Posts Tagged ‘Peace’
Jesuit Father Benjamin Urmston, founder of Peace and Justice Programs and professor emeritus at Xavier University in Cincinnati, is being honored for his lifelong efforts on justice issues. He will receive the “Keeping the Dream Alive” award from the Church of the Resurrection in Cincinnati at the church’s annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 21.
Fr. Urmston, 87, is a veteran of World War II, and he participated in three major battles — the Rhine, the Ruhr and Bavaria — with General Patton’s Third Army in Europe. The horrors of his war experiences inspired him to make a difference in the world. He decided he could do that by entering the priesthood.
“I was not in the worst part of the war,” Fr. Urmston said, “but what I had was not a picnic. And I came out of that thinking, ‘There has to be a better way for us to solve disputes. There has to be a way to peace.’ I wanted a better world. I felt being a priest would be one way to pursue that — at least a good way for me. And that has proven to be true.”
When Fr. Urmston joined the Xavier faculty in 1971, he saw the need for student involvement in issues of peace and justice, so he founded the Peace and Justice Programs. “The notion of peace and justice is deeply engrained in Ignatian spirituality and applies to all people whether you like them or not,” Fr. Urmston said.
“I think it’s good to have ideas. I think it’s good to have ideals,” Fr. Urmston said. “I think it’s good to have a vision of the future. The purpose is never to judge individuals but to analyze structures. There are times when we need to change our structures, and that’s not easy. That’s part of the reason why there’s opposition: We don’t like to change basic things.
“I don’t have in mind heaven. But I have in mind the beginnings of a civilized earth.”
Read more about Fr. Urmston at the Xavier University website.
Jesuit Father Jack Morris is 84 years old and can no longer walk. But thirty years ago he led a group that walked across the U.S. as part of the Bethlehem Peace Pilgrimage to raise awareness about the nuclear arms race. Later that year the group flew to Ireland to continue the pilgrimage, ending in Bethlehem.
Now Fr. Morris, who is celebrating his 50th year as a priest, is working on his memoirs in the infirmary at the Jesuit House at Gonzaga University. He sees a country as dedicated to war as ever.
“I think we’re making progress toward doing ourselves in,” Fr. Morris told The Spokesman-Review.
Fr. Morris’ driving question is: “How do we put peace into the center of church thinking?”
“If the church spent as much time on peace issues as it does on birth control and abortion, we could have peace,” he said.
In the 1970s, Fr. Morris became drawn to the peace protesters who had gathered around the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Wash. He developed the idea of a pilgrimage and found about a dozen others who were willing to give it a try.
The group set off on April 9, 1982, with walkers ranging in age from 20 to 67. They walked about 20 miles a day, slept where they could, ate simple food and gave presentations on peace. They walked to Washington, D.C., and then flew to Ireland to conclude the walk.
They arrived in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, 1983, and everyone who started the pilgrimage finished.
“I was glad we were there and we were done,” Fr. Morris said. “I was tired of walking.”
Read more about Fr. Morris at The Spokesman-Review.
Jesuit Father John Dear, ordained in 1993, has been a peace activist for more than two decades, having been arrested more than 75 times protesting for peace and having spent more than a cumulative year behind bars.
“Life to me is the journey toward peace,” said the Jesuit. “After all these years of working, the journey to peace is still the most important thing, greater than any one event or success.”
Though he remains committed to peace, Dear said he tries to avoid the word “pacifism.”
“Pacifism connotes passivity,” Father Dear said. “Non-violence involves active derring-do, confronting the opponent non-violently. Peace is not just a tactic or a strategy. It’s a whole new way of life. Jesus didn’t say, ‘Blessed are those who like peace.’ He said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’”
To read more about Father John Dear’s mission of peace, go here.