Francis Gargani, C.Ss.R. 12/6/16
I am honored to serve on the Board of Pax Christi for the last two years, as President this 2016-2017 year. Of course, I am prejudiced in favor of Pax Christi, but our Metro NY chapter is a pretty amazing little organization that manages to sponsor a full calendar of events over each year promoting social justice and reconciliation. From our Fall Assembly to our yearly opportunity for retreat for everyone with nationally recognized presenters, to our Peacemaking through the Arts January program, to our annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross through mid-town Manhattan and Times Square, to our Spring Peacemakers Award Reception, Pax Christi Metro New York offers multiple events to continually invite its members and interested New Yorkers to pray and work for peace and an end to violence in our nation and world. And the events mentioned is not an exhaustive list, since there's a yearly program and ritual on the anniversary of Hiroshima, Holy Innocents, UN International Peace Day, and other events! Through prayer, study and action, members of Pax Christi Metro New York in union with members throughout the world, continue to light the candle for peace and tolerance and healing and liberation for all peoples and all creation.
Pax Christi Metro New York has been an inspiration to me for many years, and a great support in my belief that a peaceful world is possible. I have been encouraged by the example of members participating in protests against violence, particularly war and nuclear weapons; advocating for policies that promote peace; and educating themselves and others about situations that need attention and nonviolent conflict resolution techniques. The annual awards events honor people engaged in such diverse expressions of peace as participating in Christian Peacemaking Teams that work with Palestinians and Israelis; teaching alternatives to violence in prisons; celebrating and teaching peace through the arts; educating for all cultures and religions, and creating local organizations to help those most in need.
My inolvement with PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK keeps me open to a deepening awareness of our common humanity and the kinship between economic justice, freedom and harmony amongst peoples. My background is in Communications and Pastoral Care and I experience PAX CHRISTI as an extension of my livelhood and personal goals. Faith can only be vindicated by action and PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK continues to expand awareness of its presence and engage people in its universal human values throughout the New York City area. Highlight events include the Annual Public STATIONS OF THE CROSS throughout the Wall Street neighborhood with over 2,000 witnesses drawing attention to the suffering in our city, country and world while identifying the very real obstacles to peace and equal opportunity that are omnipresent in our society; a multi-denominational and multi-Faith March each Spring in Queens that fosters solidarity among people of all faiths and walks of life as it witnesses to our need for more dialogue and understanding; annual Awards Dinner acknowledging significant contributions to peace and reconciliation (last year's award winners included a Rabbi who reconciled a violent racist to dialogue and conversion, a young woman completing a PhD in International Justice issues whose activities fueled an impressive dissertation offering tools for social change). Pax Christi offers Christian Conflict Resolution Programs and Speaker Events in schools, churches and other organizations and sponsors an annual weekend of spiritual retreat to refresh and inspire people in the fields of peace and justice. With increased efforts for further collaboration with other like-minded organizations, PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK will continue to help keep my faith in action and inspire others to do the same.
Pax Christi Metro New York is a small powerhouse nonprofit poised to become so much more!
A multi-talented, resourceful Executive Director, generous volunteers and supporters/donors and a committed board produce a solid offering of diverse peace and justice events/programs throughout the year that logically should not come from such a small organization. Its modus operandi of prayer, study and action ensure the entire person grows and participates in the ways of peacemaking; the interfaith collaborations facilitate community-wide actions for justice and opportunities to incarnate that unity is not sameness.
If I headed up a private equity fund and Pax Christi Metro New York was a private start-up, instead of a Catholic nonprofit spreading the peace of Christ, I would definitely be the first in line for the IPO. In fact, if I were a venture capitalist, I would invest heavily in Pax Christi Metro New York right now.