June, 2015

Dear Friends,


“These many beautiful years cannot be lived again,” Daniel Berrigan wrote in 1969, at the height of his resistance against the Vietnam War. “But they are compounded in my own flesh and spirit, and I take them, in true measure, with me toward whatever lies ahead.”

These days, I feel exactly the same way. I don’t know where any of this work for peace and nonviolence is leading, but I take them, in true measure, with me toward whatever lies ahead.

These last weeks have been particularly exhilarating. My pilgrimage to El Salvador was one of the greatest of my life. With my friend Robert Ellsberg, I visited many friends, including liberation theologians Jon Sobrino and Gustavo Gutierrez, and attended the Mass of beatification for Archbishop Oscar Romero with over 350,000 people.

The city of San Salvador was closed down and everyone stood together for five hours in the hot sun before the 3 hour Mass finally started. When the beatification was announced, suddenly, a full rainbow appeared in a bright circle around the sun, straight above in the clear sky, a rare full corona. It was a miracle, as if the heavens themselves were rejoicing in Romero.

The next day I concelebrated the mass at the grave of Archbishop Romero in the basement of the Cathedral before one thousand leaders from all the national campesino groups. What a blessing!

Then I went to Louisville, Kentucky to speak at the Merton conference for the centenary of Thomas Merton about my new book, Thomas Merton Peacemaker. What a great experience! The speakers—Jim Finlay, Bryan Massingale, Archbishop Rowan Williams and Christine Bochen—were fabulous. Very inspiring.

Then I drove to Chicago to visit with my friend actor John Cusack, who played Brian Wilson in the recently released great movie, “Love and Mercy,” and was about to start shooting Spike Lee’s film “Chiraq.” John is playing an activist priest, and I gave him some suggestions. We also spoke on skype with the great author Arundhati Roy, live from New Delhi. I’m hoping to help her with a new book about nuclear weapons!

As I write this, I’m preparing to fly to Germany for a week of lectures in churches across the country. I’m still working hard on our upcoming Campaign Nonviolence national conference, and our peace vigils at Los Alamos for the 70th anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 6-9th. We’re also organizing a week of demonstrations across the U.S. for the week of Sept. 21st. Please join us! Check out www.campaignnonviolence.org.

These days, as we try to follow the nonviolent Jesus on the road to peace, we keep doing what we can to resist war, poverty, racism, sexism, nuclear weapons, environmental destruction and violence, to uphold God’s reign of nonviolence. We try our best to be

May you fulfill your peacemaking vocation, and spread the blessing of peace far and wide. Keep me in your good prayers!

–Fr. John