First Week of Advent, Nov. 29 - Dec. 5
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Greetings of peace!

The Advent season is almost upon us. We recognize that for our community, Advent provides an opportunity to be intentional about how we pray, study and act for peace with justice in our world. Throughout the season, we'll be sending out reflections and resources which we hope will help you, your family and your community to observe a deep and meaningful Advent and Christmas. We'll send a Pray-Study-Act (PSA) e-bulletin (like this one) each week of Advent and one for the start of the new year, highlighting some resources for you to use for the upcoming week. For additional Advent resources, we hope you'll visit our Advent 2020 resource page on the website. We'll continue to add more to the page each week on through Christmas and Epiphany. And if you or your group have something you think others would be interested in, send it my way and I will try to include as many as I can!

One resource I especially want to point you to, easily adaptable for families looking to include their children in understanding and appreciating this season, is this free download of Advent, Christmas & Epiphany Prayers and Rituals for Families & Small Groups from Pax Christi USA, which includes Advent wreath rituals, Christmas tree blessings, an Epiphany blessing and more. These were first put together by Michelle Balek, OSF many years ago and have been updated and adapted over the years. I remember being a young father and how helpful these were to drawing my kids more deeply into the mystery of Advent. Please feel free to share this with others you know within your families and churches.

I also want you to know how grateful I and the entire staff here at Pax Christi USA are for you. It is an honor and privilege to do this work alongside you, and your ongoing witness to the peace of Christ, even during these difficult months, never fails to lift us up and carry us forward. During this week of giving thanks, we give thanks for you.
In Christ's peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Pax Christi USA Executive Director
A reflection for the First Sunday of Advent
by Martha Hennessy
The first Sunday of Advent this year is also the 40th anniversary of the passing of Catholic Worker co-founder, Dorothy Day. We were privileged to have Dorothy's granddaughter, Martha Hennessy, provide the reflections for Sundays and Holy Days throughout this season in this year's reflection booklet, including the reflection below commemorating Dorothy's anniversary. While the print version of the Advent reflection booklet is sold out, you can still purchase the electronic version (on sale!) for your e-reader, smartphone, tablet or computer at this link.

First Sunday of Advent, November 29
~40th Anniversary of Dorothy Day’s Death~

“Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” (Mk 13:33)

Our task of watchfulness will always be with us. Mark’s chapter 13 warns of the destruction of the Temple, signs of the end, and paying attention to the signs of our Lord at the gate.

My mother Tamar watched with her mother Dorothy, as my grandmother’s death drew near. It was in the evening that she passed on to God, her life given over to loving the least among us. The sting of that loss and grief is still with me, but I am grateful that we have Dorothy in heaven to pray for us in these turbulent times. We are being scourged with war, pestilence, and famine. It has been 18 years since the destruction of Iraq and 5 years of the bombing and starving of Yemen. Our own streets are now reflecting these sins; our chickens have come home to roost. Jesus will come upon us in this chaotic state and what will we have to say for ourselves? There is nothing to do but repent in this opening moment of Advent. We will wait in hope for his coming, the infant Christ, God who has come to us in our own form. Our Prince of Peace came to teach us how to love one another. We have failed miserably when we take an honest look at our world today...

Waiting is never easy:
A reflection for the day after Election Day
by Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv, Pax Christi USA Bishop-President
Immediately after Election Day, we were grateful for the words of our Bishop-President, Bishop John Stowe. His reflection touches on the themes of Advent as well as what kind of world we want to create in the wake of this election and the reality of where our culture is.

I doubt that any of us expected to wake up on November 4th ready to hold hands and sing Kumbaya with the neighbors whose yard signs offended us for the last several weeks. But I for one was hoping for a resounding vote for participatory democracy as we know it, for a measured and scientific approach to the current global pandemic, for humanitarian and life-affirming policies at our southern border, for affirmation of human rights and dignity, for confirming the importance of three separate but equal branches of government in our constitution, for civility and decency, for facts and the truth, for progress in dismantling systematic racism… for normalcy. Instead, even with final results hours, days or weeks away, I feel like I woke up on Christmas morning with coal in my stocking. Not only a letdown, but an occasion to ask, “what did I do wrong?” or “what did I get wrong?”

Was it misplaced to think that our American values and ideals, never fully realized but always a solid point of reference, would drive the majority of voters? Was I naïve in trusting that people know better than to accept as fact that which is clear and obvious fabrication? I hope not, but I still find myself questioning. As a person of faith, I look towards God for answers knowing full well that God is pretty mysterious when it comes to methods of revelation. Still, God speaks. And the words that came to me so clearly in prayer this morning are from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 —words I am much more comfortable recommending to others than putting into practice myself — “in all circumstances give thanks.”...

Build community by gathering virtually this Advent season
Join others within the national Pax Christi USA community for a weekly Advent Service, Mondays, from 8:30-9pm ET, beginning on Nov. 30 and continuing on Dec. 7, 14, and 21. In this time of social distancing, the bonds of community are more important than ever. Join virtually over Zoom with members of the Pax Christi USA family from around the nation for a short prayer service with readings from our Advent-Christmas reflection booklet, the lighting of the Advent candles, and more. Click here to register. 
#PreachPalestine this first Sunday of Advent
Pax Christi USA is supporting an effort from our partner organization, Friends of Sabeel-North America, to raise awareness about the suffering of the Palestinian people by dedicating some part of our worship experience to #PreachPalestine on the First Sunday of Advent.