March 29-April 4, 2020


This Lent has taken on a different meaning because of the effect that the global coronavirus pandemic has had on so many of us. In recognition of this new reality and what it means for our movement, we've been reframing our work to reflect the restrictions, burdens and uncertainty that this moment has brought. Today's Prayer-Study-Action (PSA) e-bulletin includes a special prayer written by Pax Christi USA National Council member Michelle Sherman for the Pax Christi USA community to pray throughout this crisis. The hunger to pray in solidarity was beyond what we could have imagined. The prayer has been downloaded from our site over 3,000 times, liked and shared on Facebook by another 1,500-plus people, and our community has prayed it together en masse twice already, as part of last Sunday's Day of Worldwide Solidarity and Prayer and following the praying of the "Our Father" with Pope Francis on Wednesday. We invite you to make it a part of your daily practice during these difficult days. 

We are also gifted with incredible wisdom figures within our movement who continue to help us understand this pandemic through the scripture readings for each Sunday of Lent. This week Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Cathy Crayton connects the story of Lazarus with the choices to love we make during this time of isolation, anxiety and sickness. Her words invoke the grace that is evident even in moments of despair and confusion. 

And if, like me and my family, you are under "stay at home" orders of varying degrees, we've got two actions you can take. One is a petition from our colleagues at Win Without War supporting a global ceasefire called for by the UN Secretary General this week. The other is an invitation to join other Pax Christi USA members to watch the movie "Cesar Chavez" in honor of his birthday on March 31. (This week's movie is "Romero" in case you still want to watch!) This is another way that we can be "alone, together" during this time of social-distancing and quarantine. We encourage you to discuss the movie in your households, post comments and insights on social media, and think of what Chavez's witness calls for from us today. 

You can find all of these resources to respond to the coronavirus pandemic at this link and our earlier resources for  Lent on our   special Lenten webpage .  

In solidarity,

Johnny Zokovitch
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

by Michelle Sherman

Creator God,
We look to you during this time of illness, uncertainty, & physical distancing from others. Be with us as we place our anxieties and fears in your hands.
Free us from the illusion of invincibility, so that we might remember our actions affect others, especially the most vulnerable.
Free us from the fear of scarcity, which leads to competition and hoarding.
Free us from painful anxiety, so that it can be transformed into caring actions for ourselves and others.

Jesus, our brother,
As your ministry of healing brought physical wellness and connection and restored community, help us remember that we are not alone.
As you mourned the death of your friend Lazarus, be with those who grieve the loss of loved ones. May they feel your presence and peace.
As you experienced death, be with those who have died from the coronavirus. May they be in your eternal embrace.
As you challenged your disciples to act for the common good, be with national and local leaders who have the power to ensure that the "least of these" have their basic needs met. Inspire them to have a global vision of solidarity, a consciousness and priority to provide healthcare to all.

Spirit of God, breath of life,
Thank you for the countless nurses, custodial staff, doctors, receptionists, therapists, healthcare providers, and all others who are working to care for those who are sick and suffering. As they live their vocations, may they be sustained by your Spirit.
Open our eyes to see the devastating implications of economic and racial injustice during this crisis. Be with vulnerable populations who are unable to have "social distance" from others, thereby increasing their likelihood of contagion.
Inspire our actions for equitable access to testing, treatment, and financial support for all affected by the coronavirus.

We pray together as Pax Christi USA that, during this Lenten season and current pandemic, we can turn away from fear and be faithful to our sacred and civic responsibility for others. AMEN.

Click here to see the poem and download it from our site.

A reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 29
by Cathy Crayton, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

[Ed. Note: This new, original reflection by Cathy is written in light of the coronavirus pandemic.] 

"Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, "Untie him and let him go." ~John 11:43-44

During this Lenten season, what first speaks to me in the Gospel reading is Jesus's participation in our humanity. Here, Lazarus, Jesus's friend has died and Jesus weeps just as Lazarus's sisters, Mary and Martha, weep. Jesus shares in our suffering, not only on the cross as he dies, but as someone who walked this earth like other human beings.

In this dark time for humanity - this pestilence that has gripped the entire globe - where is God now? Many, in attempts to provide comfort and a sense of security, assert with confidence that "God is in control." I prefer to believe that God is in command. God commands us to pray; God commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves. But God does not compel us to do so. God does not deprive us of our freedom. It is up to us to choose to pray and to love our neighbor.

At this moment many of us live and work in physical isolation from our families, friends, co-workers and our faith communities. So, what does the choice to pray and love our neighbor look like right now in this time of global suffering? ...


Two actions for you to consider taking:

1. We Demand a Global Ceasefire! Join the UN Secretary General in calling for the nations of the world to enact a global ceasefire. Click here to add your name.   


2. Join the larger Pax Christi USA community in honoring the birthday of Cesar Chavez this week by watching the film, "Cesar Chavez," available for rental on Amazon and other streaming services. Go to the Pax Christi USA Facebook events page to leave comments, insights or "like" this week's movie. This is the 2nd movie recommendation in our "Alone, Together" Movie of the Week series during the coronavirus pandemic. 


And of course  take the important actions that the CDC and others are calling for to help stem the tide, flatten the curve and save lives: Wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay home, self-quarantine as needed, shelter in place where suggested or required, and more. 
We know that this is a very difficult time for many of us and that there are a number of organizations who are performing direct service to provide support for people who are sick, unemployed, and otherwise struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. We honor whatever choices you make during this time and recognize that we are all in this together. If you can also contribute and help support Pax Christi USA during this time, we'd be grateful. Just click the button above and to the left to give securely and quickly online. Thank you!