Message from Pax Christi Executive Director – Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN

Pax Christi USA
Dear Pax Christi USA Member,
As a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN), I am humbled to join the ranks of the  outstanding leaders who have served as executive director of Pax Christi USA. I look forward to the challenge and to working with you as we approach the 40th anniversary of the Catholic peace movement in the United States.

Just as PCUSA strives to create a world that reflects the Peace of Christ by witnessing to the Christian call of nonviolence, the SNDdeN community stands in solidarity with Pax Christi. We are partners and supporters and share a common spirit and charism with which I am very familiar and embrace. Since the founding of our community, we have worked in various ways to bring about God’s kingdom of justice, love and peace through education. The threat of war with the use of weapons of mass destruction has caused us to unite with other groups in the Church to work for peace and for nonviolent solutions. Like PCUSA, the SNDdeN community is opposed to war and the preparation for war, and we too are known to frequently send letters to Congress and the media protesting the violence of the war on terrorism and the war at home. In short, I am a Pax Christi USA member and am involved in working for peace with justice. There is much to do and there are many challenges facing us as an organization. Your patience and support are appreciated.

Throughout the Advent and Christmas season, there is good cause to reflect on the gift of life and the many gifts God has sent our way via people from all over the world who are our friends, colleagues and neighbors. By the same token, Pax Christi has been sent young people whom we cannot afford to ignore or underestimate as an invaluable gift to the peace movement. As we age and a new generation is called to be peacemakers, there are young people who are educated and are well-formed, and believe in and seek a future that includes living in a just and nonviolent world. They await our invitation.

The foundress of my community, St. Julie Billiart, reminds us that we must strive to “obtain the peace and tranquility of nations, the calm happiness of families, and a spirit of content among the people.” At this time, our country and the world need our strong voice. The peace movement in the United States is called to be prophetic and relevant for the times. A renewed and more youthful and culturally diverse Pax Christi can assure that the next 40 years are as productive and prophetic as the last 40. It is my prayer that during my tenure, Pax Christi’s legacy will continue and move us forward in educating and transforming minds and hearts for peace with justice. There are many who seek us and who wait for truth and wisdom and who want “to do right.”

As peacemakers we know that consumerism keeps many from recognizing that peoples around the  world suffer from the violence of war and the constant threat of war. At home Americans are also victims as unemployment remains high, young people are priced out of college, and home foreclosures have left families homeless. In general, families are not at peace, especially among people of color who experience higher levels of unemployment and poverty, racism and discrimination. In this newsletter you will find helpful resources related to peace with justice to share with your communities. You will find news and updates from around the nation, Tony Magliano’s article on Occupy Wall Street,  highlights from the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace statement and more. I especially want to bring to your attention the reflection for New Year’s Day found on page seven, written by former PCUSA National Council member and past chair of the Global Restoration Committee Diane Lopez Hughes.

Pax Christi USA strives, as do the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, to awaken in ourselves and in those with whom we work a conscience which recognizes sin in its individual and social manifestations. We commit ourselves to act for justice which makes real and credible the message of the gospel. As we enjoy this beautiful season, we give thanks for your generous gifts which serve the Catholic peace movement in the United States. Please continue to generously support the peace efforts of Pax Christi USA. There are many ways to contribute and options can be found in the newsletter and on our website. Your continued generosity is much appreciated, and I ask that you consider making a special gift to further our work for peace and justice.

In Christ’s peace,
Sister Patricia J. Chappell, SNDdeN
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

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