Ash Wednesday Leafletting for Peace at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

There were seven PCMNY members – led by former Executive Director – Rosemarie Pace – leafletting in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Ash Wednesday: Dolores Schmitt, Tom Egan, Edith Newman, George Horton, Pierre Fidelia and Beverley Johnstone. A Lenten Reflection (below) and Prayer for Ukraine were on the leaflets.

We were blessed with unusually beautiful weather for March 2nd in NYC, and different people shared different, but good responses from those who took the leaflets. Just one person returned the leaflet because she said she is Russian, but she was very polite and pleasant about it. Edith got to teach three people about ashes. All in all, a good day’s work.

Lenten Reflection 2022

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus … was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert for 40 days… (Luke 4:1)

Today, we, too, are led by the Holy Spirit into a desert space, if not a literal desert, for 40 days in observance of the holy season of Lent. But what does this desert experience look like for us?

If we look at Jesus’s experience in the desert, we see that he placed himself entirely in the hands of God, praying and fasting, away from all distractions, and, yes, being tempted. While we may not have 40 days to follow Jesus’s example exactly, we can try to find moments each day of Lent to acknowledge our dependence on God, to set aside distractions, to pray and to fast.

And it seems safe to say, Pope Francis would agree. In his Lenten Message for 2022, he describes Lent in a number of ways. One that certainly fits a desert experience is as a call to listen to the word of God, “to place our faith and hope in the Lord.” He goes on to refer to the common practices of Lent—fasting, praying, and almsgiving—this way: “The soil is prepared by fasting, watered by prayer, and enriched by charity.” So how do we do this?

Finding our desert space in itself may be a form of fasting. Another way may be inspired by something else Pope Francis wrote. He warns against the addiction of many to digital media. Might we consider fasting from that, at least for a period of time each Lenten day, as part of our desert experience? Praying is probably the most obvious way to spend some desert time, and again we can turn to Pope Francis who appeals to us not to grow tired of praying. Using the pandemic as example, he reminds us of our human fragility and our need for God. With today’s modern technology, it might even be possible to give alms from the desert—in the form of a financial donation—but the kind of almsgiving that is more commonly intended during Lent may actually call us out of the desert. That’s OK. Jesus did not stay in the desert. He left renewed for ministry, and we, too, can use our desert time as preparation for our own ministry to others.

Once more Pope Francis is with us, encouraging us not to “grow tired of doing good in active charity toward our neighbors.” Jesus offered a compassionate heart, a helping hand, a listening ear, an instructive word, a forgiving spirit. Certainly, we can do likewise. Our actions don’t have to be grand. Pope Francis writes, “In God, no act of love, no matter how small, and no ‘generous effort’ will ever be lost.” He adds that this is a process, “not to be achieved once and for all; [it has] to be realized each day.”

And so this Lent let us spend some time in the desert relying on God, praying, fasting, and being renewed, to emerge serving one another as generously as we are able, comforted in the knowledge that sometimes we will be tempted, sometimes we will fail, but always we can get up and continue on the way.

Please spend some time with this reflection. Also consider doing the following:

  • Make time and find a place that can be your special desert space where you can be with God in prayer. Talk to God and listen. Enjoy the spiritual intimacy.
  • Fast from things that may hurt you, not necessarily food, but bad habits that lead you away from God and others.
  • Lend a helping hand, a willing ear, or a comforting word to someone in need. Give materially, as well, if you are able.
  • Join the 40h Good Friday Way of the Cross organized by Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) on April 15th via Zoom. Contact the PCMNY office for details on how to participate.

This reflection was prepared by Rosemarie Pace for Pax Christi New York State and Pax Christi Metro New York, 135 W. 31st St.,

New York, NY 10001; 212-420-0250;

Pax Christi USA’s statement on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Pax Christi USA condemns the Russian invasion and bombardment of cities throughout Ukraine that commenced earlier today. As St. John Paul II said in 2003 in response to the build-up and subsequent war in Iraq, “War is always a defeat for humanity.” The invasion of Ukraine is a direct violation of international law. The death and destruction already unleashed has only frustrated the hope for a just resolution of differences. To continue this war will only undermine long-term peace for the region. War does not solve the historical and political challenges at the root of this conflict; war is not the vehicle for creating a just peace.

Pax Christi USA is particularly troubled by Russia’s heavy-handed allusions to its nuclear weapons arsenal and the implied threat of the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict. As explained by the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, such threats are prohibited by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and elevates the risk of a massive humanitarian catastrophe. 

Pax Christi USA urges the international community to stand united against the invasion of Ukraine and in support of diplomacy and dialogue to bring this crisis to an end. We urge the United States and NATO to refrain from pursuing military responses and to pursue solutions that address the context and complexity of the root causes which gave rise to the crisis in the first place. It should not be lost that in addition to Russian aggression, the expansion of NATO with the proliferation of bases, the continued manufacturing of weapons of war, and the reliance on security upheld by military power has played a significant role in the events building up to this current crisis. This war is additional evidence of the failure of policies predicated on the threat of violence to deliver the peace and dignity the human family deserves.

We urge political leaders, the media and influential voices within the U.S. Catholic community to refuse to beat the drums of war and to not support efforts to justify U.S. or NATO military action nor increase the flow of arms into the conflict. Such a response will only assure that the current violence will spiral ever more deeply and make even more unlikely the possibilities for an end to this war through dialogue and diplomacy.

We implore members of the Pax Christi USA community, U.S. Catholics, and people of faith everywhere to join together in the day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine called for by Pope Francis on March 2, Ash Wednesday. We encourage our community to publicly vigil in support of peace on this day.

Our hearts are with all those in Ukraine who tremble in fear at the violence which has overturned their lives. Our hearts break for the losses already experienced, the suffering, displacement and death that cannot be erased. We stand with the people of Ukraine and all who are crying out for peace, and we join our voices to the plea of Pope Francis, “War, never again!”

Published by S Fava

Web Developer and a whole lot more.

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