The PCMNY Board is eager to encourage Pax Christi members to join the three committees responsible for planning our annual events.
The responsibilities of each committee are demanding but rewarding.
Please read the statement outlining those responsibilities and email the PCMNY office at email@example.com if you are interested in joining one of the committees.
How our organization currently operates
The program of Pax Christi Metro New York has always reflected a deep concern with Catholic Social Teaching, especially regarding the danger of nuclear weapons and wasteful government spending in their development. With members of PCMNY participating in Pax Christ International’s team at the United Nations, the nuclear issue continues to dominate.
The founding event of PCMNY was the 1983 Good Friday Way of the Cross along 42nd Street in Manhattan. To a great extent the current yearly program of PCMNY is ‘set in stone’, being comprised of activities that have become traditional and deeply meaningful to members.
Responsibility for ongoing direction and oversight of Pax Christi Metro New York lies with the Board, on which there are currently six members, one of them the president, another, the secretary. At St. Francis of Assisi Church PCMNY shares a small office with a parish group and has access to its own printer, as well as the use of a large meeting room. Currently the office is managed by a board member until a paid employee can be hired.
At the present time the yearly activities of Pax Christi Metro New York are planned and developed by three member-run committees: Witness, Education, and Development. Every year, from fall to spring, each committee repeats its own set of activities, thus developing organizational expertise as well as a sense of how to keep these activities up to date.
The Witness Committee is responsible for organizing the Good Friday Way of the Cross, beginning at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza and ending at Holy Cross Church on West 42nd Street. Planning for this event starts in September and continues up to Good Friday. At each station the traditional story format is honored with an appropriate Gospel text. Then a theme for the entire Walk is applied to the social justice issue assigned to each station. The theme for Good Friday 2023 is: We believe all are equal in God’s sight. Stations are adopted by local Pax Christi groups, other Catholic organizations including parishes and high schools, and other Christian churches. An effort is being made to introduce Spanish into the format. Based on material submitted by each group, the Committee chooses an appropriate song for each station and creates a booklet for distribution to all participants. Police permits must be obtained, and a truck and sound system rented for lectors, speakers, musicians and ASL interpreters. Expenses are partially covered by sponsors and participants. Lasting about four hours, the Walk is a complex, physically demanding, and spiritually rewarding event.
A second responsibility of the Witness Committee is the Hiroshima/Nagasaki remembrance, August 6-9. Normally this event has centered on a simple liturgy in Fr. Demo Square on Sixth Avenue, near our former office. A leaflet explaining the purpose of the liturgy is handed out to passersby. The primary ceremonial gesture is the sounding of a gong for the number of years since the nuclear explosions occurred.
The Education Committee plans two events, the Fall Assembly and the Annual Retreat, and organizes an essay contest for high school juniors.
The Fall Assembly takes place on a Saturday in October or November. The morning session starts with group meditation and prayer, followed by an opportunity for the board and local groups to report on activities, finances and goals. For the afternoon session a speaker is invited to talk about an issue of current interest. At the October 2022 Fall Assembly, held live at Manhattan College in the Bronx, Maria Stephan talked about nonviolent ways to confront fascist policy and behavior evident in many countries today, including our own. Maria is co-author, with Erica Chenoweth, of Why Civil Resistance Works (2012), a widely cited study of nonviolent political response. Current committee members try to alternate male and female speakers in successive years. On this occasion there were no expenses for the site or transportation costs for the speaker.
Before the pandemic the Annual Retreat was a late winter, weekend event held at the Sisters of St. Joseph Convent in Brentwood, LI, or the Maryknoll Center in Ossining, Hudson Valley. During the pandemic the retreat became a Saturday morning event featuring a speaker on Zoom.
In 2022 Fr. Terrence Moran spoke on “The Mysticism of Wide-Open Eyes: Contemplative Wellsprings.” The Zoom presentation allowed time for questions and discussion. This informative, wide-ranging talk, which could easily have been expanded into a weekend retreat topic, can be viewed on YouTube.
The Maloof Family Young Peacebuilder Award is open to juniors in the PCMNY region (the NY Archdiocese and the Brooklyn diocese). The award is presented at the Annual Peacemaker Awards Reception in June, an event organized by the Development Committee. Students are invited to write about the ways in which their own lives and activities contribute to peacebuilding. Each high school may submit one student essay for consideration. Members of the Education Committee locate a contact person at each school and evaluate all submitted essays. The author of the winning essay receives a generous monetary award, courtesy of the Maloof family; an invitation to attend the reception with family members; and an opportunity to present their winning essay to the assembled guests.
The primary function of the Development Committee is to oversee the PCMNY budget and to raise money. The Committee sends out fundraising letters at least once a year.
The Development Committee is also responsible for planning the final event of the year, the Peacemaker Awards Reception in June. In recent years the event took place rent-free in excellent facilities at Xavier High School. After the Covid shutdown the 2022 reception, once again at Xavier, included a Zoom option.
Based on nominations by PCMNY members, three individuals or groups are honored at the reception. One award is usually presented to an outstanding volunteer. The other two awards go to individuals or groups known to the New York City community or beyond whose activities promote peace in highly valued ways. A booklet documents the experience and achievements of the awardees, and each one is invited to speak to the assembly in response to the award. The purpose of the reception is not only to recognize peacemakers but also to reach out to their support communities, attracting more guests, advertising our organization, and perhaps raising more money. Raffles and catered refreshments make the reception a relaxing social event.
Email the PCMNY office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining one of the committees.