Lent 2014: Pray - Study - Act
In This Issue
PRAY: This is the fast that pleases me
STUDY: Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent
ACT: Join the Encountering Peace Campaign
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First Week of Lent, March 9-15, 2014
Throughout the season of Lent, we will be providing you with resources to pray, study and act for peace with justice. Lent is a particularly good time of the liturgical year to do outreach to our church communities and beyond, engaging our sisters and brothers in the "peace of Christ" through opportunities for prayer, study and action. Many within our communities will be looking for opportunities to connect their prayer, fasting and almsgiving--traditional practices during the Lenten season--with issues and concerns that affect our world. Pax Christi members and local groups are particularly well-situated to help make those connections and extend invitations. 
    In addition to these weekly PSA (Pray-Study-Act) e-bulletins, we have set up a special webpage with more resources which we hope will deepen the experience of Lent for you, your family, your local group and your larger faith community. The PSAs will typically be sent out on Tuesday or Wednesday of the week prior to the week for which they are designed. These, as well as the weekly reflections from present and past Pax Christi Lenten booklet authors (like this one from Kathy Schmitt for Ash Wednesday), will be archived alongside additional resources on our Lent 2014 page
    We hope that the peace of Christ dwells deeply in your hearts during this Lenten season.


In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA
 PRAY: This is the fast that pleases me...
From the Archdiocese of Chicago (1983)


This is the fast that pleases me:

to break unjust fetters,
to let the oppressed go free,
to share your bread with the hungry
and shelter the homeless poor.
If you do away with the yoke, 
the clenched fist, the wicked word, 
if you give your bread to the hungry
and relief to the oppressed, 
your light will rise in the darkness. (Isaiah 58:6-7, 10)


All praise be yours, God our Creator,
as we wait in joyful hope
for the flowering of justice
and the fullness of peace.
All praise for this day, this season.
By our weekly fasting and prayer
cast out the spirit of war, of fear and mistrust,
and make us grow hungry for human kindness, 

thirsty for solidarity with all the people of your dear earth.
May all our prayer, our fasting and our deeds
be done in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent

By Jim Forest


Gen 2:7-9, 3:1-7 | Rom 5:12-19 | Matt 4:1-11


"All these kingdoms I bestow on you if you prostrate yourself in homage to me." (Matthew 4:10)


Jesus' last temptation was to trade worship for power. Satan is shown as a power broker. His message: "Center your life on the prince of worldly power, and I will let you share in this power."

    Making the border crossing into Lent is an opportunity to leave the centers of power behind and to surrender powerful ambitions. At first glance, it seems like opting for weakness. Satan shows Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence" - an impressive, vast, dazzling vision. But the problem with long distance viewing is that the huge swallows up the tiny. From the top of the Empire State Building, human beings look like ants. From the height of a satellite, a city looks like an ant hill. Human beings are lost in the dust.

    In the life of Jesus, human beings aren't ants. They are ordinary people with names and faces, some with withered limbs and unseeing eyes, some with dead children, some with half-dead consciences, all wounded, all needing forgiveness. But limbs can't be strengthened, eyes can't be healed, children can't be raised, and sins can't be forgiven from a mountaintop or space station.... 


ACT: Join PC International's Lent Campaign 
Encountering Peace: In Solidarity with Syria

from Pax Christi International


As Lent 2014 begins, Pax Christi International is launching a worldwide campaign, "Encountering Peace", to express solidarity with the people of Syria and to promote a negotiated solution to the extreme crisis gripping the country.

    As Pax Christi members around the world "encounter" in solidarity the people of Syria who are devastated by ongoing violence, we will fast and pray and advocate for an end to the violence and for a successful "encounter for peace" at the negotiations table.

    The Encountering Peace Campaign will take place from March 5 to April 20, 2014, to coincide with the Christian observance of Lent. In addition to prayer and fasting by individuals, Pax Christi member organisations are encouraged to organize opportunities for prayer, education, fasting and action in parishes, schools and religious communities.

    After three years of violent conflict in Syria, well over 100,000 people have been killed and an estimated 9 million others driven from their homes. More than 2.4 million refugees are registered in the region: some 932,000 in Lebanon; 574,000 in Jordan; some 613,000 in Turkey; 223,000 in Iraq; and about 134,000 in Egypt.

    In a recent, unanimous resolution (UNSC 2139), the UN Security Council demanded "that all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, including across conflict lines and across borders". UNSC emphasized that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a political solution.

    We call on all Pax Christi members and friends worldwide to raise awareness about the plight of the Syrian civilian population whose great agony continues:

  • With others or in community - perhaps during a public prayer service for peace in Syria during Lent - prepare a message of solidarity for the people of Syria. Pax Christi International will work with Syrian partners to broadcast these messages via radio programmes that can be heard by people in Syria and by many Syrian refugees in the region.
  • Fast for one day or more to show your solidarity with the Syrian people. Please let us know when you are fasting so we can let our contacts in Syria know.This can be done individually or as a group.
  • Share the most recent statement of Pax Christi International with your own national authorities and with embassies in your country, in particular with those of the US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the European Union, urging them to support renewed peace talks that include the full participation of Syrian women and to stop fuelling the violence by sending arms and ammunition into Syria.

Please send us your messages via our website, email, Facebook and Twitter (when using social media, please use hashtags #EncounteringPeace  #Fasting4Syria).