The Hilltop Youth of Israel

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2016 Delegation to the West Bank and Israel

Project Peace of the Sisters of St. Francis is planning its annual delegation to the West Bank and Israel from October 31st to November 10th.

Fueled by a mission to promote friendships and understanding about Palestinians in the midst of conflicts in the Middle East, Project Peace travels to the area each year to promote nonviolence.

The price of the delegation is $2,800.  This price includes the flight from Ohio, room and board, stipends for speakers and similar events, and transportation in the area.

Some highlights of this year’s journey include meeting with leaders of the nonviolent resistance, education about the Occupation given from both sides of the Wall, visits to a refugee camp, working with Christian Peacemaker Teams and Palestinian resistance leaders, and meetings with many different interesting people.

Despite violence rising since October of 2015, agencies on the ground have assured that the area is safe for tourists.  Sister Paulette Schroeder, coordinator for Project Peace, says, “Perhaps it is even more important now to see and hear about the reality of the people.”

If you are interested in joining this peace delegation or have any questions pertaining to it, please contact Sister Paulette Schroeder at (419) 447-0433 extension 136 or pauletteosf@hotmail.com.

Gospel Demand: No More War

 

“What does the Gospel demand of us?” Jesuit Father Daniel J. Berrigan, a teacher, writer and peace activist who died on April 30, 2016, in New York City at the age of 94 asked himself that question frequently.  He was a Jesuit for 76 years and a priest for 63 years.”Dan 1With hundreds of other marchers I felt so honored to have a front side seat in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, New York for Dan’s funeral Mass on Friday May 5.   It is difficult to find sufficiently laudatory words for this well-planned Resurrection Mass so personal to Dan’s life.  Much applauding, laughter, and a powerful, prophetic heart-wrenching sermon, much like Dan’s own sermons delivered over the years filled the large church with the greatest appreciation for the truth telling and courageous actions this peacemaker had brought to the American culture throughout his years of service.  Steve Kelley, a dear friend of Berrigan’s, began his sermon with the words: “Now we know there are FBI agents planted here in our Church so I want to assure them that now they can close the file on Fr. Dan Berrigan!”  At that moment, thunderous laughter filled the church.  Everyone was well aware of Dan’s prison stints, his continuous forays with the FBI, and his close care of friends and followers for his safety away from the FBI .  Much loving testimony from his nieces and nephews and his sister in law Liz McAllister then followed Steve’s sermon..  The profundity of the words in tribute to Dan held me transfixed.

 

Honoring Fr. Berrigan on this day  began 2 hours before the Mass opening when  hundreds of  us marchers with chants and  signs, banners with Dan’s words, and a lively joyful band  marched in Dan’s honor from Maryhouse Catholic Worker for 16 blocks  in pouring down rain to the church.  My own sign quoted a line from Dan’s poem Some:  “Because the cause is the heart’s beat.” Once in the church, well over 1000 people assembled to say “thanks” to God for giving us such a prophet in our day.    People had come from as far away as Los Angeles to honor Dan  for the significant way he personally touched their lives–peace activists mostly, a few children and high school kids, Catholic Worker people, nuns,  priests, and lots of gray haired activists still on the streets working for a more just and  peaceful world..  We in that church represented a thousand different circles of peacemakers,uniting like Dan had urged us into a community committed to peace work on behalf of all God’s people against the horrors of war.  Dan often went to prison for his protests against war:  “Let it be said plainly:  War cancels faith.  For the duration.  War is the great exercise in practical lethal atheism.”  These are strong words of truth based on faith.  Again and again he maintains:  “There is no just war; The Gospel is always relevant.”  All this left me feeling confirmed down to my toenails that part of  the mission chosen by my community “speaking truth to power” is  not only most necessary in our times but also absolutely morally right.

 

I end the relating of this splendid day in New York with some of Dan’s words used in the sermon:

“Do not be ruled by fear but by  faith.”                                                                                                       “Do you want to live a flat line existence,.. to have your freedom never used, to be     overcome by fear?”                                                                                                                                      “Bomb blessing has no place in Jesus’ church”                                                                                      “These many beautiful days cannot be lived again. But I take them with me to whatever lies ahead.”  (Dan)

For Fr. Dan Berrigan, living  the Gospel of Jesus gave him entry into the greatest joy and freedom without fear.  We promise to help your spirit live on, Dan, by living that spirit ourselves.  We shall resist war in every way.