Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of  Repentance Outside the White House

When: Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019 — from Noon-1:00 p.m. 

Where: White House (north side on Pennsylvania Ave.) 

 “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15)

 “A Church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed – what Gospel is that”? – Archbishop Oscar Romero

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a time for personal and societal repentance, radical conversion, renewal and transformation. Living under the brutal occupation of the Roman empire, Jesus declared: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15) Living in the U.S. empire, which is responsible for so much needless death and suffering in our world, we need to heed Jesus’ proclamation now more than ever!

On Ash Wednesday, people from the faith-based peace and justice community in the D.C. area will hold a prayer service in front of the White House to call for repentance and conversion of ourselves, our society and our churches to the Gospel way of justice, nonviolence and a reverence for all life and creation.

Today, we are especially mindful of our urgent moral duty to proclaim the Gospel mandates of love, mercy and justice and to resist all forms of oppression, racial hatred, sexism, exploitation and violence. We commit ourselves to nonviolently resisting the hate-filled, fear-driven and destructive policies of the Trump administration and the U.S. power structure. We demand an end to racial profiling and police violence against African Americans and other people of color. We denounce the demonizing and targeting of Muslims. We deplore the detention and tear gassing of immigrants and the separation of whole families. We condemn Trump’s immoral executive order to expand the Border Wall. We decry the continuing repression of native peoples and the desecration of native lands and call for the cancellation of the Dakota Access and Keystone pipeline’s.

During this Holy Season, we call upon all people of faith and goodwill to join with us in seeking to eradicate what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.” While tax cuts are given to the rich, an estimated 140 million Americans are either poor or low income. Millions are without adequate health care. We call for an end to corporate domination, systemic racism and income inequality; justice for the poor and homeless; comprehensive immigration reform and affordable health care for all. We call for an end to torture, indefinite detention, the mass incarceration complex and the death penalty; for debt forgiveness for poor countries; and for continued aid to help rebuild Puerto Rico. We commit ourselves to upholding the human rights of all people.

We call for the U.S. to repent and make reparations for the suffering and death it has inflicted on other countries. We further call on the U.S. to pursue the path of nonviolent conflict resolution and to make peace with those countries it has militarily intervened in, destabilized and threatened to attack. We also call for an end to U.S. military intervention worldwide, including in Iraq, Afghanistan and Venezuela.

We call, too, for the abolition of war and the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good and protecting the earth, our common home.  We further call upon the entire U.S. political establishment to end its support for the Saudi war in Yemen, as well as Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. And we call for the closing of the over 800 U.S. military bases worldwide, including in Guantanamo.

As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has now moved the “doomsday clock” to two minutes to midnight, due to the twin perils nuclear weapons and climate change pose to civilization, we call for urgent action to be taken by the U.S. to ratify the historic UN Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and to end the climate crisis and safeguard the environment. We call, too, for an end to the U.S. militarization of space, and for the elimination of all weapons– from nuclear weapons to killer drones to guns.

Let us begin Lent together by joining in this important Ash Wednesday witness as we strive with sisters and brothers worldwide to make God’s reign of love, justice and peace a reality.

Ashes will be blessed and distributed. Please join us.

  • Art Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
  • Scott Wright, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
  • Jean Stokan, Justice Coordinator, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Institute Justice Team
  • Marie Dennis, Assisi Community
  • Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM, Assisi Community
  • Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore
  • Pax Christi USA
  • Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

For more info contact Art Laffin:, 202-360-6416.

Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 8:42 pm  Leave a Comment