Category Archive: Youth News

Dorothy Day: Saint or Troublemaker?

Dorothy Day Pax 1963On his 2016 visit to the United States Pope Francis, addressing Congress, praised an American lay-woman, Dorothy Day, for her social activism and her passion for justice. This sparked a huge spike in Google searches as people who had never before heard of her tried to find out who Dorothy Day was and why the Pope thought so highly of her.

They will have learned of a prayerful woman, a faithful Catholic, and a woman devoted to the poorest in society. They would have also found a woman who was unafraid to court controversy; who was an outspoken critic of governments and their wars, and who spent time in prison for her activism.

In this assembly we will meet Dorothy Day: Saint and Troublemaker.

Download the Assembly Script (pdf)
Download the Assembly Slideshow (pptx)

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Peace Education & Conscientious Objector Day

IMG_2044Sunday 15 May is International Conscientious Objectors Day when we remember the men and women throughout history who have refused to serve in the military or fight in wars. We have a whole host of educational materials connected to this theme including:

Women Peacemakers – An assembly that remembers the women peacemakers who gathered in the Hague in the midst of World War 1.

A Story of Remarkable Faith – A workshop exploring the life and witness of Franz Jagerstatter, an Austrian farmer who refused to serve in Hitler’s Army

Should Christians Fight in Wars? – A lesson exploring if  it is ever acceptable for Christians to fight in wars (Lesson 3 in our General RE Scheme of Work)

The Quakers’ resources Conscience and Conviction also explore some of these issues.

Do use some of these resources to explore conscientious objection with your students around the time of International CO Day.

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Rediscovering St Dominic Savio

Friday 6 May is the feast of St Dominic Savio, the schoolboy saint of Don Bosco’s Oratory in Torino. Our Education Officer Matt Jeziorski reflects on the life of St Dominic Savio and what he can teach us about Christian [peace] activism.

I have not always found it easy to get along with St Dominic Savio, whose memorial is kept on 6 May. Stories from his life are full of ecstatic visions, prophetic dreams, and pious episodes, whilst the depictions of him in art range from the sweet and sickly to the downright dreadful.

Years ago, working in a project placed under the patronage of this schoolboy saint, I wasn’t alone amongst my colleagues in lacking confidence in presenting Dominic Savio as a role model. It seems so profoundly unlikely that the experiences of the modern teenager would resonate with stories from Dominic’s life.

Savio StatueThere is a statue of Dominic Savio in the grounds of Savio House retreat centre in Cheshire with the young saint holding a crucifix aloft in his right hand. In his left is his motto, Death before sin. The statue recalls Dominic’s tactic of ending fights and immoral behaviour amongst his peers by standing amidst them with a crucifix and urge them to gaze on the face of Christ and reconsider their actions. This is not a tactic I could imagine being particularly effective in the playgrounds of today. Far easier when talking about Dominic to focus on general attributes – his cheerfulness and faithfulness – rather than his biography.

These days, over a decade later, my relationship with St Dominic Savio has transformed. How often I have stood with others of faith outside the Ministry of Defence, Downing Street, or an Arms Fair and called people to repentance, urged them to look on the face of Jesus and abandon war in favour of his nonviolence.

And during these protests I have made many a silent prayer to St Dominic Savio whenever I have felt uncomfortable or embarrassed (public hymn singing will always do this to me). O for a courageous faith like his!

Sadly my rediscovery of this teenage saint has come rather too late – how I wish I had realised his enduring relevance during those days when speaking about him seemed impossibly difficult. Saint Dominic Savio seems to me to be a wonderful model for all of us who are inspired by faith to work to transform the world.

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Dial M for Missile


Join the Peace Education Network for their next skills share workshop, Dial M for Missile

Contact Owen to book your free placeWorkshop Flyer - Dial M for Missile

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Ash Wednesday

For over 30 years Pax Christi has celebrated Ash Wednesday with a vigil of resistance and repentance at the Ministry of Defence in London. This liturgy and witness is undertaken in respectful opposition to the MoD’s preparations for the deployment of weapons of mass destruction – of nuclear weapons. Around the country there will be many people unable to join us for the vigil who will be supporting us in prayerful solidarity.

We particularly encourage schools to consider joining in with this prayerful solidarity and to include prayers for peace in your own Ash Wednesday liturgy. The liturgy that we will pray at the Ministry of Defence is available below and you may want to use elements of this in your services.

Ash Wed


Download our 2016 Ash Wednesday Liturgy

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