Stories of peacemaking, and of war; the words of witnesses to the Gospel and witnesses of human suffering; laments, psalms, parables, and miracle stories. The Catholic Peace Fellowship nourishes the practice of reading texts together, to communally and personally encounter the lives of people who come to us through writing. The wisdom and raw human testimony with which they leave us shape our lives in the Beatitudes.
Over the last few years, members of CPF in South Bend, Indiana have piloted Reading Circles, which we then share with other parts of the country. These Circles usually offer readings for 8 to 12 weeks of meetings, and include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, articles from The Sign of Peace, and Scripture.
We encourage you to consider hosting a Reading Circle in your parish, faithsharing group, peacemaking organization, university, or amongst friends! CPF staff will work with you to adapt the Circle according to the needs of your community. Circles include:
- A Vocation of Peace: Foundations for Christian Peacemaking. For us, sharing this Circle is like sharing our friends with others. In this Circle, the writings which have very actively shaped the work of CPF are offered. These include Isaiah’s vision of beating swords into plowshares, the stories of WWII conscientious objectors Ben Salmon and martyr Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, writings from the founders of CPF, Joshua Casteel’s Letters from Abu Ghraib, and the Sermon on the Mount.
- Returning to Vietnam. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn and veteran Tim O’Brien are among the authors whose readings bring us to the time of what Americans call the Vietnam war and Vietnamese call the American war. This Circle came to be because members of CPF wanted to read a new work about a 1964 peacemaking retreat hosted by Thomas Merton at Gesthemani Abbey (in which our founders participated), but CPF members who were born after 1960 expressed an ignorance of that time.
- Animi Dolore: Theological and Pastoral Responses to Persons Bearing the Hidden Wounds of War. Note: This Circle was originally developed as a directed readings course in theology.
- The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers (Forthcoming)
If you are interested in hosting a Reading Circle, please contact Leah at coming @ catholicpeacefellowship.org