July 2021 Membership E-Letter
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Dear Pax Christi USA friends,

Despite the tremendous challenges of the past year, my heart is filled with gratitude for the diversity and creativity I continue to witness in our Pax Christi International movement. Both – diversity and creativity – are particularly evident in the leadership and staff of Pax Christi USA and in the phenomenal ways PCUSA is responding to the hunger for spirit-nourishment in bleak times and to the urgent need to address the violences baked into our U.S. “way of life.”  

Systemic racism, poverty and inequality, the prioritization of weapons and war over health care and education, failed immigration policies, a disastrous response to the cry of the earth -- so much brokenness has been laid bare by COVID 19, by Black Lives Matter, by Indigenous peoples, by immigrants and youth, by all of you! But Pax Christi USA’s monthly Mass for peace, literary circles for liberation, webinars, and thoughtful articles or statements on so many critical issues have added much to the hope that continues to reside in our international movement. Grounding that hope, I believe, is our deep, long term commitment to nonviolence.
In the last few years, Pope Francis’ powerful reflection in Laudato Si’ on the cry of the earth; his assertion that everything is connected; his description of “one complex crisis which is both social and environmental”; and his invitation to ecological conversion have generated in many of us a deeper understanding of nonviolence. He describes ecological conversion “as a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion.” (Laudato Si’ 220) 

Nonviolence is a process for nurturing such an ecological conversion to right relationships among humans and between humans and the rest of the natural world – from the old way of domination and exploitation toward universal communion. Michael Nagler, founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, writes in his excellent book, The Third Harmony: “Violence is a tendency that pulls us back, away from the recognition of unity; nonviolence pulls us forward, toward the recognition of unity....” 

With increasing clarity we have seen that the destruction of earth’s ecosystems and the suffering of the creatures living on this planet are intrinsically interconnected with human violence. The cultural violence of indifference and domination; the direct violence of war and militarization; the violence of economic injustice; and what Thomas Merton called “the polite, massively organized, white-collar murder machine” have seriously damaged earth’s ability to sustain life.

Many communities around the world are already tapping into the tremendous creative potential unlocked by a commitment to nonviolence as they develop strategies for realizing the vision of Laudato Si’. That is what Pax Christi around the world and so many of you are trying to do as well.
In peace,

Marie Dennis
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace &
Senior Advisor to the Secretary General, Pax Christi International
REGISTER TODAY & JOIN HUNDREDS OF MEMBERS OF PAX CHRISTI USA AT THE 2021 NATIONAL CONFERENCE! Pax Christi USA is excited to host our first national conference in 5 years, July 29-31, with special guest and keynote presenter Olga Marina Segura, author of Birth of a Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church. Ms. Segura is a freelance writer and the opinion editor at National Catholic Reporter, previously serving as an associate editor at America Media, where she wrote and solicited articles on race and culture. She is a co-founder and former co-host of the podcast, “Jesuitical” and her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Latino Rebels, Shondaland, Sojourners, Refinery29, and The Revealer. Over 300 of our members and 20+ local groups have been studying her book for the past two months and we're thrilled that she'll be opening our virtual conference on Friday evening, July 30, with a keynote and moderated conversation with our program director, Roxana Bendezú. Click here to register today.

And to learn more about the extraordinary work of nonviolence that Pax Christi is doing around the world, as Marie mentions in her membership e-letter above, join us for the special pre-conference event sponsored by the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative where we'll explore the intersection of Laudato Si' and nonviolence, how nonviolence strategies are being used in social movements today, the 'just peace' ethic and more. Read more about this pre-conference event and all of the conference events at this link.

>> Click here to learn more about the Treaty and our participation in the campaign around its entry into force this past January.
>> Click here for ideas to pray, study & act from last year's 75th anniversary commemoration of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
>> Click here for information on getting involved with the Back from Brink campaign.

>> For all our resources around nuclear disarmament and abolition, click here.
SUPPORT PAX CHRISTI USA WITH A DONATION TO OUR SUMMER 2021 APPEAL: If you have not already had a chance to read Bishop Stowe's passionate message regarding the importance of our work and inviting you to invest in it, we hope you'll do so today. The summer months usually present us with a dip in contributions and the summer appeal helps us not only to stay on course but to plan and fund everything from our 2021 National Conference this month through our Advent programs and events in December. You can click here to read Bishop Stowe's letter or click here to be taken to our donation page and give immediately! Thanks!