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Benedictines for Peace
Benedictines are the oldest religious order in the Roman Catholic Church. Born in late antiquity when marauding armies made all civilization vulnerable to violence, Benedictines adopted as their motto the Latin word "pax" (peace). The central teaching in the 1,500 year-old Rule of Benedict is that everyone, including every stranger, is to be welcomed as a blessing and treated as Christ.
Benedictines for Peace (BFP) carries the ancient quest for peace into contemporary times. As the peace and justice outreach of the Erie Benedictine community, BFP members advocate for nonviolence, social change and justice by direct action, prayer and bearing witness.
Benedictines for Peace was organized nationally in 1980 to bring Benedictines to a fresh recognition of their charism of peace. Initially, Benedictines and Cistercian communities formed local groups to address the issues of nuclear disarmament. Today, Benedictines for Peace groups address social justice and peace issues that are of local, state, national and international concern.
Erie Benedictines for Peace works collaboratively with local peace and justice groups, religious communities and universities to address many social justice concerns. Benedictines for Peace also maintains membership in like-minded national organizations.
Immigration Reform Vigil
Beginning in December 2013, Erie Benedictines for Peace has sponsored a half-hour prayer vigil, 5:15-5:45 p.m., on the corner of Second and State Streets in Erie. The vigil remembers the 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, those who crossed our borders illegally or who came with a visa but did not leave when their visa expired. There are many immigrants in Erie who have documents, who brought here by Catholic Charities or the International Institute. They are not the focus of the vigil.
The vigil prays for immigration reform, asking that a law be passed that has three main provisions:
—a clear path to citizenship
—assurance of family unity—stop deportations
—protection for the rights of immigrant workers.
The Senate passed a bill in June 2013 that has these three points but the House refuses to vote on it. BFP will hold a vigil the First Friday of each month until the Senate bill becomes law.
A pdf flier is available here to download and print.
Annual Good Friday Peace Pilgrimage
Christ is crucified today whenever and wherever hatred, violence and injustice prevail. Each year the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Benedictines for Peace members and others walk a contemporary Way of the Cross through Erie, ending at Mount St. Benedict Monastery—a 7 ½ mile pilgrimage. We stop along the way for contemporary stations at sites that symbolize the oppression being felt by people today.
Take Back the Site Vigils
Take Back the Site vigils, 15 minutes in length, are held at the site of any death in the city of Erie that resulted from an act of violence. We hold the vigils with the purpose of reclaiming the site for nonviolence with our prayerful presence. During the vigil we also pray for the loved ones of the person who was murdered and for the loved ones of the person who committed the murder. Family, friends, neighbors and those committed to being a presence for peace and non-violence take part in the vigils. The first vigil was held in November 1999 and the 38th one was held in April 2009.
Calendar of Events
BFP in the News
As we remember the heartbreaking events of 9/11, a tragedy that changed the world forever, we humbly turn to God in whom we place our hope and...
Following a summer of violence and racial unrest across the country, Catholics are observing a Day of Prayer for Peace in communities across the...
Last week September 1st began the Season of Creation that stretches to the Feast of St. Francis on October 4th. Stewardship of the planet has been...
In 2015 Pope Francis declared September 1 an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Stewardship of the planet has been a...
Erie Benedictine Sister Anne McCarthy participated in a unique international conference, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and...
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