November 2012 Appeal
Peace be with you. I write to share with you some of the efforts of the Catholic Peace Fellowship (CPF) since our last appeal.
As it has for years, CPF continues to support, counsel, and advocate for conscientious objectors and selective conscientious objectors who contact us seeking help. CPF also continues to work with young people and their parents and educators on questions about Church teaching on war, peace, and conscience and about topics like registration for selective service and filing as a conscientious objection. We continue to take referrals from churches, college campus ministry offices, and the GI Rights hotline. In recent months, we have had numerous parishes and several diocesan offices contact us asking us to assist them in sharing the Church’s tradition on peace in their communities.
This year marks ten years since the first issue of the CPF Journal The Sign of Peace. Currently, CPF has several issues of The Sign of Peace in the works for next year, and we are working to bring an issue to print by the end of the autumn. CPF has also been working on renovating its website in order to makes its resources more accessible and has expanded its reach to hundreds and sometimes thousands of people weekly through its social networking site. Through print and new media we continue to labor to be a resource and continue our outreach.
In addition to our personalist approaches to peacemaking before and during war, the CPF has been working over the past couple of years to cultivate peacemaking efforts after war. We have been in conversation with three monasteries, five colleges, and several parishes about the cultivation of listening circles and retreats for those who have been in the military and those who have faced combat who bear the hidden wounds of war: grief, guilt, shame, confusion, isolation. CPF has recently become a place of referral for Life Treatment Centers of Northern Indiana and the Red Cross of Saint Joseph County, Indiana, for those returned from war seeking spiritual direction. Recently, CPF was asked by a group of veterans (some of whom were conscientious objectors and others who were not) to host them for a discernment gathering and retreat for them here in South Bend in November, and we agreed to do so. While we have always offered support to veterans and their families wounded by war who have contacted us in the past, the signs of the times speak to the urgent and growing need in this area, and we are responding. We do this while also working to encourage and provide opportunities for those in this country to work for peace in parts of the world that the U.S.’s wars have devastated.
Organizationally, for the first-time in eleven years, we have a full-time director as I transitioned into that role in the late summer after many years with CPF. CPF has also recently become a field placement site for the University of Notre Dame Master of Divinity program and has welcomed Jessica Keating as an intern this academic year. We are grateful for our many trusted advisers and numerous volunteers seeking to help further the mission of CPF have begun to emerge in recent months. Please pray for us - and for those who contact us - as together we endeavor to “seek peace and pursue it” (Ps 34:15). If you are interested in ways you can become more involved in the work of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, please contact me.
Finally, we need your support to sustain our efforts, compensate our staff, and pay our bills and keep our doors open for those we serve. Please give a tax-deductible donation via mail or online though our website to aid us in our striving to witness to the One who “is our peace.” (Eph 2:14). Know of our prayers and heartfelt gratitude.
Shawn T. Storer
Director, Catholic Peace Fellowship
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