The national election is drawing near, and the world’s violence continues to rage, but we continue our work for peace and nonviolence.This month, we hold our Campaign Nonviolence national week of action, September 18-26, and we have at this point, over 530 events and actions planned across the U.S.A., covering every state, and including 16 other nations. This is an amazing, incredible accomplishmentâ€”a grassroots movement springing up to connect the dots between all the issues of violence and to call for a new culture of nonviolence. Please check out our work, especially the detailed list of every action, at www.campaignnonviolence.org. I hope you can attend an event near you, or better yet, organize one of your own!
Meanwhile, my friends and I continue to organize and work with the Vatican on behalf of an encyclical on nonviolence by Pope Francis. We were thrilled to hear the official announcement recently that Pope Francis’ January 1st World Day of Peace message will be about nonviolence. This will be the first official statement on nonviolence in the history of the Catholic Church. I think it comes as a direct result of our conference last April in the Vatican. Please read more about the conference and our statement at www.nonviolencejustpeace.net. And please pray with me that God will inspire the Pope to write a strong encyclical calling for the abolition of the just war theory and a full return to Jesus’ way of peace and nonviolence.
This fall, I hit the road to talk about peace and nonviolence all over the country, beginning with Masses at the mission church in Yosemite National Park, then talks as part of Campaign Nonviolence week in Wilmington, Delaware; Washington, D.C.; and Manchester, Vermont. Then I will attend the annual School of the Americas protest, this time in Nogales, Arizona and Mexico; as well as speak at the Pax Christi gathering in South Dakota, the Lutheran Church gathering in Orlando, Florida, and a church gathering in Albuquerque.
I’m holding a weekend retreat on “Thomas Merton’s Lessons of Peace” at the Kirkridge Retreat Center, October 28-30, near East Stroudsburg, PA, and invite everyone to join us if you can. Please visit www.kirkridge.org to register. Also, I’m hosting a four week online web class, also called “Thomas Merton’s Lessons of Peace,” with videos and reflections (based on my recent book, “Thomas Merton Peacemaker,”) through the ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. To register, please visit www.monasteriesoftheheart.org. So far we have over two hundred students registered. Please join us for this great events.
In early November, I’ll give a talk on my friend Daniel Berrigan at the Call to Action National Conference, which is being held for the first time in Albuquerque. I am Dan’s literary executor, and we have now officially launched the Daniel Berrigan Literary Estate, which means, I’ve also been working to keep Dan’s books in publication, answer inquiries from publishers and filmmakers, and sort through the rights of his material. Next year, I’m pleased to report, there will be a national conference on Dan in San Antonio, Texas.
I encourage all my friends and readers to stay centered in the peace of Christ, to practice the nonviolence of Christ, to keep our eyes and hearts on Christ, and to do what we can to welcome Christ’s reign of nonviolence here and now in the world. This is what we are called to do in these difficult times, come what may.
May Christ our life and peace bless you abundantly. Sincerely yours,