Third Week of Lent, March 20-26
Friday, March 18, 2022
Greetings of peace!

I thirst…Mwen swaf (Haitian Kreyol)

In this land of abundant choices and expansive individual freedoms, Americans are a hungry and thirsty people. Many cabinets and closets burst even as we gleefully plan the next shopping trip. Nearby, neighbors struggle to eat, sleep and care for their families living in neglected public housing, in tents under bridges or even in plain sight.

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman, whose shame brought her to the well at noon, he acknowledged a shared human thirst for physical and spiritual water. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,” Jesus tells her. “But whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.”

For what do we hunger and thirst? Humans rely on the things that make life possible. We need nutritious food, housing, health, safety and a caring community to thrive and grow. At the same time, we yearn for other things that make life worth living, like sense of purpose, freedom to worship, having dignity and being respected. Then, little treats along the way add delight to living. Think of music, art, the wonder of nature, loving relationships, our pets, all forms of healing and reconciliation. We also crave intimacy with God even in our ignorance of who God is or what that friendship means. The journey to wholeness (within and with God) sustains us. “Ain’t understanding mellow?”

Today our senses are flooded with daily images and accounts of the war in Eastern Europe. Like visions of the war in Viet Nam captured on televisions and in magazines 50 years ago, we are only beginning to recognize how war displaces people, leaving them unsheltered from the weather, disrupting their certainty about food, water, medicine, safety and life itself. Often war seems distant and its circumstances complex. Yet the impact on both humans and the land are painful and traumatic; experienced through the ages regardless of where or how conflicts arise.

Isn’t it maddening that Congress abandoned the people who provide for and benefit from the care industry even though funding this sector would lift millions from poverty’s grip? Instead, obscene amounts of resources flow to fortify the military and supply arsenals for personal protection without objection and with no end in sight.

What is this living water of which Jesus spoke? Returning to the well of military might and personal protection at the expense of community cannot satisfy our hunger for security nor quench our thirst for safety. Living water that wells up within us is God’s saving grace showered on individuals, families and communities. Let us pray that God’s grace will embolden us to advocate for the peace and justice that would bring real security to our world.
In peace,

Donna Toliver Grimes
Ambassador of Peace, Pax Christi USA
Bread Not Stones 2022, Committee Member
A prayer from "Sister Thea: Songs of My People"
by Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA
O, Lord, help us to be attentive to your
commands. Help us to walk in unity.
Help us to celebrate who we are and
whose we are. Help us to overcome 
selfishness, anger, and violence in our 
hearts, in our homes, in our Church, in 
our world. Help us to knock down, pull
down, shout down the walls of racism, 
sexism, classism, materialism, and 
militarism that divide and separate us. 
Help us to live as your united people, 
proclaiming with one voice, our faith,
our hope, our love, our joy. Amen.
>> Join us this Monday, March 21 for a short Lenten prayer service with the Pax Christi USA national community over Zoom. Beatrice Parwatikar, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and 50th Anniversary Honorary Committee member, will read a reflection from Sr. Mary Evelyn Jegen, SNDdeN, former national coordinator of Pax Christi USA, and offer her own expansion on the readings for the third week of Lent and Sr. Mary Evelyn's reflection. The 30 minute prayer service begins at 8:30 pm EDT. Click here to register & read more information.

>> Join Pax Christi USA members throughout this year by offering up this special prayer composed to celebrate our jubilee. Inspired by Pope Francis’ 2022 World Day of Peace message, this prayer roots us in the witness of Jesus as the way of nonviolence and asks the blessing of our God, the Weaver of Peace. Read more here. Available as a prayer card here.
An episode of America Reframed
Fannie Lou Hamer's America is a portrait of a civil rights activist and the injustices in America that made her work essential. Through public speeches, personal interviews, and powerful songs of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist, Fannie Lou Hamer's America explores and celebrates the lesser-known life of one of the Civil Rights Movement’s greatest leaders.

After watching the film, reflect or discuss with others these questions.

1. What did you find most impactful about the film?
2. In what way(s) does Fannie Lou Hamer’s activism inform and inspire you?
3. How would you realign misappropriated public funds in this era? Be specific.
>> Check out prayer, study and action resources on the intersection between Black Lives Matter, racial justice and the Catholic Church.
Opportunities to participate in the Synod
Raise up the common good, nonviolence,
peacemaking as central to our faith
If you had 15 minutes with Pope Francis, what one reform would you urge him to make for the common good? In October 2021, Pope Francis initiated the Synod on Synodality, an extraordinary two-year listening process.

1. Click here to sign-up for one or more hourly sessions held on Wednesdays during Lent, beginning at noon and 7pm EDT through FutureChurch. 
2. Pax Christi International is inviting its members all over the world to engage in the Synod process. Together we can send a strong message to the Synod that the Church we envision promotes nonviolence and just peace in every way. Pax Christi USA members can click here to register to join in the discussion on March 31, 2022 at 7:30pm EDT.

3. Pax Christi Northern California has been offering guidance to Pax Christi local groups and state/regional chapters that want to conduct a Synodal process of their own. Contact Kim Vanderheiden at for more information. You can watch the webinar Kim led for Pax Christi local groups and state/regional chapters at this link.
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