds
by faith in your word
by a hunger and thirst for justice
by the coming of your reign
by the outpouring of the Spirit
by reconciliation of enemies
by gentleness and nonviolence
by the truth that sets us free
by prophecy and witness
by persecution because of your name
by the power of your love.

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,
… have mercy on us.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,
… have mercy on us.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,
… grant us peace. 

by M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D.

The reign of God is at hand. (Mk 1:15)
The lectionary reading for the first Sunday of Lent always refers to the time Jesus spent in the wilderness. Over time, Christians have come to associate the Lenten season with wilderness, and, in many parts of the world, the weather conditions reinforce this symbolism. Winter snow and ice scour the trees, their bark and branches become brittle, the sap barely stirs. Everything about winter’s slow release suggests the not-yet, impatience, yearning. Author Parker Palmer in Let Your Life Speak gets it right when he says, “Before spring becomes beautiful, it is plug ugly, nothing but mud and muck.”

Unlike the writers of the gospels of Matthew and Luke, the Markan writer gives little narrative space to Jesus’s wilderness experience. Jesus seeks and accepts baptism from the prophet John, thereby acknowledging the Baptist’s moral and spiritual authority and the attractiveness of his example. The Markan writer tells us that as Jesus came out of the waters of the Jordan, he received a sign that confirmed his identity — God’s beloved child. Then, perhaps before he can fully grasp the significance of whose he is, Jesus is drawn into the bleak and dangerous wilderness...

> The beginning of Lent coincides with Black History Month. Read, watch, or listen to one of the posts from Pax Christi USA members and partners featured this month. Click here to find links and additional resources in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In collaboration with the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and other national Catholic organizations, Pax Christi USA is sending a letter to President Biden urging him to take steps leading to the resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. The letter is being accompanied by a petition that we began circulating for sign-ons yesterday. To add your name to the petition, click here.

Other actions to take this week:

1) Register to join the Advancing Nonviolence study circles which will begin the week of March 1st. Read more about the program here.

2) Register for the Pax Christi USA Young Adult Caucus Lenten retreat. The retreat is taking place virtually over Zoom on March 27. Click here for more information.