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. https://paxchristi.net/about-us/

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.”  http://paxchristitexas.org/  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 www.txccedp.org.  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.

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