Friday, January 6, 2012

The Work of Christmas Begins – Now!

The Work of Christmas Begins – Now!

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A common voice for Justice and Peace
"Like me, you were late in coming. 

The shepherds were here long before. Even the cattle, they had joined the chorus of angels before you were on your way. 

How laboriously you came, taking sights and calculating where the shepherds had run barefoot. You came at length to the final stage of your pilgrimage and the great star stood still above you, and what did you do? 

You stopped to call on King Herod with a deadly exchange of compliments which there began that unending war of mobs and magistrates against the innocent; still, you came and were not turned away. 

You, too, found room before the manger. 

Your gifts were not exactly needed, but they were accepted and put carefully by, for they were brought with love. 

In that new order of charity that had just come to life, there was room for you, too. 

You were my special patrons and the patrons of all late comers, of all who have a tedious journey to make to the obscure truth, of all who are confused with knowledge and speculation, of all through politeness, make themselves partners in guilt, of all who stand in danger by reason of their talent. For him, who did not reject your curious gifts, pray always for all the learned, the oblique, the delegate. Let them not quite be forgotten at the throne of God when the end comes."


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Amid War, Following Yonder Star Towards Peace 

by Kathy Kelly 

Beneath our flat, here in Kabul, wedding guests crowded into a restaurant and celebrated throughout the night. Guests sounded joyful and the music, mostly disco, thumped loudly. When the regular call to prayer sounded out at 5:20 a.m., the sounds seemed to collide in an odd cacophony, making all music indistinguishable. I smiled, remembering the prayer call's durable exhortation to live in peace, heard worldwide for centuries, and went back to sleep. 


Through most of my life, I've found it easy to resonate with the ringing and beautiful Christmas narrative found in the Gospel of Luke, but less so with that jangling discord with which westerners are so familiar—the annual collision between (on the one hand) the orgy of gift-purchasing and gift-consumption surrounding the holiday and the the sweeter, simpler proclamations of peace on earth heralded by the newborn's arrival. I've found myself quite surprisingly happy to spend many Christmases either in U.S. jails or among Muslims living in places like Bosnia, Iraq, Jordan and now Afghanistan. My hosts and friends in these places have been people who are enduring wars or fleeing wars, including, as in the case of U.S. jails, a war against the poor in the United States. 

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Kathy Kelly, a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Kathy Kelly's email is 

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

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A new year of nonviolence 

By John Dear

"When a person claims to be nonviolent, he is expected not to be angry with one who has injured him," Gandhi wrote. "He will not wish him harm. He will wish him well. He will not swear at him. He will not cause him any physical hurt. He will put up with all the injury to which he is subjected by the wrongdoer. Thus nonviolence is complete innocence." 

Report on the Holy Innocents Faith and Resistance Retreat in Washington, D.C.

by Art Laffin

Focusing on the theme: LET ALL THE WORLD'S CHILDREN LIVE--REMEMBER THE MASSACRED CHILDREN AND CREATE THE BELOVED COMMUNITY IN A DISARMED WORLD, over 60 people from the Atlantic and Southern Life Communities, and the New Jerusalem Community in Philadelphia, gathered in Washington, D.C. from December 27-30 for the annual Holy Innocents Faith and Resistance retreat. The retreat included a moving ritual on the theme of the retreat, several compelling panels with parents and children reflecting on their experience living in Catholic Worker and resistance communities, prayerful reflection and liturgy, three nonviolent actions, and a spirited talent show.

On December 28, the feast commemorating the slaughter of the holy innocents in Bethlehem ordered by King Herod, the community held an early morning witness outside the Pentagon metro entrance. Displaying a small mock drone warplane, eleven people staged a "die-in" to represent children and numerous others who have been murdered by U.S. Drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere. They were arrested and charged with failure to obey a lawful order and released several hours later with a February 17 court date.* Following the arrests, as hundreds of military and civilian workers streamed into the Pentagon, the remainder of the community held a prayer service in the fenced-off area outside the Pentagon metro known as the "free speech" or "protest zone." 

On December 29, the community held a noon-time witness in front of the White House. Using the "mic-check" form of speaking that is practiced by the Occupy Movement, the witness included a reading of the massacre of the holy innocents (Mt. 2: 13-18), an account of how U.S. Drone warplanes are murdering innocents today, a "die-in" using a mock drone warplane, an offering of peace, justice and nonviolence resolutions for the New Year, and a creative spirit-led dance with people singing "Down By the Riverside." This same action was repeated again on December 30 at the White House with one addition. Toward the end of the witness, streamers with statements of how Drones can be transformed to serve life were placed on the mock drone warplane by adults and children. The retreat concluded with a closing circle at the anti-nuclear/anti-war vigil site across from the White House that was started by the late William Thomas and where Conception has vigiled for the last thirty years. 

Let us continue to pray with and for each other in this New Year as we conspire to create the Beloved Community. For with God and each other all things are possible! 

*Those arrested at the Pentagon were:

Bill Frankel-Streit, Little Flower Catholic Worker in Virginia
Amber Mason, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

Kevin Mason, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

Kathy Boylan, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

Clare Grady, Ithaca Catholic Worker

Marie Grady-DeMott, Ithaca Catholic Worker

Steve Woolford, Silk Hope (N.C.) Catholic Worker

Liz McAlister, Jonah House

Sr. Margaret McKenna, New Jerusalem Community

Rosemary Thompson, Baltimore peace activist

Joan Wages, Peace activist from Central Virginia

Witness Against Torture 

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January 11, 2012 marks the ten year anniversary of Guantanamo; and it still serves as a dark reminder of the "War on Terror's" legacy of torture, injustice, and fear. Today, under the Obama Administration, 171 men remain indefinitely and illegally detained in that prison, many of whom are cleared for release but languish because of a lack of political leadership and will. Among those in prison are men who have petitioned the United States courts regarding their detention and won their habeas cases. Yet these free men remain at Guantanamo. 

We have been told since Guantanamo opened in 2002 that it held "the worst of the worst." But of the 779 men who have been detained at Guantanamo over the past nine years, less than 5% have or will face terrorist-related charges. Such fear-mongering is the fuel for the "war on terror" and the source of hate perpetuated against our Muslim sisters and brothers. We say no more. We are reminded of the words of Dr. King: "Only perfect love casts out fear." And so it is with that spirit that we gather in Washington, D.C. to protest the injustice and inhumanity of Guantanamo, Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and the war on terror policies such as indefinite detention. Witness Against Torture is planning a fast and vigil from January 2 through January 12, 2012 for a fourth consecutive year. We continue to demand justice and an end to torture for the men at Guantanamo, Bagram and other U.S. detention facilities. 

What: Be part of a human chain between the White House and the Capitol in protest of the 10th anniversary of the Guantánamo prison and the human rights violations it represents, including torture, detention without charge, unfair trials, Islamophobia, and impunity for crimes by US government officials. 

When: Noon – 2PM Eastern on January 11, 2012 – the 10th anniversary 

Where: Gather at Lafayette Square at Noon, across from the White House. We'll start with a rally in front of the White House and then form a human chain down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. 

Note: Please wear orange or black and bring signs that say "No Guantánamo. No Torture. No Excuses!" 


The Rev. Dr. James Forbes (right), senior pastor emeritus of Riverside Church in New York City, will deliver the sermon. He will be joined in the pulpit by unemployed workers, the Rev. Paul Sherry, former president of the United Church of Christ and national coordinator of Faith Advocates for Jobs and Dr. Wallace Smith, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church.

photo_mlkThe famed Shiloh Baptist Church Choir, directed by Thomas Tyler, will provide the music for the service. It will feature Buddhist drummers and a litany from an array of interfaith leaders. A goodwill offering will be taken during the service.
As Dr. King said: "Our emphasis must turn…to putting people to work...When they are placed in this position, they can then examine how to use their creative energies for the social good." 

For more information about the service, contact James Parks at (773)456-9739.

Faith Advocates for Jobs is a campaign initiated by Interfaith Worker Justice and 40 other organizations to address the severe suffering endured by millions of unemployed workers.

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Video: The Revolution is Love
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Vigil to End the Death Penalty with Viva House, Jonah House, & Murphy Initiative 

Time: 5-6 P.M.

Location: Supermax Prison @ Madison Street and Fallsway, Downtown Baltimore

John Dear's New Book: "Lazarus, Come Forth!"

Circles of Contemplation "Living the Questions"
Monday Evenings 7:30-9pm @ Emmanuel Monastery
Jan. 9, 2012
Feb. 6, 2012
March 5, 2012
May 7, 2012
June 4, 2012

Prisoners of Conscience 

Migrant Christ Blog

Walk to Emmaus 3

The Murphy Initiative and St. Mary's Church of the Assumption present: The Handel Choir of Baltimore with  Melinda O'Neal, conductor 

January 29, 2012, 4:00 p.m. 
St. Mary's Church of the Assumption

33rd Annual Archdiocesan Social Ministry Convocation Saturday, March 3, 2012 
8:00 am–3:30 pm Seton Keough High School

St. Joan of Arc with St. Michael the Archangel by Fr. William McNichols Icons at St. Andrei Rublev Icons

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