Report of Holy Thursday Faith and Resistance Retreat and Public Witness in WDC-Seven Arrested at Good Friday Pentagon Witness

Dear Friends,

From Holy Thursday afternoon to Good Friday afternoon, about 25 people gathered in D.C. for a Faith and Resistance retreat and public witness that was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and held at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church. Those who participated in the retreat/witness included members of Jonah House, the Atlantic Life Community and students from Loras College from Iowa. The theme of the retreat was: “Standing With the Crucified Christ Today.” Holy Thursday was a day of reflection, sharing, action planning and Liturgy. Good Friday was a day of public witness.

The retreat began with a very rich and inspiring communal Gospel sharing about crucifixion narrative from the Gospel of Luke (Lk. 23: 33-49) and it’s meaning for today. This was followed by a planning session for the Good Friday Pentagon and White House actions.  After dinner, there was a moving Maundy Thursday  Celebration and Prayer Service. Loras Students led a foot-washing ritual followed by Sr. Ardeth Platte and Sr. Carol Gilbert leading the Last Supper Commemoration.

On Good Friday, a nonviolent public witness was held at the Pentagon. At 7:00 a.m. the community processed from Army-Navy Dr. to the police designated protest zone with signs and small crosses with the names of different victims in our society and world written on them. As we processed we sang “We are A Gentle Angry People” (by Holly Near). 

Once we arrived at the Pentagon there was not, to our surprise, the usual large Pentagon police presence waiting for us. Carrying a copy of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, seven members of our community, instead of going into the designated protest area, walked to the police check point closest to the building. They proceeded to offer a prayerful litany with the response: “With every bomb, Christ is killed again!” They then spoke with a Pentagon police officer and requested to speak to a Pentagon official about the urgent necessity for Secretary of Defense Mattis and the Trump Administration to ratify this historic UN treaty. After presumably make a phone call to someone in the building to consider their request, the officer returned saying that they needed to go to the designated protest area. After over ten minutes, they were placed under arrest. They were taken to the Pentagon Police Center, processed and released within two hours. They were charged with “disobeying a lawful order” and given a violation notice to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA on May 3, 2018.

Simultaneously, as hundreds of Pentagon employees streamed into work, the rest of the community conducted a liturgy in the designated protest area. A huge banner that said: “U.S. Empire Crucifies Humanity” was displayed on the grassy slope overlooking the sidewalk going into the Pentagon metro entrance. Our leaflet was read (see below). Then two retreatants, dressed in a black robes representing victims of U.S.militarism and drone strikes, each took turns standing on a crate, with arms outstretched on a large cross. Reflections were read about each of the victims. In between the readings there was silence and singing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.”  The final reading was a reflection by Leonardo Boff, “Jesus Being Nailed to the Cross Today.” We concluded the witness by singing “At the Cross Her Station Keeping” (Stabat Mater) by Jacopone di Todi, with six new contemporary verses by Joe Byrne. 

As we left the Pentagon the Loras students led us in singing “ May I Be An Instrument Of Peace.” 

At noon-time, as hundreds of tourists looked on, we conducted a “contemporary crucifixion” on Pennsylvania Ave., directly in front of the White House. For this witness we were joined by an additional dozen peacemakers from the greater DMV area, and two friends from S. Korea. We began by reading our leaflet (see below). Then twelve crucified victims, wearing black robes and a sign signifying each victim, took turns for several minutes in silence, standing on a crate, with arms outstretched on a cross (see the crucified victims below). After each victim came off the cross we sang: “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.” A Buddhist bell was used to signal when each person would go onto the cross. After the 12th victim came off the cross, a reading about how Jesus is being crucified today, by Leonardo Boff, was offered. Joe Byrne then lead our concluding song, Stabat Mater. It was reported during our closing circle that many of the people who observed our witness and received our leaflet offered very positive feedback about the witness. We ended our witness and retreat by giving thanks to God for our time together, for all other nonviolent actions taking place around the world during marking this most Holy Day, and sharing a sign of peace.


Let us pray for each other during this Holy Season, and for all those in our world who are experiencing at this very moment the passion and death of Jesus. And let us be transformed by the cross and resurrection of Jesus as we seek to practice resurrection and be living signs of hope for our world.


In Resurrection Hope, 



Those Arrested:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Joe Byrne

Kathy Boylan

Anne-Marie Eslinger

Sr. Carol Gilbert

Libby Johnson

Sr. Ardeth Platte

Sr. Megan Rice

A Good Friday Plea: Stop Crucifixion Today!

Today is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. On this Good Friday, vast numbers of God’s global family experience a modern form of crucifixion as they are crucified to a cross of war, racism, militarism, economic exploitation and social injustice. In the crucified people of our world we see the crucified face of Jesus.

We, members of the Atlantic Life Community and students from the midwest, witness at the Pentagon and White House today to remember the victims who have been and continue to be crucified and deemed expendable, and to call for an immediate end to their crucifixion. We call, too, for an end to the desecration of our sacred earth.

We say loudly and clearly with Jesus: “Love one another,” “Love your enemies,” “Be merciful as God is merciful,” “Proclaim liberty to captives,“ and “Put away the sword.”

We appeal to the consciences of people everywhere, especially those who lead the nations, including our own, to eradicate what Dr. King called the “triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.” End all racial injustice! Welcome the immigrant! Stop all violence, torture and killing! Abolish war! Abolish all weapons—from guns used in our society, to killer drones used abroad, to the threatened use of nuclear weapons. Endorse the new UN Treaty To Prohibit Nuclear Weapons! Create a political and economic order that rejects empire, upholds the dignity and human rights of every person, protects the earth and meets the human needs of all! Work for nonviolent social transformation! Practice Resurrection!

Please join us as we strive to create the Beloved Community!

For more info contact:

Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649

Crucified Victims Remembered at the White House Good Friday Public Witness

Crucified Victim #1–Iraq War Victim 

Crucified Victim #2–Afghanistan War Victim

Crucified Victim #3–Drone bombing victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Crucified Victim #4–Victim of Militarism  

Crucified Victim #5—Yemen War Victim

Crucified Victim #6–Victim of Racial Violence

Crucified Victim #7–Victim of Economic Exploitation

Crucified Victim #8–Torture Victim (dressed as a GITMO prisoner)
Crucified Victim #9–Nonviolent Revolutionary Victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Crucified Victim #10–Imprisoned Victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Crucified Victim #11–Immigration Victim

Crucified Victim #12–Our Desecrated Earth       

Published in: on March 30, 2018 at 5:37 pm  Comments (1)  

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