Thursday, March 25, 2010

From Punitive to Restorative Justice: Finding a Way Forward

“I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25: 36. The Gospel calls us to show compassion and forgiveness for even what society would call the worst among us. These are God’s children too and the opportunity for conversion and redemption always exists.

Please join Pax Christi Union County & St. Helens Prison Ministry on Wednesday, April 7 at Mt. St. Mary's High School in Watchung, for a program and discussion on moving toward a system which favors restorative justice over the current punishment only system.

Our Guest Speaker will be Jean Ross, a retired public defender and co-chair of the prison committee at the Newark-based People's Organization for Progress.

Please join us as we look at the problems of racism, violence and oppression, which we encounter in the streets of our cities, as they extend to the institutions which now imprison over 2 million people, mostly people of color. The problems of isolation, violence, lack of health care, lack of rehabilitation, profiteering from the poor and pervasive injustice affect the safety, health and well being of the people who live and work in the prisons, but also our families and our communities.

Efforts towards fundamental prison change are necessary if we want to heal our communities. We must adopt a feasible strategy, and priorities for addressing these problems and to create effective coalitions with other groups.

For more information or to RSVP contact Milly Kostyack (732)-943-2482

To all things broken,
I am a brother.

To the fallen, crumpled autumn leaf,
I am a brother.

To the splintered mirror,
I am a brother.

To the shattered heart,
I am a brother.

To countries bound and oppressed,
I am a brother.

To all human history,
I am your imprisoned brother.

And I am your God.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why We Do What We Do...

I received this from Rev. Petero Sabune, the Protestant pastor at Sing-Sing Prison and the leader of Pax Christi NJ’s most recent retreat, regarding an upcoming action we are planning for the people who are being detained for immigration violations in the Hudson County Jail. But it was so meaningful and beautiful that I wanted to share it with you. This is for all of you who have stood alone or in small groups to address injustice and to pray for change.

Yesterday was the anniversary of John Newton, March 10, 1748. His ship capsized in the gulf of Guinea, but his human cargo did not kill him. They saved his life. He later became an Anglican priest and mentor to William Wilberforce. John heard the voice of God in the mourns and groans of the Africans below in the ship, composed Amazing Grace and became an abolitionist. Wilberforce became a member of parliament, a free holder, and submitted legislation to abolish slavery, every week for 25 years. Two weeks before he died slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833. They used to meet for tea and Bible Study on Thursdays, at Hannah Moore's house at Clapham.

A prayer Vigil or a March is political, legal, social but it is also spiritual. When we stand or walk together those who see us know and those detained, see and hear us. Even those who guard know we are there in solidarity with those in detention. Even there is one or two people we need to remember and remind each other why we do what we do. We need to pray, not just for them but for each other. Like the abolitionists who came before we, the struggle continues.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Schedule for Pax Christi NJ Assembly

Pax Christi NJ's annual assembly is shaping up nicely. So far over 50 people have RSVP'd and the final details are all coming together.


1:00 PM Welcome - Fr. Tom Sheridan
Prayer & Reflection – Fr. Jack Martin – co-founder Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast
Haitian Choir of St. Patrick’s Church, Jersey City, NJ

1:30 “When I think of Haiti…” small group sharing and activity – Georgette Delinois – President Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast

1:45 Colleen Kelly - "Haiti Relief Work: Where Does Peace Fit In?"

2:30 Break

2:45 Screening of “Road to Fondwa” with discussion afterward

3:45 Presentation of Dorothy Day Peacemaker of the Year Award to Anna J. Brown

4:00 Keynote presentation - Marie Dennis - director of the office of global concerns for Maryknoll, co-president Pax Christi International, Teacher of Peace Pax Christi USA

4:45 Closing Prayer

To RSVP or for more info contact Kathy O’Leary 908-273-0751

Free will donations accepted at the door

Campus map and directions

Parking available in the faculty lot