Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week, culminating in the sacred Triduum, we will re-live and deepen our participation in the paschal mystery: Christ’s passion, death, and rising. We will renew our commitment to nonviolent love–the heart of this Easter way of living. We will be confronted again with the ‘dangerous memory of Jesus of Nazareth’: that he was not put to death because he was kind or personally compassionate. He was crucified because he confronted systemic violence in his culture and in the religious establishment of his time. But, instead of telling his followers to take up their swords, he chose the path of the Suffering Servant—the transforming power of nonviolent love.
For the next three years, Gospel Nonviolence is one of three focus areas in AUSCP. Given the global crisis we are now facing in Ukraine, the renewed threat of nuclear weapons, the structural sin of militarism, eco-justice, poverty, racism, xenophobia, sexism, gender violence, and patriarchy, the challenge of peace-making is an urgent call to each of us and our communities of faith.
The following reflects some of our efforts in our core working group to respond to this call during the last months and in the future. You are an integral part of these tasks. We ask you to please continue to walk with us and work with us:
Eucharist of Gospel Nonviolence (EGNV). The Gospel Nonviolence Working Group (GNV) has composed, consulted, and edited this Eucharistic prayer for the last six months.
- The EGNV is available on the AUSCP website with the approval and support of the Leadership Team.
- We have submitted it to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican and to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for their consideration and potential approval.
- We have mailed hard copies to 550 members of the AUSCP, including a background rationale.
- The spring letter from AUSCP to all US Bishops will include copies of EGNV with the background rationale and a request for their consideration and support.
CNI, Pax Christi translations of EGNV. John Heagle is a member of the Catholic Nonviolent Initiative (CNI). When he shared the EGNV with these and other groups, there was immediate enthusiasm, support, and a desire to promote it internationally. We are attaching copies of their Spanish, French, and International English translations.
Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament. Archbishop Wester’s historic, prophetic pastoral letter (https://archdiosf.org/living-in-the-light-of-christs-peace) is also a primary focus of GNV. Please read it, and share it with other priests, parish social concerns groups, and the wider community. In addition, Bernie Survil has designed a website (see below) to promote active support. Please sign this petition and invite bishops, clergy, and the baptized priests of God to do the same!
Ongoing Work of GNV. Be sure to look up and sign the following petitions. These actions that you can take now:
- PNC Bank to stop financing companies and corporations that build parts for nuclear weapons: http://www.abetterpncbnk.org/.
- Support for Archbishop Wester Pastoral Letter: http://www.NoNukesWesterSpeaksForUs.org. Why not also write a personal thank you to him (we did!) His email: email@example.com. We are also negotiating to have AB Wester lead a webinar for AUSCP and several other peace groups. Stay tuned.
- Bishop Anthony Taylor’s Ash Wednesday Letter. Attached is a letter that models gospel nonviolence from the bishop of Little Rock, AK. Why not can send it to your bishop (or pastor, parish, or whomever), and write Bishop Taylor a thank you email (we did!). His email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Petition to pursue Ben Salmon’s process of canonization: https://www.bensalmon.org/
June Assembly in Baltimore. We have been invited to present one of the colloquia at this gathering, tentatively entitled Gospel Nonviolence: Light in the Midst of Darkness. We will also be reporting on the EGNV and sharing this project (and others) at a promotional table. Please consider registering for the Assembly on the AUSP website if you have not already done so.
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal being their total elimination. This is another GNV project. We invite you to join us. As of 11 April 2022, the TPNW has 60 states parties, while 29 states have signed but not yet ratified. Thus, 89 states (or 45% of all states) are either states parties or signatories to the Treaty. This means that we are approaching a situation where half of all international states will have accepted binding obligations in international law under the TPNW. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the US and the other eight countries that have nuclear weapons have refused to sign or ratify this treaty. The Vatican was the first to sign this document. How do we bring about more awareness, commitment, and action in the US Church for this prophetic movement?
The Consequences and Impact of War on Children (GNV sponsored webinar on Sunday, March 27, 2022). The video of this webinar is posted on the AUSCP website. In this time, when so many children are suffering from violent conflict in Ukraine and around the world, carve out some time to view this remarkable reflection. A peace activist and author, Kathy Kelly made over two dozen trips to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2019, living with young Afghan Peace Volunteers in a working-class neighborhood in Kabul. She learned about conditions in Afghanistan through encounters with mothers and children, many of whom were directly affected by war. Likewise, she traveled to Iraq many times to deal with the sanctions imposed on Iraq. Her topic rises from actual lived experience with the people.
Gospel Nonviolence Resources. Please take time to explore the websites of the growing number of peace groups. Their work, publications, and actions are ways to grow awareness and take action on behalf of peace. Some of these groups include:
- Pax Christi,
- Catholic Nonviolent Initiative (CNI),
- Pace e Bene,
- Center for Christian Nonviolence (Fr. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy),
- Twin Cities Nonviolent (lead by our own Harry Bury),
- Catholics Against Militarism (CAM),
- TPNW (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons),
- Nonviolent Peace Force,
- Kids for Peace Global,
- Franciscan Action Network (FAN),
- The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC).
Thank you for what you have done and are doing to pursue Gospel Nonviolence. We are genuinely grateful for your commitment and collaborative spirit.
Blessed Triduum and Easter Season,
John Heagle, for the Gospel Nonviolence Working Group, AUSCP