Pax Christi International is a Catholic peace movement with 120 member organisations worldwide. They promote peace, respect of human rights, justice and peace. The Columbans are proud supporters of the organisation and are looking forward to joining them to celebrate Peace Sunday on 17th January 2021.

The National President of Pax Christi England and Wales, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, has written to all parish priests in England and Wales to urge them to mark Peace Sunday on 17 January. He feels, “the Christian message of peace, through reconciliation, justice and nonviolence, can offer hope and direction in these times.” He directs parishes to Pax Christi resources, such as prayers, homily notes, video clips and activity materials, which are available from its website. All are based around the message from Pope Francis for World Peace Day on 1 January 2021, ‘A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace.’

The Archbishop also encourages parishes to facilitate a collection for, or make a donation to, the work of Pax Christi at this time as a way to make a practical contribution to continuing the work of peace. Pax Christi is one of the many groups badly affected by the pandemic, and it is additionally hoping to boost membership on and around Peace Sunday.

Pax Christi has produced materials based on the 1 January 2021 message from Pope Francis to mark the 54th annual World Day of Peace. The title is, “A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace.”

In it, Pope Francis highlights Catholic Social Teaching as an expression of Christian care for all people, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In presenting loving care as a path to peace, the pope highlights the connection between social injustice and violent conflict, and the critical role of women at all levels of peacebuilding. Francis calls on leaders in all sectors – the state, business, science and academics, international organisations, and media – to adopt the principles of Catholic Social Teaching: the dignity and rights of each person, the common good, solidarity, peacebuilding, and the protection of creation. He explains that these can act “as a ‘compass,’ capable of pointing out a common direction, and ensuring ‘a more humane future.’” He calls for a ‘Global Fund’ in which a portion of each country’s military budget would be set aside for economic development and – most urgently during the global food crisis caused by the pandemic – to fight hunger. Where there is violence, the pope calls on peacemakers to promote healing and renewed encounter.

Pax Christi has organised a Peace Sunday reflection zoom on 16th January 2021, 6-7pm. The gathering will gather on zoom to pray, share and reflect on Pope Francis’ message. All welcome. The registration link is: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/peace-sunday-2021-national-liturgy-tickets-133225849101

Pax Christi has produced a variety of on-line and paper resources to celebrate the theme. These include a liturgy booklet, a podcast by Fr Rob Esdaile, and an article for parish newsletters >>> https://paxchristi.org.uk/peace-sunday-2021/