Category Archive: Youth News

Youth Workers against the Arms Trade

In September the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) Arms Fair comes back to London. In this article, written at the time of the last arms fair in September 2015, Matt – our education worker – reflects on the interconnectedness between his two decades as Catholic youth worker, his background working with the Salesians of Don Bosco, and his work in peace education and activism.


In September 2015 the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) Arms Fair came to London. Again. In this article Matt Jeziorski reflects on being part of the No Faith in War day of action which formed part of the wider campaign to stop the arms fair, and quite how he ended up there.

The last amen of the Angelus has just risen heavenward as the funeral procession came around the corner. A priest in habit and stole, the processional cross, an acolyte, and then the child’s pure-white coffin carried by two heartbroken young women. The mourners follow, sadly, prayerfully.

No Faith in War 2015I am an accidental peacemaker. When I left the monastery I landed in Durham lost, hurting, and confused. I coasted through my studies, concentrating more on trying to make sense of it all and to work out what next?

Next, as it turned out, was – and remains – Pax Christi, the Catholic movement for peace. Not for any deep or noble reason – when asked in my interview why I had applied for the job I quipped that they ought to ask my bank manager before going on to give a more considered reply.

This is no ordinary funeral service. We are on the roadside in London’s Docklands. Nearby looms the ExCel centre, the week following it will be hosting the world’s largest arms fair. This solemn liturgy is a memorial for the child victims of that iniquitous trade.

I nodded a silent greeting to the acolyte as the procession passed the spot where I stood on the roadside, Katrina Alton CSJP; we were youth workers together once.

There was a time where Katrina and I would chat deeply in her Savio House office. We were both on the retreat team, both youth workers endeavouring to work in the spirit of St John Bosco. The topics discussed were broad and varied and the conversations were, to me, valuable – formative even.

These days we seem to only ever see each other at peace protests and vigils. I don’t ever recall talking peace back then, nor was it a significant aspect of the work. It is certain that my awareness was lesser in those days, my sensitivity to injustice duller – I still wonder how, later, I lived two years in Farnborough and never even realised that the local air show was an arms fair packaged as family fun.

Yet there is a thread running through all of this, from that naïve young youth worker with all the answers to the peace educator and activist who doesn’t.

Time came for committal. The coffin is placed in the middle of the road, red paint – representing the innocent blood – spilled all around. Mourners kneel in the road, weeping as they sing psalms and lamentations. Behind the congregation stand a line of trucks in reluctant and poignant vigil; their loads are the very instruments of war and death.

It would be ludicrous today to claim that I have any part in the work of Don Bosco yet the saint’s influence is there in the very fabric of my work for peace, for that, like his, is about forming good Christians and honest citizens.

Neither good Christian nor honest citizen in a sense of blind obedience or unthinking piety; but good Christians in the willingness to stand for the teachings of the nonviolent Christ in a world addicted to war, death, and violence; honest citizens in the determination to speak truth, to stand against injustice, and in the refusal to accept that things cannot be better.


stop arms fairJoin us on Tuesday 5 September for No Faith in War – a day of prayer and action against the Arms Fair.

Join us on Monday 11 September at the Silent Vigil to Stop the Arms Fair

Permanent link to this article: http://paxchristi.org.uk/2017/08/24/youth-workers-against-the-arms-trade/

Pax Christi helps make peace at Holy Rosary

There is a report in the latest Oldham Peace Times about a recent visit by Matt, our education worker, to Holy Rosary Primary in Oldham.

Holy Rosary is the latest Oldham school to sign the Pledge to Peace and our visit was to help the children begin to think about what it means to be a peacemaker as they begin the journey towards becoming a school for peace.

Pax Christi in Oldham Peace Times

Oldham council became the first in the UK  to sign the Pledge to Peace in 2015 and since then a number of local schools, community projects, and civic organisations have also become signatories as they work together to make Oldham a more peaceful borough.

Download the article about Matt’s visit to Holy Rosary
Download the Oldham Peace Times

Permanent link to this article: http://paxchristi.org.uk/2017/07/20/pax-christi-helps-make-peace-at-holy-rosary/

Northampton Schools Faith in Action Day

Working with the St Paul’s Catholic School in Milton Keynes and the Northampton Youth Ministry Office, Pax Christi co-organised the first Northampton Diocesan Schools Faith in Action Day held at St Paul’s on Thursday 6 July 2017. Below is the press release about the day which was attended by students from five of the high schools of the diocese.

Faith in Action Day

Bishop Peter speaks to the young peopleYoung people from around the region gathered at St Paul’s Catholic School for the first Northampton Diocesan Faith in Action Day.  Year 9 and 10 students from Thornton College in Thornton, St Thomas Becket in Northampton, St Thomas More in Bedford and Cardinal Newman in Luton joined pupils from St Paul’s to explore how, as Christians, we put our faith into action in our daily lives.

The Conference, organised jointly by St Paul’s, Pax Christi, and the Northampton Youth Ministry Office, began with pupils having the opportunity to ask questions of guest of honour, The Rt Revd Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton.  One pupil asked Bishop Peter “what makes you really fulfilled?” and his answer was “being open to God”.  They then participated in a series of workshops run by Columbans UK, Pax Christi, The Young Christian Workers and Northampton Youth Ministry Office.

Jennifer Rowlands, RE Teacher at St Paul’s, said:  “We held our first St Paul’s Faith in Action Day last year and thought that this year it would be a great idea to open it up to other schools and build networks between local Catholic high schools in the Diocese.”

Aleksandra Wiencis, from St Paul’s Catholic School, said: “I liked the fact that we could connect with  students from other Catholic schools’ while Dominika Mazur, also from St Paul’s, said: ‘It was really fun. I enjoyed meeting other people from other schools and getting to know how they practice their faith.”

FIA02Delegates received conference packs which contained a variety of items including sunglasses, highlighters and chocolate bars.  They also took away a conference booklet that was full of practical ideas for putting faith into action.

Matt Jeziorski of Pax Christi added, “We have been delighted with the response to this first Diocesan Faith in Action Day. It has been so well supported by the schools, the enthusiasm of the students generated a wonderful atmosphere, and the hard work of the organising team has really paid off. We are already looking forward to next year.”

Faith in Action Day Quotation

 

Permanent link to this article: http://paxchristi.org.uk/2017/07/11/northampton-schools-faith-in-action-day/

Responding to hate with love – new assembly on nonviolence

Among the gifts presented to President Trump by Pope Francis this week was a copy of his message for World Peace Day 2017, Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.

In a week when we have been horrified by the terrorist attack in Manchester this gift is particularly timely. It reminds us that the best response to a world of too much violence and injustice is more love and more goodness – a response we have seen so powerfully from the people of Manchester over the past few days.

This assembly reflects on the Christian vocation to nonviolence and how it challenges us to act by responding to hate with love.

Downloads

Assembly Script pdf)
Assembly Slideshow (pptx)

I ask God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values. May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life.
(Pope Francis, Message for World Peace Day 2017)

 

Follow #ThisIsNonviolence on Twitter to hear more inspirational stories of people living nonviolently

Permanent link to this article: http://paxchristi.org.uk/2017/05/25/responding-to-hate-with-love-new-assembly-on-nonviolence/

Pedal for Peace 2017 – Coast-to-Coast Challenge

Join Pax Christi this summer for a Coast-to-Coast cycling pilgrimage for peace in support of our peace education work and the Christian Peace Education Fund.

Setting off from Barrow-in-Furness, the home of the UK’s nuclear fleet, on Friday 18 August we will reach Whitby on Monday 21 August and doff our cycling caps in honour of St Hilda.

Please join us for what will be a wonderful event and a great celebration of peace in support of important peace education work

A registration fee (£20 for the Coast-to-Coast / £5 for The Last Leg) is needed to secure your participation. Deadline for registrations is Tuesday 30 May

Register your interest by emailing education@paxchristi.org.uk or calling the Pax Christi office (0208 203 4884)

Permanent link to this article: http://paxchristi.org.uk/2017/05/04/pedal-for-peace-2017-coast-to-coast-challenge/

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