Musings from the Third Sunday in Corona Crisis

By Paul Magno

Our usual Sunday gathering at Jonah House was suspended in respect of the apprehensions about social gathering brought on by the great pestilence in recent weeks

So I made do with a solitary liturgy this am, consisting of penitence for transgressions one against another both personal and social, individual and institutional.  A hefty catalog of sins against the poor and powerless global majority, and against creation itself in service of greed and violence. All needing acknowledgement by offenders just for openers, then penance and then a drastic amending of our ways.  And for my own short-comings and foibles, anger, despair, thoughtlessness, and the hurts they inflict on people, I beg forgiveness from you my sisters and brothers. 

On to the readings of the day, especially the long Gospel of John about the blind man who Jesus gifts with sight after a lifetime of miserable living. Talk about no good deed going unpunished – behold the third degree the men of the church put this man through as he is adamant about saying a good word about Jesus, long after they’ve made it plain that doing so is beyond the pale. 

After some meditation on this a few prayers for the sick:

Our Friend John LaForge out in Wisconsin has a serious cancer diagnosis, let the healing hands of God be laid on him

My sister Patricia continues treatment for a breast cancer diagnosis. let the healing hands of God be laid on her

Any and all afflicted by the Corona virus whose health is harmed and life endangered, let the breath of God be poured out in love and care for your healing.

For our world, infested with debilitating and lethal injustices of our own perverse making, let it be on earth as it is in heaven, a  just and peaceful subversion of the inflicted social order. May it break in like a thief in the night. Let our hearts cry out like Job for an end to such unmerited suffering.

And the dead:

Our deceased sister Lin Romano was remembered in a Baltimore Sun obituary this week. Let us pray to be guided by the light of her life for others. Resting peaceably in God’s arms, I fancy her bemused by all of our Corona consternation. Lin Romano pray for us 

An inveterate peacemaker in Washington of my acquaintance, most recently known as Pat the Peacewalker, remembered by many as Paul Collins, passed on days ago. May the sign of Peace he carried so valiantly for many decades make its indelible mark on us and may God take him to heart as a child of the Peaceable Kin-dom.  

And those afflicted by the demonic:

Our Kings Bay Plowshares defendants,  enduring a long and excruciating wait for a sentencing date for a disarmament witness against Trident’s omnicidal weaponry two Aprils ago, are prolonged even more, thank-you Corona, as paralysis descends on the court. May the soothing hands of God gift them with the peace they have fought and suffered for over these years, and fortify them for the promised wrath of Caesar when sentencing day does come upon them. God hear our prayer

For the many who need our thoughts and prayers for sufferings of all kinds, we pray to God. 

Finally  we are promised food for the journey in the breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup of liberation. Elsewhere in John’s gospel he says, “I have told you these things , so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Amen. Let it be so.

We are blind too often, too much. 

May we see and say what is true, regardless.

Peace, Brothers and Sisters

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Pantry Project

Our pantry upgrade is well in progress. Ausar and Bow are doing the construction work on our new walk-in cooler, with the help of a crew of young men from the neighborhood.

We’ll certainly have it done by summer time, when we’ll need it. But now in the winter, we just have to open the pantry windows!

Here are pics of the work crew in action.

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How Can I Keep From Singing

I woke up here in Baltimore this morning and knew it must be raining for a reason
Just a few minutes later a brief text from David Hoovler announced that Lin Romano had died this morning, at age 63 after a 16 month battle with cancer.
Hard not to cry, harder even to cry.
Lin had lived at Jonah House for about a year in the late 1980s, after her participation in the Epiphany Plowshares disarmament action at Willow Grove Naval Air Station in PA in January of 1987.
After four trials she was finally convicted and sentenced to two years in federal prison in Lexington KY.
For over a decade before that, she had lived and worked among the poorest people in Washington DC as a member of the Community for Creative Nonviolence.
Throughout the last three decades, she has remained “passionate about creating a just world,” through several jobs here in Baltimore, through her continued association with Jonah House, and with David, to whom she was married since 2005.
Joe Byrne and I had an opportunity to visit her at the Gilchrist Center, an inpatient hospice care facility in Towson, last week, and to be by her bedside for about an hour. Though her body was weak, she was aware of our presence and tried to sing along with the tunes Joe played on the dulcimer. She was able to smile and open her eyes a few times.
We wait on word from David about any memorial arrangements
To close, I’ll paraphrase just one of those songs
Her life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation.
We hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation
Above the tumult and the strife,
We hear the music ringing;
She sounds an echo in our souls
How can we keep from singing?

Shared by Paul Magno for the Jonah House Community

Beloved Lin Romano

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Jonah House Pantry

Monday pick up from the Baltimore Food Bank volunteers ready to unload and pack pantry boxes for Tuesdays pantry.
Melissa and her daughter the dynamic duo always here to help on pantry days
Mom, I will sort this box for you!
Rainbow packing up and getting ready for Tuesday’s pantry
When we run out of pantry boxes we have to pack up emergency bags.
Joe on task!!!

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Gallery

Scenes from the sustainable garden – 2019

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Jonah House Food Pantry: Grant Winner!

Jonah House Food Pantry is the recipient of a $5000 grant to upgrade the pantry, allowing us to increase capacity and serve more neighbors in need.

We’ll provide more details as we proceed with the upgrade.

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Climate Strike

On December 8, Joe Byrne of Jonah House participated in a climate strike in Baltimore, organized by Baltimore’s Sunrise movement.

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Paul Magno Peacemaker of the Year

Jonah House’s Paul Magno was this years recipient of the Pax Christi Metro DC Peacemaker of the Year. Congrats Paul!

Paul giving his acceptance speech

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Kings Bay Plowshares Update

On October 24, 2019, the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 were all found guilty of all four counts. They await sentencing, date to be announced.

The Kings Bay Plowshares continue to get attention in the media. Below are links to two articles about the Kings Bay Plowshares, and a Baltimore radio interview with Jonah House co-founder Liz McAlister, about her participation in the action.

On November 25, 2019, Tom Hall, of the Midday program on Baltimore’s WYPR, broadcast an interview with Liz McAlister:
https://www.wypr.org/post/update-baltimore-peace-activist-elizabeth-mcalister

On November 26, 2019, Sam Husseini published this article in Counterpunch:
http://unac.notowar.net/2019/11/26/can-the-religious-left-take-down-nuclear-weapons/

On November 19, Paul Elie published an article in The New Yorker:
https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-pope-and-catholic-radicals-come-together-against-nuclear-weapons?fbclid=IwAR1o1jUnNneAQNfKZBlFAQXmjH3OjCEcb56jJ5WlnUBDpUH8GhPjv3TBirA

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Pope Francis Calls for World Without Nuclear Weapons

Story in The Guardian
Video of Pope Francis’s Remarks
Full text of the Pope Francis’s Remarks:

The following is the official translation of the full text of a message Pope Francis delivered November 23, 2019, in an address in Nagasaki.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This place makes us deeply aware of the pain and horror that we human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another. The damaged cross and statue of Our Lady recently discovered in the Cathedral of Nagasaki remind us once more of the unspeakable horror suffered in the flesh by the victims of the bombing and their families.

One of the deepest longings of the human heart is for security, peace and stability. The possession of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is not the answer to this desire; indeed they seem always to thwart it. Our world is marked by a perverse dichotomy that tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust, one that ends up poisoning relationships between peoples and obstructing any form of dialogue.

Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation. They can be achieved only on the basis of a global ethic of solidarity and cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole human family of today and tomorrow.

Here in this city which witnessed the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of a nuclear attack, our attempts to speak out against the arms race will never be enough. The arms race wastes precious resources that could be better used to benefit the integral development of peoples and to protect the natural environment. In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven.

A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions of men and women everywhere. To make this ideal a reality calls for involvement on the part of all: individuals, religious communities and civil society, countries that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not, the military and private sectors, and international organizations. Our response to the threat of nuclear weapons must be joint and concerted, inspired by the arduous yet constant effort to build mutual trust and thus surmount the current climate of distrust. In 1963, Saint John XXIII, writing in his Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, in addition to urging the prohibition of atomic weapons (cf. No. 112), stated that authentic and lasting international peace cannot rest on a balance of military power, but only upon mutual trust (cf. No. 113).

There is a need to break down the climate of distrust that risks leading to a dismantling of the international arms control framework. We are witnessing an erosion of multilateralism which is all the more serious in light of the growth of new forms of military technology. Such an approach seems highly incongruous in today’s context of interconnectedness; it represents a situation that urgently calls for the attention and commitment of all leaders.

For her part, the Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to promoting peace between peoples and nations. This is a duty to which the Church feels bound before God and every man and woman in our world. We must never grow weary of working to support the principal international legal instruments of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Last July, the bishops of Japan launched an appeal for the abolition of nuclear arms, and each August the Church in Japan holds a 10-day prayer meeting for peace. May prayer, tireless work in support of agreements and insistence on dialogue be the most powerful “weapons” in which we put our trust and the inspiration of our efforts to build a world of justice and solidarity that can offer an authentic assurance of peace.

Convinced as I am that a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary, I ask political leaders not to forget that these weapons cannot protect us from current threats to national and international security. We need to ponder the catastrophic impact of their deployment, especially from a humanitarian and environmental standpoint, and reject heightening a climate of fear, mistrust and hostility fomented by nuclear doctrines. The current state of our planet requires a serious reflection on how its resources can be employed in light of the complex and difficult implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in order to achieve the goal of an integrated human development. Saint Paul VI suggested as much in 1964, when he proposed the establishment of a Global Fund to assist those most impoverished peoples, drawn partially from military expenditures (cf. Declaration to Journalists, 4 December 1964; Populorum Progressio, 51).

All of this necessarily calls for the creation of tools for ensuring trust and reciprocal development, and counts on leaders capable of rising to these occasions. It is a task that concerns and challenges every one of us. No one can be indifferent to the pain of millions of men and women whose sufferings trouble our consciences today. No one can turn a deaf ear to the plea of our brothers and sisters in need. No one can turn a blind eye to the ruin caused by a culture incapable of dialogue.

I ask you to join in praying each day for the conversion of hearts and for the triumph of a culture of life, reconciliation and fraternity. A fraternity that can recognize and respect diversity in the quest for a common destiny.

I know that some here are not Catholics, but I am certain that we can all make our own the prayer for peace attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

In this striking place of remembrance that stirs us from our indifference, it is all the more meaningful that we turn to God with trust, asking him to teach us to be effective instruments of peace and to make every effort not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

May you and your families, and this entire nation, know the blessings of prosperity and social harmony!

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