November, 2018

On the Road to Peace

A Monthly Newsletter from Fr. John

November 2018

Dear friends, Blessings of peace! After 16 years in New Mexico, I have moved to California, to a little house on the ocean, on the road to Big Sur, part of the Diocese of Monterey.

My house on the mesa near Galisteo, New Mexico, had become too difficult to live in. Plus, I’ve been planning for years to move to California to help out with the diocese. When I left the Jesuits, my friend the late Bishop Richard Garcia asked me to join the diocese and to spend the rest of my days here and I agreed.

The move down the Galisteo mountain was difficult, because the deteriorated dirt road leads down two steep hills along a towering cliff. It was dangerous, and a storm was approaching, but friends helped me move my things and I made it safe and sound.

I moved into a casita right by the ocean along the legendary Pacific Coast Highway near Cambria. The house is nestled among some eucalyptus trees and doesn’t have TV, Wifi, phone, heat or drinking water, but lots of peace and quiet, and it’s a stone’s throw from the ocean, where I now walk each day.

With this move, I end one chapter and start another in my life adventure. I moved to New Mexico in 2002 just after my difficult experiences in New York City at Ground Zero, and served several parishes in the Northeast NM and start Pax Christi New Mexico. I came to love the landscape and the people of New Mexico, especially my house on the mesa, which I described in detail in my book, They Will Inherit the Earth.

Each year, I helped lead a peace vigil in Los Alamos to mark the Hiroshima/Nagasaki anniversary, and I continue to grieve the ongoing development of nuclear weapons and the complicity of the church in their production. I’ll be back each August, and we’re already planning a national Campaign Nonviolence conference in Albuquerque, August 7-8, 2020, and peace vigils in Los Alamos on August 6 and 9, 2020, the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima.

California, too, is beautiful, but of course it has terrible social problems, including nuclear weapons, rampant militarism, the death penalty, racism, poverty, and greed—and the devastating wildfires.

The coastline, however, is one of the world’s most stunning and it’s a blessing and a privilege to dwell along the rocks, the crashing waves, the gulls and sandpipers, seals and sea lions. Here, as in New Mexico, creation blesses me with the gift of peace, and encourages me to stand up publicly for peace—in a world of war.

As I start my new journey, please pray for me that I will be faithful to the gift of peace, as I pray for you and all that we may disarm our hearts, embrace one another, and welcome God’s reign of justice and peace here on earth now more than ever. God bless you all!

–Fr. John