November 2019: Coventry. Pax Christi members Ann Farr and Paschal Somers and friends, attended the Coventry Rising Global Peace Forum to hand out flyers and engage with attendees, highlighting how Coventry City Council continues to invest in arms despite it’s claim to be a City of Peace and Reconciliation.
October 2019: Abingdon. ‘Peace and War Through Children’s Eyes’. Pax Christi members Tony Godfrey and Anne Dodd worked with Quaker Sally Reynolds and other campaigners in the Abingdon Peace Group. The group put on an art exhibition called ‘Peace and War through Children’s Eyes’ featuring drawings by children from Darfur, Sudan, now living in refugee camps, alongside those of Abingdon children. The refugees’ drawings were collected by ‘Waging Peace’, an organisation focused on Sudan. They revealed shocking memories of their villages being attacked. The networkers teamed up with Trinity Learning, an educational charity. With some funding from the Christian Peace Education Fund, they produced a peace pack to help primary school children prepare pictures responding to the question ‘What does peace mean to you?’ The exhibition was hosted at St Nicholas Church and attracted visitors through the widely-read ‘Abingdon Blog’.
World Week For Peace in Palestine & Israel: Members in Liverpool sent the following report: The metropolitan cathedral was a fitting backdrop for our small but significant vigil for peace.
We were joined by members of Sabeel-Kairos other peace and solidarity groups. We shared the prayers at intervals including those of the Mennonites community. Our vigil attracted support and interest
The Kairos group in Crosby organised several ecumenical gatherings including a service for race and a Palestinian brunch.
Vigil against the Arms Fair: The silent vigil took place inside the grounds of the Excel centre on the green outside. This took place on the eve of the opening of the arms fair. Members and other organisations (Quakers, Christian CND) gathered around in a circle and took part in silent prayer. A beautiful and powerful protest against the injustice and severity of the Arms Trade.
Arms Fair Protest: Stop the Arms Fair: Pax Christi Procession and Stations of the Cross Worship, on way to main protest. Joining hundreds of others for No Faith In War protest. Blocking the East Gate for the day whilst singing, praying and holding silent worship on the approach to the exhibition centre. Arms manufacturers were prevented from taking their vile weapons for the duration of the blockade. About 50 arrests made during the day.
Franz Jägerstätter Service: Members gathered in the crypt of Westminster Cathedral for the annual service commemorating the execution of Austrian Catholic conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter. The service has now been held for 30 years. It was initiated by member Ray Towey. This year, it was Ray who read from Jägerstätter’s writings for us.
Commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 6th and 9th August
Events took place around the country. In Liverpool, Pax Christi and CND gathered at the Liverpool peace garden to mark the anniversary and say no the nuclear arms race.
In Coventry: In the Chapel of Unity, Coventry Cathedral, we had our annual display of the posters depicting the horrors and after effects of the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These were given to us by our friends on Hiroshima with the plea that we should all work together to stop the production and ownership of nuclear weapons.
Our permanent ‘curtain’ of 1,000 cranes were a gift to us from school children in Hiroshima reminding us of the story of Sadaka and of the belief that anyone who folds 1,000 cranes will have their dreams come true.
The annual Peace Commemoration took place on Hiroshima Day.
In London, Pax Christi members and the office team engaged with passers-by outside Westminster Cathedral with an information stall on 6th and 9th August. Prayers and hymns were shared together, flyers were handed out encouraging the UK to sign the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.
24th July: Members of Liverpool Pax Christi visited The Peace Museum in Bradford City Centre. We were grateful for the welcome we received from Museum team members, Shannen, Amelia and Jack. We want to say a special ‘thank you’ to Shannen (Learning and Engagement Officer) for her fascinating guided tour around all the various exhibits, banners and posters etc. We are all committed campaigners for peace, of course, so everything we were shown was of particular interest.
It is encouraging to hear of the Museum’s education programme offered to school pupils both in the Museum itself, and as outreach in their schools. We know the value of demonstrating to our children that a better world of peace and reconciliation is possible, and preferable to war and violence.
The Museum is well planned, all available space is utilised and none wasted, and plans are in hand to move to new larger, visible and accessible premises. At present the Museum is not at street level and is accessed up a couple of flights of stairs: Museum Website here
We had an interesting day discussing our local work in campaigning to get Pension Fund divestment from the Arms Trade, a new Peace Walk plan, comparisons between the international work of Pax Christi and the Community of the Cross of Nails, peace education work and our links with the Passionist religious community, through Paschal, and lots more. We had a delicious lunch in Rising Cafe too. A good day and much to follow up!
Leeds Pax Christi group are supporting a new Women in Black vigil focussed on Palestine and Israel. Details here
10th June: Theresa spent some time in Leeds. She spoke at the J&P Commission quarterly meeting attended by friends and supporters. Read more about it in the Diocese of Leeds Justice and Peace newsletter here
Theresa also met with members of the Leeds Pax Christi group and with the Carmelite Sisters at Wood Hall.
4th June: Pax Christi members in Wisbech gathered with a group of activists at the historic Thomas Clarkson Memorial to show their distaste at the British establishment’s fêting of President Trump. Pax Christi member Sean Finlay said, “This is not a reflection on the office of President but disgust at the antics of the present incumbent. What the world desperately needs at the present time is leaders who inspire confidence and hope , not sowers of dissent and division”.
16th May Arms Trade Resistance: Pax Christi members protested outside Coventry Cathedral as City Councillors and guests gathered for the Annual Council meeting and Mayor making. Members asked the Council, as part of the West Midlands Consortium, to stop investing our money in the arms trade and contributing to war, death and destruction.
Nakba day: 15th May. The day on which we join Palestinian people in remembering the displacement of 750,00 Palestinians in 1948 to make way for the State of Israel. Pax Christi members in Coventry marked this difficult day with a Circle of Silence in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral. The Pax Christi office team also held a Circle of Silence.
May 15th: Conscientious Objectors Day
A beautiful sunny day in which to think of the witness of conscientious objectors. There were two gatherings in Liverpool supported by Pax Christi members:
And a gathering in London too. Pax Christi members were part of the group of about 200 people, including some descendants of First World War COs, gathered at the Conscientious Objectors’ stone in Tavistock Square for the annual commemoration ceremony.
Liverpool Pax Christi Liverpool – April 2019
April 2019: It’s been a busy Spring time for our Liverpool Pax Christi group. The group hosted moving and active Liturgy around Ash Wednesday bringing to the public’s attention the destruction caused by nuclear testing and the wasted resources that are invested in nuclear weapons. Planning meetings were also held in Liverpool with our President Archbishop Malcolm who met with Jan Harper and Theresa Alessandro.
Earlier this month Pax Christi Liverpool hosted a day at Cenacle Retreat House. Anne Candlin, one of the participents on the day writes:
Liverpools Cenacle Retreat House was the peaceful venue for the Pax Christi day of reflection on April 6th.The pivotal item for reflection was Xavier Beauvois’ 2010 film Of Gods and Men, based on a true story: eight French Trappist monks have established a harmonious and much appreciated relationship with the impoverished local Muslim community in Algeria.Their task is not to proselytise, but to serve, through the provision of clothing, food, employment, medical aid and friendship. All is well until, during the Algerian Civil War, a group of Islamic terrorists invade the monastery and threaten the lives of the monks. Some Croation volunteer workers at the monastery are killed. Should the monks stay or leave? the resulting tense discussions between the monks themselves and the villagers raise questions that are central to peace work today.(This year the WCC recently withdrew its volunteers from Palestine because of the increase in Israeli Settler violence).In the film, the monks decide to stay. Small sharing groups allowed us to explore issues raised by the film, about competing identities, individual and group resistance in face of aggression; loyalty and betrayal; self-preservation/self-sacrifice.These questions lead into Holy Week and a Galileans’ response to betrayal,religious and military aggression, and his means of survival. A simple and meaningful liturgy, celebrated in the chapel, concluded the day”.
Special thanks to Jan Harper and the wonderful Pax Christi Liverpool group.
Peace Sunday 2019
Durham Martyrs Parish excelled with their great social media promotion of Peace Sunday and creative work with young people. They developed a children’s liturgy for Peace Sunday and tweeted our prayer for children for all to share. They expanded the topic of Peace at their youth, ‘Base Camp’ asking the question ‘How can we share the Good News and be peacemakers in the world.” This is what they produced.
Sr. Margaret Chambers (SND) decided to combine the theme’s of Christian Unity with those of Peace Sunday and told Pax Christi: “We planned the service using the Unity booklet and the Peace Sunday book – so it was a real combined service for Justice and Peace. I was really happy with the congregation who meet every Sunday, they all came and joined in well. I think Ecumenism and Peace are not exactly understood – Its sad but we still keep trying! We pray about it and I find the Pax Christi daily prayer for peace is great. It really is a good examination of conscience”.
Anne Dodd from Abingdon wrote: I spoke at the end of all Masses, most people took envelopes. Prayer cards, info leaflets were distributed and we created a small display of info Pax Christi. used. Copies of full text of Pope`s Message made available. Good response generally. To have a suggested script on- line for Peace Sunday is I think a REALLY good resource. It can be adapted, tweaked or just extracted from but it gives members something to start off with and gives confidence to first-timers.
The parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel & Saint George, Enfield tweeted: Well done to our Confirmation candidates and catechists for preparing beautiful peace shrine in the church to this Peace Sunday. Please do drop into the church this week and visit the shrine and say a prayer for peace in the world.
Brian Austin, coordinator of Peace Sunday for Catholic Leamington Justice & Peace reported:
Once again, many thanks for the material you supplied for Peace Sunday, which is an excellent resource. We used it as much as possible at our three churches in Leamington Spa including:
Prayers of the Faithfull
Prayer and reflection – used in a separate prayer leaflet for Holy Hour
Activities for children – sent to the children’s liturgy, but don’t know if used
Songs – sent to musicians and one used at all three churches
Article – not used, but may be included in a future magazine. So we tried to do our ‘bit’.
Maureen Wilcock from Liverpool reported: Liverpool Members were welcomed at the three weekend masses (Christ the King and Our Lady Parish) for Peace Sunday. The newsletter highlighted Pope Francis’s peace message and Fr. John Poland drew extensively on ideas in the Peace booklet for the bidding prayers and homily.
We ran a stall and enjoyed talking to people while displaying information and giving out prayer cards, badges and news of future events. We plan to follow up Peace Sunday by visits to parish groups to talk about Pax Christi’s aims and campaigns.
Thanks to Christ the King church for our welcome and to Fr. John for his excellent sermon really making clear what it means to be a follower of Christ, the ‘Prince of Peace’.
The Justice and Peace Group in St Mellitus Parish, Tollington Park wrote an article for the parish newsletter on the theme for Peace Sunday and involved the Confirmation group in a dialogue on the theme at the Homily slot. Members also spoke at Mass which made a substantial difference to the collection taken!
From St Wilfrid’s Church, Preston, Geoff Thompson sent us a picture of the Peace Tree which they created for Peace Sunday – recycling their Christmas Tree. They asked everyone to write a place, person, situation or country they personally wanted to pray for peace for, then hang it on the tree after the bidding prayers. Most people did.
Holy Apostle Parish, Pimlico, devoted the front page of their newseltter to Pax Christi and the Peace Sunday theme and reproduced our Prayer Card in the newsletter too.
It was encouraging to see schools ‘tweeting’ about Peace Sunday too. Two schools, which our education worker Aisling has worked with in recent months, Sacred Heart Hammersmith had Peace as their prayer theme for the week and Holy Family Waltham, facilitated a discussion with Year 9 Justice and Peace Group on the theme “How can I help crate peace”. They also gave out Pax Christi peace badges!