Thursday, December 22, 2022

Carta a la Vida Consagrada en Perú

Son tiempos dolorosos para nuestro país, como vida consagrada que camina en las entrañas de las poblaciones más pobres y marginalizadas, sabemos cuánto sufrimiento, cuánta exclusión y cuánto olvido existe a lo largo y ancho del territorio peruano. Sin embargo, en esas propias entrañas brota la vida, de manera creativa, con generosa esperanza, resistiendo a todos los vendavales.

La riqueza de la gran diversidad cultural, en lugar de ser una maravillosa oportunidad de encuentro y unidad, se ha convertido en violencia, en un mal sueño que tiñe, nuevamente, de sangre nuestra historia. Nuestro cuerpo social ha tocado la herida “latente” de la violencia sistémica institucionalizada por la corrupción, la postergación, y las grandes desigualdades políticas, sociales, culturales, raciales y económicas.

Nuestra amistad social se sostiene en la frescura evangélica del seguimiento de Jesús de Nazaret y su Reino, que irrumpe en la historia para que la “justicia y la paz” se abracen como signo de reconciliación y encuentro, como signo de unidad en la diversidad de todas nuestras sangres, de todos los rostros y de todos los colores que embellecen nuestro territorio.

Celebrar la presencia divina que sigue poniendo su tienda entre nosotros, “celebrar la habitación del pequeño y pobre y Emmanuel,” en solidaridad creciente con la suerte de los más pobres, en esta Navidad, nos invita a correr el riesgo de la inseguridad, como una nueva manera de vivir nuestro seguimiento.

Nos unimos al dolor de las familias más pobres que han perdido a sus seres queridos, hacemos un llamado a toda la ciudadanía y a las autoridades a ser artesanos y artesanas de la paz, a respetar los derechos fundamentales de los más pobres, se escuche sus justas aspiraciones, y que tendamos puentes de reconciliación y reparación, con memoria viva de Dios con nosotros.

Que Dios, “morada de encuentro y de paz,” nos acompañe y proteja de la vida, en esta Navidad, desde su pequeñez y fragilidad de niño.

Letter to Consecrated Life in Peru

These are painful times for our country. As consecrated life that walks in the heart of the poorest and most marginalized populations, we know how much suffering, how much exclusion and how much oblivion exists throughout the length and breadth of the Peruvian territory. However, life springs up on those edges, with creativity, with generous hope and in spite of all the gales.

The richness of the great cultural diversity, instead of being a wonderful opportunity for encounter and unity, has become a trigger for violence, a nightmare that once again stains our history with blood. Our social body has touched the "open" wound of systemic violence institutionalized by corruption, neglect and great political, social, cultural, racial and economic inequalities. 

Our social friendship is based on the Gospel freshness of following Jesus of Nazareth and the Kingdom of God. Jesus burst into history so that "justice and peace" could embrace each other as a sign of reconciliation and encounter. We want to be a sign of unity in the diversity of all our blood, faces and colors that embellish our territory.

To celebrate the divine presence that continues to pitch its tent among us, "to celebrate the little and poor Emmanuel" in growing solidarity with the fate of the poorest, this Christmas, invites us to take the risk of insecurity. This insecurity is our new way of living our discipleship.

We join in the pain of the poorest families who have lost their loved ones. We ask all citizens and authorities to be peacemakers, to respect the fundamental rights of the poorest. May their fair aspirations be heard, and may bridges of reconciliation and reparation be built, with the living memory of God with us.

May God, "dwelling place of encounter and peace", accompany and protect us from life, this Christmas, from his smallness and weakness as a child.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Texas Pax Christi 25 Anniversary Celebration held in the Incarnate Word Sisters Heritage Center and Online for state participants

Sr. Mary Lou Rodriguez (under the picture of Mother Madeleine) and Pax Christi Leaders on zoom speaking to members around Texas.  

Pax Christi Texas celebrates a twenty-fifth anniversary as Pax Christi USA marks its fiftieth year. Pax Christi Texas is a fellowship of local groups. All are affiliated with Pax Christi International Catholic peace movement. Pax Christi was founded in Europe in 1945 as a reconciliation movement bringing together French and Germans after World War II. Today, the movement has 120 Member Organizations active in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The Texas organization proclaims, “Steeped in the Catholic tradition, our advocacy for peace and justice is based on the Church’s social teaching and on Jesus Christ’s lived example of prayer, nonviolence and solidarity with the poor.”  Over the 25 years there have been Pax Christi groups in Amarillo, Austin, Brownsville, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio. Among the current leaders are Patricia Delgado, Joyce Hall, David Atwood, Frank Skeith, Bob Rankin, Karen Ball, Joe Marcinkowski, and state president Art Dawes.   

November 20, 2022, the Feast of Christ the King, a king of peace inviting compassion and reconciliation,  people gathered to join Pax Christi members at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word, 4503 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas, and online. At 9:45 am highlights from prayer, education, and action of the different local groups were shared. At 10:30 am Eucharist was celebrated with Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI. Sister Martha Ann Kirk and Sister Mary Henry hosted the gathering in the Madeleine Room and the Eucharist in the Chapel working with Art Dawes, the president of Texas Pax Christi and the state board of directors in different cities. Sister Mary Lou Rodriguez, who recently made vows as an Incarnate Word Sister, assisted with technology giving members in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and El Paso the opportunity to speak.  

In a world that settles differences by armed violence or the threat of it, Pax Christi offers a nonviolent alternative. In a world that too often defines “revenge” as “justice”, Pax Christi breaks the cycle of violence by fostering reconciliation. In a world where countries invest more money in weapons than in the well-being of their people, Pax Christi calls individuals to disarm their hearts and work toward a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons. Following the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pax Christi Texas has inaugurated a webpage, the Texas Catholic Campaign to End the Death Penalty  Annually Pax Christi Texas holds an all day conference featuring a prominent peace and justice speaker and also recognizes a “Peacemaker of the Year.”

Pope Francis emphasizes care of creation and nonviolence as pathways to a sustainable future. Pax Christi organizations are rooted in gospel nonviolence. On the night before he died, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and Judas brought people to arrest him. Peter pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus probably could have run away or he could have rallied the other disciples to help Peter fight off this little group in the dark garden. Jesus did not fight or flee. He said, “Peter, put back the sword. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.”

Jesus healed, putting back the ear of the man. Jesus last free act before being bound and taken away to be crucified was to reach out and heal someone who had come to harm him. He invited Peter to disarm. Christ invites all to disarm, to absorb violence rather than return it.  This invitation is so challenging that one could never start to accept it alone.  Christ’s followers are not alone. The Risen Christ is with them every step of the way.

“Peace Works,” globally and locally we are the transformation

The Texas Pax Christi 25 Anniversary celebration on November 20, 2022 was held at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word and the Sisters' Heritage Center bringing joy and deepening our commitment to gospel nonviolence. 

 “Seventy-five people from all over the world came together in Rome from Dec. 5-7, 2022, to ignite a peaceful revolution.  They were participants in a dramatic conference  sponsored by the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, a project of Pax Christi International, and the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the international unions of superiors of women's and men's religious orders. It was called "Pope Francis, Nonviolence and the Fullness of Pacem in Terris." Its goal was to understand through the sharing of stories the practical power of nonviolence to help heal our world. Most of the participants had been suffering from violence for much of their lives — war, revolution, trafficking, oppression by dictators, devastation of their lands. Each had a story to tell about their use of nonviolent action to confront and overcome the violence assailing them.”  Read more

An African priest at the conference lamented that nonviolence is not taught in Catholic schools around the world. No one has invited them to do so.  He and others need to know that Peace Works,  a conflict resolution program for all school levels, has been developed by the Center for Peacemaking at Marquette University. Over the last dozen years it has been refined and tested with great results.

Each of us in our area of the world, in our area of influence can take the small steps that transform larger systems.  In San Antonio, Texas, the work to be a “City of Compassion” and the on-going Compassionate Integrity Training is developing social emotional intelligence. (See other articles on this on this blog by searching for “Charter for Compassion.”) This goes right along with the ideas of that in the “Peace Works” programs of Marquette.  

"Nonviolence "points to another way of being in relationship to each other and the planet," said Marie Dennis, program chair of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. "It is not only what we are trying to accomplish, but it is how we get there."    Each of us has power for good and we are called to use this. Globally in the growing Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and locally let us be the peace we wish to see. 

Marie Dennis spoke at the University of the Incarnate Word in the Pierre Lecture series a few years ago.  Since then UIW has begun the Social Justice and Peace Studies Concentration led by Dr. Laura Cannon and the Sustainability Concentration led by Dr. Ben Miele based on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.  The UIW BrainPower Connection schools under the leadership of Patricia Ramirez have begun online cultural exchanges with the Incarnate Word schools in Mexico building relationships which are stepping stones to respect, justice, and peace. The Texas Pax Christi 25 Anniversary celebration on November 20, 2022 was held at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word and the Sisters' Heritage Center bringing joy and deepening our commitment to gospel nonviolence.