October, 2014

As you may know, earlier this year, I left the Jesuits. This month, I officially joined the Diocese of Monterey, California, and received my priestly “faculties” from the bishop. I will continue to be based in New Mexico but occasionally help out with parishes there, as well as continue to speak and write about the Gospel of peace.

It’s been a long journey for me. For years, the Jesuit provincials were ordering me to stop my work for peace and justice, and telling me that I would have to teach high school religion for the rest of my life. I might have done that, but the provincials kept pushing me to leave the Order. As I saw up close how the U.S. Jesuit leadership has abandoned their commitment to justice and become more involved in the big business of war with their universities, I decided I had to leave.

I thank the bishop of Monterey and new friends in the diocese for welcoming me and helping me to carry on my work for peace and justice as a priest. Please continue to pray for me and my peace ministry.

Meanwhile, last month’s historic Climate March in New York City was exhilarating! 400,000 people crowded the streets. But Campaign Nonviolence was equally exciting. Over 235 actions, marches and events across the U.S.A. during the week of Sept. 21st, against war, poverty and environmental destruction, and for a new culture of peace and nonviolence. It was such an amazing week that we’ve decided to do it again next year! Please start your plans now to organize actions in your local community. Check out: www.campaignnonviolence.org.

This month, we released my first audiobook, a five cd, box set recording of me reading my recent book, The Nonviolent Life, about the way of nonviolence. All proceeds go to support Campaign Nonviolence. Please order a copy for yourself and one for someone you know as a Christmas present. It will help support our work. To order, email info@paceebene.org or call 510-268-8765.

I’m now hitting the road again to give talks around the country, but already working to organize next year’s National Campaign Nonviolence Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Hilton Hotel, on August 7-8, 2015. Speakers include Rev. Jim Lawson, Prof. Erica Chenoweth, Kathy Kelly, Medea Benjamin, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Ken Butigan, Kit Evans and others. On Thursday Aug. 6th, we will have our annual peace vigil at Los Alamos, N.M. to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima. We will go back to Los Alamos on Sunday Aug. 9th for the Nagasaki anniversary. Please mark your calendars, reserve a hotel, and plan to join us next summer in beautiful New Mexico.

Thank you for all you do for justice, disarmament and peace, for practicing nonviolence, and following Jesus on the road to peace. In this time of permanent war, staggering poverty, environmental destruction, corporate greed and ongoing nuclear weapons production, we are still called by the God of peace to fulfill our vocation as public peacemakers, to point a way forward to a new culture of peace and nonviolence. May the God of peace bless our peacemaking journey!

Thank you for all your support for my work for peace! Please keep me in your good prayers. Sending blessings of peace, hope and love to everyone, Fr. John