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Pax Christi peacemaking in Oxford

Pax Christi's Executive with Bishop Malcolm McMahon

Pax Christi's Executive with Bishop Malcolm McMahon

Around 80 members of Pax Christi, the Catholic peace organisation, attended its Annual Meeting at Blackfriars in Oxford on Saturday, 19 June. They heard youth worker Matt Jeziorski report that nearly 850 young people have attended Pax Christi peace education workshops this year and that there will be more outreach with university students over the coming months. Pax Christi is involved in the Greenbelt festival at the end of August, and the papal visit in September is being seen as an opportunity to launch new youth initiatives. Reporting on publications, Valerie Flessati announced a new leaflet ‘Nonviolence works’ giving 60 examples of where nonviolence has been used successfully to solve disputes without resorting to violence. There is also a new Pax Christi Impact Issue Sheet looking at young people and the armed forces.
Pax Christi’s General Secretary Pat Gaffney spoke of resources produced to promote prayer and action for peace in the Middle East. She was concerned that the recent Kairos document from Palestine, produced by Christian Palestinians, appeared to have “fallen on deaf ears”. Pax Christi has organised a trip to Palestine 1-8 November with 14 places still available. The aim of the trip is to visit the places associated with the life of Jesus and also to meet with those who struggle today to live in the Holy Land. Based in Bethlehem, the visit will also involve meeting Israeli and Palestinian justice & peace organisations and Pax Christi partners.

Bruce Kent, a vice-chair of Pax Christi, expressed deep regret at the “total failure” of the latest review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York, which concluded at the end of May. He felt that religious and other press could have done more to advertise the conference and make people more aware of its importance. He and many other members felt there should be energetic campaigning to stop the renewal of Trident, Britain’s sea-based nuclear weapons system, which is likely to cost in the region of £70 billion. 
A Mass to conclude the day was celebrated by Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Bishop of Nottingham and President of Pax Christi UK. He warmly thanked Pax Christi’s out-going chair, Stewart Hemsley, for “his 120 percent commitment”, and welcomed the new chair Ann Dodd. Active Pax Christi members who have died over the past year were remembered, including Fr Pat Davies and Kathy Wicks from Westminster Justice and Peace and Fr Giovanni Scudiero who ran Pax Christi’s website for a number of years.