March 22-28, 2020


Earlier this week, I sent out a letter to all of our members, friends and partners addressing this new moment we find ourselves in because of the coronavirus pandemic. This Prayer-Study-Action (PSA) e-bulletin, and our resources for Lent going forward, will be framed in the reality of this pandemic and what it means to our lives and to the issues that we work on as Pax Christi USA. We cannot act as if business goes on as usual. Indeed, Pax Christi USA is particularly poised for this moment because our fundamental work before the pandemic was to try to rouse people from "business as usual" to address the racism, violence and injustice that underpins nearly every aspect of society. 

I hope that you'll continue to find strength and encouragement in the community you have found within Pax Christi USA, whether as part of a local group or within the web of relationships that define who we are as people of faith committed to peace and justice, in solidarity with one another even when we are practicing social distancing or sheltering in place in our own homes. Know that especially during this time of uncertainty and anxiety, all of us at the national office give thanks for you and hold you in our prayers. 

In addition to the PSA for the fourth week of Lent below, you can find resources on our site to respond with prayer, study and action to the coronavirus pandemic at this link. We'll be updating it daily, so continue to visit and revisit whenever you can.  You'll also find previous e-bulletins and reflections for Lent on our   special Lenten webpage .  

For now, be gentle with yourselves and others. Wash your hands. And may peace be with you.

In solidarity,

Johnny Zokovitch
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

[Ed. Note: At 9pm Rome time today, Thursday, March 19th, Pope Francis is leading a worldwide rosary to unite us during the pandemic This will take place at 4pm, EDT; 3pm, CDT; 2pm, MDT; and 1pm, PDT. Pax Christi USA encourages our members to participate.]

by St. Teresa of Avila

Let nothing disturb thee
Let nothing dismay thee
All things are changing
God alone is changeless
Patience attains the goal
The one who has God lacks nothing
God alone is enough. 

A reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 22
by Marie Dennis, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

[Ed. Note: We asked Marie to especially write this new, original reflection in light of the coronavirus pandemic.] 

"As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. ... He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, 'Go wash in the Pool of Siloam' (which means sent). So he went and washed and came back able to see." ~John 9:1, 6-7

The context is overwhelming for our reflection this week. The coronavirus has upended communities around the world, threatening livelihoods and lives, forcing a previously unthinkable change in daily routines, helping everyone to recognize the fragility of life and the deep injustice that leaves too many people, communities and countries vastly more vulnerable than others. At the same time, the impact of the pandemic is being universally felt as it crosses political, geographic, economic, social and cultural boundaries, powerfully illustrating the reality of global interdependence and calling into question our basic assumptions about security and the politics of fear and division.

The readings for this fourth Sunday of Lent are rich and complex, but John's Gospel about the man blind from birth who was cured - given voice and agency - by Jesus seems to speak most clearly to the situation we are facing. Perhaps this pandemic will help us to see with new eyes the critical need for a transformative shift in our values and priorities. Some reasons that such a shift is urgent are clearly visible. We can see already, for example:
  • that those who are living on the margins -- in the U.S., in countries too poor to provide adequate protection, or "on the way" in migrant streams -- are the most vulnerable to the pandemic's ravages. The violences of economic injustice and ecological devastation are intensified by this global crisis. National and international priorities must be shaped by and meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
  • that the experience of radical social-distancing has helped us to recognize the centrality of relationships in our lives and the importance of community. Our society holds rugged individualism as a high value, yet, as the coronavirus isolates us, we are building safe bridges, many of them virtual, to care for each other and those most at risk...

[Ed. Note: Things are moving quickly, especially at the legislative level, so be aware that calls for action can change quickly too.]

Two actions currently featured on our Coronavirus Response: Pray, Study, Act webpage
Additionally, 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. 
Thanks for making the commitment to pray, study and act for peace with justice this Lent! If you have the means and can make a contribution to help support Pax Christi USA, we'd be grateful! Just click the button above and to the left to give securely and quickly online! Thank you!