PRAYER - STUDY - ACTION
PAX CHRISTI SAN ANTONIO JULY 2022
We pray for our sister and brother immigrants who died
last week in San Antonio. Let us Pray, Study and Act to address this injustice.
As we look to our world and see violence, we also seek ways to Incarnate the Word of Peace.
Here are a few resources which point to efforts and energies in our community to affect health and peace.
About Metro Health's Healthy Neighborhoods program, https://www.sanantonio.gov/Health/HealthyEating/HealthyNeighborhoods
About Metro Health's Healthy Eating and Active Living work, https://www.sanantonio.gov/Health/HealthyEating
About Metro Health’s Violence Prevention program, https://www.sanantonio.gov/Health/ViolencePrevention
In particular, take a look at the Stand Up SA program,
SAPD's SAFFE program (community policing), https://www.sanantonio.gov/sapd/SAFFE
Erica Haller-Stevenson, MPH
Public Health Administrator, Violence Prevention Section
San Antonio Metropolitan Health District
Cell phone: 210-330-3948 | Office phone: 210-207-2867
Address: 512 E. Highland Blvd., Suite 210, San Antonio, TX, 78210
Pax Christi Statement on Immigration Sent to the Governor, and Elected Representatives
ACROSS THE WORLD, MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES ARE FLEEING POVERTY, VIOLENCE, AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEVASTATION DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND RESOURCE EXTRACTION, TO SEEK A SAFE PLACE FOR THEIR FAMILIES. WE RECOGNIZE THE ROLE THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND U.S.-BASED CORPORATIONS HAVE PLAYED AND CONTINUE TO PLAY IN CREATING THE CONDITIONS THAT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN THE AMERICAS AND AROUND THE WORLD ARE FORCED TO ESCAPE. THE RACIST FEAR-MONGERING AND “BLAMING THE VICTIMS,” AS WELL AS THE CRUEL POLICIES TO DETAIN IMMIGRANT CHILDREN, SEPARATE FAMILIES, AND DISMANTLE THE ASYLUM SYSTEM ARE STAINS ON OUR NATION’S SOUL.
AS A COMMUNITY OF CONSCIENCE, WE STAND TOGETHER AND FULLY SUPPORT THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO MIGRATE AND SEEK REFUGE, CITIZENSHIP, AND JUSTICE, AS WELL AS THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE NOT TO MIGRATE AND LIVE IN SAFE CONDITIONS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES OF ORIGIN.
AVOIDABLE KILLINGS HAVE HAPPENED AND
MANY MORE WILL TAKE PLACE WITHOUT A CHANGE IN LEGISLATION.
STATEMENT ON GUN VIOLENCE PRAY STUDY ACT
Pax Christi Texas, a Catholic voice for Social Justice, has responded to the recent tragic events in our country and calls for “common sense legislation.” Echoing the words of Pope Francis and Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and four chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we stand for legislation to address background checks and ban assault weapons. Not to act on this issue is a moral failure.
Let us not allow time dull our consciences. Many avoidable killings have happened and many more will take place without a national legislative change.
With life and death consequences for many, especially young people, we ask our leaders to consider the urgency of this matter and to represent us by acting to limit gun violence. We realize there is a political risk in taking a position on gun safety, but please consider the consequences of not taking action.
We call on all citizens, news media and pastors to join us and end gun violence.
PAX CHRISTI USA STATEMENT ON GUN VIOLENCE
On average in the United States, 100 people are killed every day due to gun violence, resulting in over 36,000 lives sacrificed annually and millions more forever traumatized in deference to the gun lobby. The disproportionality of gun violence is evidenced by Black people being ten times more likely to be murdered with a gun than their white counterparts, and women five times more likely to die if they are a victim of domestic violence when their abuser has access to a firearm. Individual and community trauma resulting from gun violence is devastating. As a community of conscience, we stand together to call for common sense legislation that reflects how much we love our children and each other; this includes such reasonable measures such as universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and the recognition that gun violence is a national public health emergency.
Arthur Dawes, Joyce Hall, David Atwood, Francis Skeith, Bob Rankin, Patricia Delgado
Members of the Pax Christi Texas State Board of Directors
MAY 25, 2022
PAXCHRISTIUSASTATEMENTSMEDIA STATEMENT: On the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas
Below is a media statement from Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, in response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Johnny’s reflections below reflect the various statements that Pax Christi USA has made in response to mass shootings and gun violence in the United States over the past 2+ decades, including last week’s statement on the shootings in Buffalo. Find many of those statements under the heading “Gun Violence” on our statements webpage here. Sadly, the calls for action in those statements still echo unanswered today.
Yesterday, 19 children and 2 adults were massacred while at school in Uvalde, Texas. I know, especially as a parent, that the devastation and grief of this cannot be overstated. I also know that we have been here before and that we will be here again.
In December 2012, I was tasked with writing the first draft of a statement in response to the mass shooting of 20 schoolchildren and 7 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I have written many more since. I don’t want to write another statement this time. This nation, our elected leaders, have had a decade since then (and in actuality, much longer) to address this madness and to demonstrate that the lives of our children are more precious to them than the campaign donations of the NRA.
Reading today that statement from December 2012 locates us in the exact same spot we were then and have been so many times since. The unimaginable happens over and over and over again and nothing changes. Except for the pain and loss of those most directly affected and their advocates, this system — this culture — continues to accept child sacrifice as a normal component of keeping the political and economic machine intact as-is. Pax Christi USA’s statement from 2012 called this “madness”, yet it is a madness that our elected officials eagerly accommodate, ready to exploit it for their own greed and power and satisfied they can keep it from reaching their own door.
Mitigating gun violence isn’t rocket science. Common sense, reasonable solutions exist and have been proposed and advocated for generations now, but to no avail. Pax Christi USA has advocated for such actions repeatedly without significant change taking place.
As people of faith, our stories often revolve around making a choice between blessing and curse, between that which gives life or that which cultivates death. Such a choice should be clear. Unfortunately, for those public servants who could put an end to this madness, it apparently isn’t.
Our work as Pax Christi USA continues. Dorothy Day once challenged us to understand the gospel as a call to “comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable”. In this moment of overwhelming grief for the families of those who lost their loved ones in Uvalde, let us hold them and their spirits tenderly, inviting their mourning and desperation to be ours as well, to carry this grief and loss with them. And let us refuse to support politicians who believe that certain lives are expendable; let us find ever more creative and provocative ways to jolt the consciences of those in power back into some semblance of humanity, capable of making decisions which assure no more Uvaldes, no more Buffalos, no more Atlantas, Pittsburghs, Orlandos, Las Vegases, Umpqua Community Colleges, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schools, Sandy Hook Elementary Schools or Columbines.
Pax Christi USA’s statement on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Pax Christi USA condemns the Russian invasion and bombardment of cities throughout Ukraine that commenced earlier today. As St. John Paul II said in 2003 in response to the build-up and subsequent war in Iraq, “War is always a defeat for humanity.” The invasion of Ukraine is a direct violation of international law. The death and destruction already unleashed has only frustrated the hope for a just resolution of differences. To continue this war will only undermine long-term peace for the region. War does not solve the historical and political challenges at the root of this conflict; war is not the vehicle for creating a just peace.
Pax Christi USA is particularly troubled by Russia’s heavy-handed allusions to its nuclear weapons arsenal and the implied threat of the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict. As explained by the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, such threats are prohibited by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and elevates the risk of a massive humanitarian catastrophe.
Pax Christi USA urges the international community to stand united against the invasion of Ukraine and in support of diplomacy and dialogue to bring this crisis to an end. We urge the United States and NATO to refrain from pursuing military responses and to pursue solutions that address the context and complexity of the root causes which gave rise to the crisis in the first place. It should not be lost that in addition to Russian aggression, the expansion of NATO with the proliferation of bases, the continued manufacturing of weapons of war, and the reliance on security upheld by military power has played a significant role in the events building up to this current crisis. This war is additional evidence of the failure of policies predicated on the threat of violence to deliver the peace and dignity the human family deserves.
We urge political leaders, the media and influential voices within the U.S. Catholic community to refuse to beat the drums of war and to not support efforts to justify U.S. or NATO military action nor increase the flow of arms into the conflict. Such a response will only assure that the current violence will spiral ever more deeply and make even more unlikely the possibilities for an end to this war through dialogue and diplomacy.
We implore members of the Pax Christi USA community, U.S. Catholics, and people of faith everywhere to join together in the day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine called for by Pope Francis on March 2, Ash Wednesday. We encourage our community to publicly vigil in support of peace on this day.
Our hearts are with all those in Ukraine who tremble in fear at the violence which has overturned their lives. Our hearts break for the losses already experienced, the suffering, displacement and death that cannot be erased. We stand with the people of Ukraine and all who are crying out for peace, and we join our voices to the plea of Pope Francis, “War, never again!”
Pax Christi USA’s 50th Anniversary National Conference, August 5-7, 2022! Christi USA: The National Catholic Peace Movement
Please check the following link for additional information: paxchristiusa.org
* Call for input on the Synodal Process/
Input from the San Antonio Community
* Summary of Pax Christi Social Justice Principles 2020
* Schedule of Executions and collaboration with the Texas Citizens Against the Death Penalty
"Living As A Synodal Church"
At this time, Pax Christi of Northern California is preparing questionnaires
for input across the nation. The questionnaires will be considered for
distribution in Texas and compiled, to be summarized on a national level.
Your input is welcomed.
For your consideration, the following has been submitted to the San
Antonio Pax Christi Community:
* Input from the San Antonio Community 2022
"1. When we speak of the Church, we are talking about all of us who, by our baptism, have an important role to play in continuing the movement that Jesus started-a movement dedicated to bringing about the Kingdom of God, which is grounded in social justice. The church includes its leadership (clergy, magisterium), but it is much more than that...it is all of us. Leadership roles in the church should be marked by a spirit of service, not authority, domination or clericalism.
2. We are called to be peacemakers, as individuals, as a worldwide community and as an institution. We make peace at all levels, not through violence or domination, but through empathy, listening, proclaiming and practicing justice. The Church has a wonderful and underused body of teaching on social justice, founded on the firm belief that every person, created in the image of God, possesses an inalienable human dignity. Would that those teachings become more familiar to all members of the community and form the basis for our actions, individually, communally and institutionally.
3. Racism has no place in the Church, because each person possesses inalienable human dignity. Movements based on so-called Christian nationalism are incompatible with scripture and with the life and teachings of Jesus. Fundamentalism, whether in the form of scriptural literalism, proof texting of scripture, rigid devotion to the magisterium or papacy only serves to divide the people of God, who come from all backgrounds and walks of life, and who are loved and accepted as they are unconditionally by God.
4. Recognizing the human dignity of each person calls us as followers of Jesus to be concerned with the needs of all. This concern includes acts of charity, but also examination of systems that bring about an inequitable distribution of economic benefits and resources. Unregulated capitalism exacerbates these inequities, and reasonable regulation by the state is appropriate to promote living wages and a reasonable standard of living for all. The earth has been given to all to minister to the needs of all.
5. While our priests have done and continue to do amazing work in the church, I believe the institution, by insisting on a celebate male clergy, has deprived the community of the gifts that married men, single and married women can offer as leaders of our church. Their life experience, which differs from that of celibate males, should be harnessed for the benefit of all members of the body who seek pastoral care and sacraments.
6. GLBTQI persons possess inalienable human dignity. The church, without further delay, should 1) listen to the life experience of GLBTQI persons, many of whom are living holy and sacrificial lives while laboring on the margins of the church and society, 2) stop removing openly GLBTQI church workers, teachers and ministry volunteers, 3) welcome openly GLBTQI persons into its communities and 4) reexamine its doctrines regarding human sexuality, many of which are based on science that is centuries old.
7. Capital punishment violates the inalienable human dignity of the person being executed. Human beings don't have the right to prematurely end the life of another human being and the church should say so publicly.
8. The church should advocate, cooperate and work for de-escalation of conflicts between nations and reduction of all kinds of weapons of war. Nuclear weapons represent a special threat and terror to the world, and the church should be at forefront of efforts to limit and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons."
Christopher Kohn 2/2022
"Peace is so elusive yet so yearned for -- especially in our new year of 2022. We pray for an end to all kinds of violence -- rhetoric that demonizes 'the other' and that makes political violence permissible. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and He teaches that 'Blessed are the peacemakers.' The Gospel, Pope Francis, and Catholic teaching all emphasize the essential importance of Peace. Pax Christi San Antonio is a living sign that all of us are called to work for Peace in our hearts and in our society!"
Fr. Michael DeGerolami, San Antonio, Texas 2/2022
" I would advocate for creating space for conversation and dialog in various areas including
1) health care for all
2) racism (acknowledging that it is a sin and need Gods grace and forgiveness)
3) recognizing that the African American community is raising significant issues that need to be made evident in other groups that have and still are high discriminated
4) same sex relationships and marriage, recognizing the shame that some faith oriented institutions place on them. Giving thanks for organization like Dignity that have provided that safe gospel oriented space
Rev. Darwin Huartson,
Lutheran Minister and Bereavement Counselor 2/2022
* Summary of Pax Christi Social Justice Principles 2020
There are many, many social justice issues, which at times find us overwhelmed and wishing we could be more effective. The Pax Christi principles will be listed here in summary and should you have an interest in addressing one or more in our meetings, please share your thoughts and resources.
Learn more of San Antonio Pax Christi and consider joining our monthly zoom educational gatherings. Also learn of more at paxchristiusa.org
Pax Christi Statement of Principles (Extracts from the election 2020)
Land Acknowledgement: We acknowledge the displacement of Indigenous peoples.
Acknowledgement of the Legacy of Slavery: We recognize the profiteering and the continuing to benefit.
Acknowledgement of the Role of the Catholic Church: We acknowledge and repent for the sins of anti-Black racism, enslavement and segregation.
On Racial Justice: Violence inherent in systemic racism is an affront to the God who creates.
On (Im)migration: Migrants and refugees are fleeing poverty, violence, and environmental devastation. We support refuge, citizenship and justice.
On Climate Change: We support action on a condition which fuels poverty, food insecurity, displacement and violence.
On Militarism: We support the abolition of nuclear weapons, the funding of nonviolent solutions to conflict.
On Palestine: We support pressure of the leaders of Israel toward a just peace.
Covid-19: We support people of color, the elderly, people with disabilities.
Healthcare: We support a universal healthcare system.
LGBTQ+ Equality: We affirm the right to equality and an end to criminalization.
Mass Incarceration and the Death Penalty: We support restorative justice practices and an end to the death penalty.
On Education: We support an educational system which supports a historically accurate curricula.
Homelessness and Housing: We support affordable and accessible housing.
Gun Violence: We support reasonable measures and universal background checks.
On Labor: We support the dignity in all work, fair wages, and the ability to join unions.
The complete reference to the Principles are located at:
* Schedule of Executions in Texas
"We are deeply troubled that the State of Texas is scheduled to execute three people in March and April, including an 81-year-old man who has spent three decades on death row and a Mexican-
Anti-Nuclear Weapons Banners: Please take a look at the picture of the banner in the attachment. It refers to an international treaty that the Holy See has ratified. Pax Christi Dallas is working with the Nuclear Free World committee for the Dallas Peace and Justice Center to find good places in Texas to put them for the month of January--high traffic areas near a traffic light or stop sign where cars have to stop so then the drivers will have a chance to read them. In the bottom corners you will see the website link to ICAN (www.icanw.org) so that folks can go there and finds lots of information. ICAN is the International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and won the Nobel Peace Prize about a year ago. For a banner, contact Joyce Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org
What really happens to the used clothing you donate? Read this revelatory article by Anna deSouza: https://www.rd.com/article/what-happens-used-clothing-donations/
Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio was the first local organization to endorse this bill, which has also been endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. See https://mail.yahoo.com/d/folders/1/messages/AL3K2mRHejHBX9ewnwO9CKEAaFY
The report at: https://tcadp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Texas-Death-Penalty-Developments-in-2020-FINAL.pdf
Watch Pax Christi USA’s Michelle Sherman, interviewed in the “Young Peacebuilders” series of Pax Christi International: https://paxchristiusa.org/2020/12/16/watch-pax-christi-usas-michelle-sherman-featured-on-young-peacebuilders-series/
Executive Director, Hope Border Institute
Sr. Norma Pimentel, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley
Access the webinar at: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/webinars/border-realities-and-migrant-protection-webinar/
Online Resource for families or small groups:
If you’re needing some social interaction with depth, more than just listening to zoom webinars, longing for the social time that used to happen before and after Mass, consider using the Maryknoll Weekly Reflection Guides. Gather as family or small group and use these guides in Facetime, Skype, Zoom etc. This an easy online structure with prayer, an introductory theme, a link to the Sunday Readings and some reflection questions to guide group conversation. Using the SeeJudgeAct methodology, you will be led as a group to consider where, in light of the shared reflection, the Spirit is calling you this week. The Global Solidarity charism of the Maryknoll family will feed you spiritually for these challenging times. Find the Guides in both Spanish and English at: