Witnessing for Peace across the State

The peace movement is definitely alive and well in New York State. Here’s the latest.

Pilgrimage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan

PCNYS Coordinator Rosemarie Pace participated in a pilgrimage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in the first half of March, 2024. The original trip was scheduled for 2020 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Pax Christi International, but COVID-19 forced its cancellation. Rosemarie was determined to revive the journey and reached out to others to make it happen. Eleven people, including Rosemarie, joined the pilgrimage which added Kyoto to the itinerary for its historic and cultural significance. The primary focus of the trip, however, was everyone’s shared commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons which the U.S. used to level Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and which all agree must never be used again. Prior to making the pilgrimage, in conjunction with Hiroshima Bishop Shirahama, the group composed a Letter of Apology for the 1945 bombings and a Joint Declaration promising to turn words into action for the elimination of nuclear weapons. In all three cities, the pilgrims met with hibakusha (atomic bomb

Bishop Shirahama, U.S. Pilgrims, & Reps. from Six Hibakusha Organizations at Noboricho Church, Hiroshima

survivors) and other Japanese peace activists, presented the Letter of Apology and Joint Declaration, which were received with deep appreciation, and engaged in shared meals and warm conversations. Not only Bishop Shirahama, but also Nagasaki Archbishop Emeritus Takami and current Archbishop Nakamura welcomed the pilgrims with great generosity of time and hospitality.

The pilgrims celebrated Masses with Bishop Shirahama and Archbishop Emeritus Takami and were the subject of

much media coverage. You can see just a sample at the links below.

Special thanks to Sr. Filo Shizue for her invaluable help in arranging much of the pilgrimage, to Bishop Shirahama and Archbishops Takami and Nakamura, to our guides, and to the Oleander Initiative, which organized the Hiroshima portion of the pilgrimage with immeasurable grace and excellence. If you ever go to Hiroshima, please consider going with the Oleander Initiative. Also note that Archbishops Takami and Nakamura and Bishop Shirahama, along with Seattle Archbishop Etienne and Santa Fe Archbishop Wester signed a formal pledge on August 9th, 2023 to work toward “a world without nuclear weapons.” In addition, they co-signed a “Statement in Support of the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” in November, 2023. These documents are a reinforcement of the pastoral letter Archbishop Wester wrote in 2022, Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament. These men are models of Church leadership in the pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Here are the links to more information about this remarkable journey, the collaboration of the five clergymen, and a fine article by Marian Ronan about Archbishop Wester’s noteworthy pastoral letter:








The Sacred Peace Walk in Nevada

With the ongoing genocide in Palestine and the war in Ukraine, the Doomsday Clock is just 90 seconds from midnight. We haven’t been closer to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Working to avert this cataclysmic crisis the Nevada Desert Experience Sacred Peace Walk began on Sunday morning, March 24, 2024 at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Walking through the city of Las Vegas, participants, including PCNYS Council Member John Amidon, arrived at highway 95 on Monday. This pilgrimage was an interfaith journey of approximately 60 miles along I-95 through the Mojave Desert on the beautiful

traditional lands of the Western Shoshone and the Paiute peoples.

During the week the pilgrims engaged in prayer-action, sacred ritual, music, art and community building that make this experience transformative and unique. They called for an immediate ceasefire and insisted that Creech Air Force Base stop participating in the Israel genocide of Gaza. They then proceeded to the Nevada National Security Site, once again calling for the liberation of the Western Shoshone Homeland, ending this occupation, along with the abolition of nuclear weapons. Videos of the Sacred Peace Walk can be seen at the following links. If you need more background, be sure to read what’s below each short video.






PCMNY Good Friday Way of the Cross

In New York City, Pax Christi Metro New York held its 42nd annual Good Friday Way of the Cross across midtown Manhattan. This year’s overriding theme was “Walking with Jesus, how do we live our lives?” Each Station has a different theme relating to current events reflecting the way Jesus suffers today, and each Station is led by a different group from high students to veteran peace activists. Stations are accompanied by scripture, prayers of the faithful, and sacred music. As the faithful walk from one Station to the next, they sing Taize chants to maintain the reverence of the Walk. It is a public reminder of the sanctity of the day and the social issues that continue to plague our world.

Demonstration against Biden-Kishida Meeting

In early April, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with President Joe Biden to discuss a review of the framework that has for decades guided the interaction between Japan’s Self- Defense Forces and the approximately 55,000 U.S. troops in Japan. Since the end of WWII, Japan has had in its Constitution Article 9, a clause that outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes involving the state, but the U.S. has been pushing for a bilateral alignment with Japan that would weaken, if not abandon, Article 9. Consequently, Japan is considering doubling its annual defense spending, which could make it the world’s third-largest military budget behind the U.S. and China. It would enable Japan to deploy missiles that could hit targets

in other countries. Japan is also planning to establish a joint operations headquarters by 2025 to allow for smoother integration among its own defense forces and potentially greater integration with U.S. forces. All these developments appear to be aimed at greater conflict with China.

As a result, PCNYS joined with other peace activists and organizations to stand outside the Japanese Consulate in New York City to say NO to this meeting and its possible/likely amplification of a military alliance between the U.S. and Japan.


Tax Day, April 15th

Each year PCMNY and now PCNYS join the War Resisters League (WRL) and other fellow peace organizations to protest the excessive use of our tax dollars to support military endeavors. Currently, the U.S. spends approximately 45% of our discretionary budget on the military, and, as we know, more and more billions are being approved to arm the wars in Ukraine and Gaza

beyond what was originally budgeted for the fiscal year. As WRL notes, “All wars kill, create refugees, destroy the environment, worsen climate change, and steal resources that could house, clothe, and feed millions.” At this year’s protest outside the IRS building in lower Manhattan, some distributed WRL’s pie chart depicting “Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes” while others held signs, sang, and chanted. The predominant message was “End War Everywhere!”

Upstate New York, Peace Action, Veterans for Peace, and Pax Christi also gathered to educate regional taxpayers about where their tax dollars are spent—much of it not for the improvement of humanity. They started in downtown Scranton at the General Dynamics 155mm factory, drove on to Archbald 12 miles away for a nonviolent action at the factory that produces Paveway bombs that have murdered thousands of Gaza civilians. Then they proceeded to BAE Systems in Endicott where the mobile canons (Howitizers) for the 155mm shells (made in Scranton) are designed and made. The most wanted ammunition of Israel and Ukraine is the 155mm that blows people and structures to pieces. Each of these companies is violating US and international law.

Activists delivered an 11-page document outlining the six laws they are breaking. Read more about this action here:


Pax Christi Long Island meets with LI Regional Director for Senator Chuck Schumer

On April 16th, representatives from several LI peace groups met with Mike Iannelli, LI Regional Director for Sen. Schumer. Bob Keeler and Ed Kubik attended on behalf of PCLI. They presented several talking points which they discussed in detail with Mike who said he would report them to Sen. Schumer. In brief, the talking points included the Israeli War on Gaza, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the Pentagon Budget, and Defense Contractors and the U.S. Congress. The group hopes to get a written response answering their questions (however, not really expecting one.) They said that Mike stressed how important it was that they went to present their views since he was hearing the opposite from many of Sen. Schumer’s constituents. He welcomed them to return in the future. The group said they will try to maintain the communication and are now seeking a meeting with Sen. Gillibrand’s office.

The Earth Bill

The Earth Bill, officially called The Earth Act to Stop Climate Pollution by 2030, is a visionary, science-based law to mandate an end to climate pollution at the source – at the industry level – on the timeline required to save ourselves and the future…. It works by requiring utility companies and publicly-traded agriculture corporations to change to clean and healthy inputs in making our electricity (with solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, and wave) and food (with farming practices like no-till, cover crops, and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides) (https://earthbill.org/).

The Earth Bill, which PCNYS has endorsed, was launched on April 20th at the World Trade Center Oculus in lower Manhattan with a celebration of speakers, artists, and musicians. PCNYS Council member and PCMNY Board President Pierre Fidelia attended the launch which he described as both informative and inspiring. Attendees included a number of secular and faith- based environmental and social justice organizations who received information on a number of legislative issues on which all were encouraged to lobby. The artists-in-residence also expressed an affinity for peace and justice issues and a desire to collaborate with social justice organizations, an opening for further engagement.

Ceasefire Vigils and Rallies

Across the state and the country, on city streets and college campuses, vigils and rallies for a ceasefire in Gaza are happening just about every day. One of the most consistent ones happens outside the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan most lunch times, but especially on

Thursdays. Whether it’s one faithful witness or tens of them, they stand or process holding signs and, occasionally, singing and chanting. Twice, there has been a “Pilgrimage of Lamentation and Mourning” either circling the whole block of the Mission or walking in a circle in front of the Mission. These “Pilgrimages” have drawn numerous people, including members of the UN community, in particular NGO (non-governmental organization) delegates. The second was held during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and at the time that the

Security Council was meeting to vote on the admission of Palestine as a full Member State of the UN. (As you may know, the U.S. was the only country to veto this admission.) At all these vigils, many passersby give a thumbs up, but some shout their support for Israel. Dialogue is rare, but it does happen. All are welcome to join between 12:30 and 1:30 PM.

On April 25th, there was a Christian Zionist Rally at Columbia University to oppose the student encampment which is calling for Columbia to

divest from Israel and is calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. To counter this rally, several Christian groups organized their own public witness.

Members of Pax Christi were there, along with Catholic Workers, representatives of the Interfaith Center of New York, and others, including many Jewish allies. One of PCMNY’s Peacemaker Honorees for 2024, David Maloof, was there with a very astute placard saying “Love the Jews, Hate the Genocide.” As the Christian Zionists marched by, this group of peace activists sang “This

Little Light of Mine.” Overall, Pierre Fidelia reported this counter rally was well received by most, though there were some people who took issue. Nevertheless, there were no incidents.

Guantanamo Vigil

Not to be forgotten and despite promises to the contrary, the detention center at Guantanamo

remains open and about 30 men remain confined there. More than half of these men have been cleared for release by consensus of U.S. national security agencies, but they are still there. Three others have never been charged with a crime nor cleared for release. The U.S. spends an estimated

$11 million to hold a single prisoner per year. And so we continue to stand outside the main branch of the New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 41st Street in Manhattan, the first Wednesday of each month from 5 to 6 PM calling for the closure of Guantanamo Detention Center. Again, all are

welcome to join us.


Over the past few months, PCNYS has endorsed or signed onto the following:

  • Demand that MIT reinstate the Coalition against Apartheid and retract threats against student organizers
  • March 2nd National Day of Action—Hands off Rafah!
  • Call to redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status and Special Student Relief, pause all deportations, and expand key lawful migration pathways to Haitians
  • A second letter re Haiti, in addition to the above, calling to extend humanitarian parole to Haitians detained in ICE, end detention of Haitian migrants interdicted at seas, and provide humanitarian assistance and a report outlining the dissemination of disbursed funds
  • March 19th Action on the Anniversary of the War on Iraq to “End War Everywhere!”
  • Joined an Amicus Brief in support of Apache Stronghold, a group formed to defend their holy sites and stop a copper mining project that would desecrate them
  • Call to President Biden to declare a national climate emergency
  • Request to end fossil fuel approvals by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • Statement in solidarity with student protests for Gaza
  • Letter from U.S. Catholics on Israel-Palestine