This Advent, support the work of Pax Christi International, a message from Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of the Philippines

 

What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'" (from the gospel of Mark, First Sunday of Advent)

I am writing to you from the Philippines to ask for your support for our global Catholic peace movement. I am also writing from having just recently attended the Pax Christi International consultation with member organisations in the Asia-Pacific region, entitled, “Towards Sustainable Peace through Active Nonviolence in Asia and the Pacific”. The inspiration provided by the deep and meaningful work of justice and peace by Pax Christi International member organisations throughout the region was palpable.

As I listened and participated in the workshops and visits that we had here in the Philippines, I found myself looking both backward and forward.

I pondered the historical importance of Pax Christi here in the Philippines. On the Wednesday of our week-long consultation, we visited the Bantayog ng mga Bayani memorial, where we saw the name of Sr. Christine Tan, a co-founder of Pax Christi Pilipinas and a hero of the People Power revolution that ousted Marcos’s dictatorship, engraved on a wall of remembrance. Fr. Paul Lansu, Senior Policy Advisor for Pax Christi International, reminded us of Sr. Christine’s work with Pax Christi and her presence in 1987 at an international conference of Pax Christi leaders.

I was reminded too of the strong leadership of women within Pax Christi Pilipinas, from Loreta Castro and her ground-breaking work in peace education to our current president Jasmin Nario-Galace and her leadership of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Women’s Network. From the witness of Sr. Christine during the turbulent years of Marcos’s regime through today, Pax Christi has blessed the Philippines with its commitment to nonviolence and justice.   

These are difficult times in the Philippines as our churches respond to the trauma of drugs in our communities and the extrajudicial killings of drug users that have shattered many families. But I see hope for our future too. We had two young women at the consultation, Karissa and Emily, active in Pax Christi at Miriam College, who encouraged our participation in the #WordsOverBullets campaign, raising awareness of the importance of preventing and reducing armed violence to achieve sustainable development. And I am excited and hopeful for our future as we affirmed the collaborative spirit of all of the member organisations in the region, from Australia and Myanmar to Japan and India, sharing good practices of building peace on the ground.

This is why the one-word ending from the reading in Mark that first Sunday of Advent caught my eye. “Watch!” Jesus tells us. Watch what is happening. Watch what Pope Francis is doing for our church & the world. Watch what we are doing together as Pax Christi to bring peace & justice to our world.

To continue this work, we need your support. That is why I am asking if you will please mark this season of Advent by supporting our appeal this year.

As we prepare to welcome the Prince of Peace, I hope you’ll join me in supporting the work we do together—here in the Philippines and around the world—acting nonviolently to bring about peace and justice.

If you have already given an Advent gift to Pax Christi, we thank you very much for your generous support. And thank you for all you do for our movement. May the blessing of this holy season be with you and all those you hold dear.

In peace,

Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J.
Board Member of Pax Christi International

 

Miriam College, Loreta Castro, Jasmin Nario-Galace, Sr Christine Tan, Advent, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Asia-Pacific, Philippines, Pax Christi Pilipinas.