28 Mar 2019
By Amanda Murthy
Channelling the message of peace of Christ through conversation was the aim at the 2019 Gospel Non-Violence and the World Day of Peace Message workshop, held on Thursday 28 February at the Newman Siena Centre.
The free two-hour workshop was organised and led by Director of the Justice, Ecology and Development Office (JEDO) Carol Mitchell.
Themed ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ for a part of the workshop, participants explored papal messages over the years, including the 52nd World Day of Peace Message that was delivered in 1 January 2019. In this message, Pope Francis highlights the need for politics to be at the service of peace, with dialogue and mutual trust being critical.
Ms Mitchell said the workshop began with everyone sharing the sign of peace with a handshake, before exploring a number of scriptural passages.
“Firstly, I thank you for your presence here today and I wish you peace, for we know from the Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5: 9) – I also ask that we wish each other peace before we go any further: Peace be with you,” she said.
“In sending His disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you (Luke 10: 5-6).
“This ‘house’ Jesus speaks of is every family, community, country and continent in all their or our diversity; throughout all of history and for current and future generations and therefore this is why ‘bringing peace’ is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples – Of our missionary discipleship,” she added.
Going through each of The Beatitudes, attendees were asked several questions related to the theme of the day. Some of the questions, included ‘what symbols come to mind when you think of peace?’, ‘what are some of the pathways to peace?’, and ‘what does gospel non-violence mean to you?’.
Ms Mitchell then shared why we as Catholics are called through a process of prayerful discernment to read the ‘signs of the times’.
“We are called to See with the eyes of Jesus; to Judge (or assess) a situation with the heart of Jesus; and to Act as Jesus would today,” she stated.
“To help with this discernment and to guide us on this life-long journey as peace-makers, since 1968, we have been given papal wisdom through the World Day of Peace message on various issues that require our global attention, with various pathways to peace also being highlighted.”
“Pope Paul V1 instigated the observance of a World Day of Peace in 1968 – for the 1st of January, stating: “it is our desire that then, every year, this commemoration be repeated as a hope and as a promise…..that Peace…. may dominate the development of events to come.
“Pope Paul V1 also spoke of the need for reciprocal respect, brotherhood, collaboration, sincerity, justice and love, freedom of individuals and of peoples, for a just and balanced peace with sincere recognition of the rights of the human person, for liberty… peace is not pacifism… it proclaims the highest and universal values of life: truth, justice, freedom, love,” she concluded.
The group concluded the workshop by reflecting on how they can be the change they wish to see in the world, then recited the prayer of St Francis of Assisi, ‘Lord make me an instrument of your peace.’