Suzanne Belote Shanley and Brayton Shanley to Speak at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker–“Loving Life on the Margins: The Story of the Agape Community” –March 6, 2020 @ 7:30 p.m.



Loving Life on the Margins: The Story of the Agape Community

Speakers: Suzanne Belote Shanley and Brayton Shanley 

Date: Friday, March 6, 2020 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010

Suzanne and Brayton are co-founders of The Agape Community, a lay Catholic residential community on 34 acres of land in Central Massachusetts.  Started 37 years ago, Agape has welcomed hundreds for retreats and rural immersions to learn contemplation, nonviolence, and sustainability. The community is involved in interfaith dialogue and practice, including witness and action against war and capital punishment, and has hosted gatherings to listen to those experiencing racial injustices. 

Suzanne and Brayton will share the remarkable story of the Agape Community and their life-giving ministry, which is recounted in their newly published book titled: “Loving Life on the Margin: The Story of the Agape Community.” Copies of their book will be available for sale.  

For more in please see:

Please Join Us! 

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649,

Published in: on February 29, 2020 at 8:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Report of Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of Repentance Outside the White House–February 26, 2020

“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”?
“This Lent, which we observe amid blood and sorrow, ought to presage a transfiguration of our people, a resurrection of our nation. The church invites us to a modern form of penance, of fasting and prayer – perennial Christian practices, but adapted to the circumstances of each people…
Lenten fasting is not the same thing in those lands where people eat well as is a Lent among our third-world peoples, undernourished as they are, living in a perpetual Lent, always fasting. For those who eat well, Lent is a call to austerity, a call to give away in order to share with those in need. But in poor lands, in homes where there is hunger, Lent should be observed in order to give to the sacrifice that is everyday life the meaning of the cross…
But it should not be out of a mistaken sense of resignation. God does not want that. Rather, feeling in one’s flesh the consequences of sin and injustice, one is stimulated to work for social justice and a genuine love for the poor. Our Lent should awaken a sense of social justice…”
From the writings of St. Oscar Romero,
Martyred Archbishop San Salvador

Dear Friends,

Today, Ash Wednesday, from Noon-1:00 PM, over 50 peacemakers from the faith-based peace and justice community in the D.C.-Baltimore-Virginia, gathered outside the White House for a Prayer Service of Repentance. This Liturgy was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Groups that endorsed and participated in this prayer service included the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Jonah House, Assisi Community, Pax Christi, Little Friends for Peace, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Franciscan Action Network, and the Sisters of Mercy Justice Team.

Due to construction of a scandalous new $64 million White House fence, the center part of Pennsylvania Ave. is close indefinitely. We, therefore, met at the Peace Park Vigil site (going non-stop 24/7 since 1981) on the south side of Lafayette park at Noon. We then processed west to where the street is open to the public, near the White House Press Gate and Old Executive Office Bldg, still in view of the White House. There we held our prayer service.

I am deeply grateful to everyone who attended this prayer service and for each of the program participants who read, sang and offered such inspiring and moving prayers/reflections. Below is the program for the Prayer Service as well as the Litany that was offered. Toward the end of the service, ashes that were blessed by Fr. Joe Nangle were distributed among the participants. After receiving the ashes, peacemakers used a different batch of wood-stove ashes to mark Pennsylvania Ave., as a sign of repentance for the sins of the nation as well as our commitment to follow the Gospel. (see attached photo)  

During this Holy Lenten Season, let us pray with and for each other, and for our church and world, that we can truly repent and convert our lives to making God’s reign of love, justice, mercy and peace a reality.

With great gratitude,




February 26, 2020 Noon-1:00 PM — Outside White House

Welcome: Art Laffin

Reading: Joel: 2, 12-18 — Sr. Marie Lucey

Reading: From the writings of St. Oscar Romero — Jean Stokan

Litany: Art Laffin/Judy Coode/Jean Stokan/ Paul Magno/Sr.Carol Gilbert/Sr. Ardeth Platte

Response– Sing: God forgive the wrong we’ve done, God forgive us now

Concluding Litany Prayer: Judith Kelly

Song: Prayer of Peace — Joe Byrne

Peace before us, peace behind us, peace under our feet..

Peace within us, peace over us, let all around us be peace..Love before us…

Prayers from Faith-Based Peace and Justice Groups:

Marie Dennis: Assisi Community

Susan Gunn: Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

MJ Park: Little Friends for Peace

Remembering Truth-Tellers, Whistleblowers and Prisoners: Kathy Boylan and Mike Walli

Song: Ashes (by Tom Conry) — Joe

We rise again from ashes from the good we’ve failed to do. We rise again from ashes to create ourselves anew. If all our world is ashes, then must our lives be true, an offering of ashes, an offering to You.

We offer You our failures, we offer You attempts; the gifts not fully given, the dreams not fully dreamt. Give our stumblings direction, give our visions wider view, an offering of ashes, an offering to You.

Then rise again from ashes, let healing come to pain, though spring has turned to winter, and sunshine turned to rain. The rain we’ll use for growing, and create the world anew, from an offering of ashes, an offering to you.

Blessing and Distribution of Ashes — Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM

Ash Ritual on Pennsylvania Ave.

Closing Reading/Prayer– Jack McHale

Closing Song: World Peace Prayer — Joe and Art

Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth, From despair to hope, from fear to trust;

Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace; Let peace fill our hearts, let peace fill our world, Let peace fill our universe.

V. 1-Let justice ever roll, let mercy fill the earth. Let us begin to grow into your people. We can be love, we can bring peace, We can still be your way of compassion. Refrain.

V.2-Still all the angry cries, still all the angry guns, Still now your people die, earth’s sons and daughters. Let Justice roll, let mercy pour down, come and teach us Your way of compassion. Refrain.

Litany for Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of Repentance 

(Prepared by Art Laffin)

Litany: Offered by Art/Judy Coode/Jean Stokan/ Paul Magno/Sr.Carol Gilbert/Sr. Ardeth Platte


Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time for personal and societal repentance, radical conversion 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.” 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 of repentance and conversion now more than ever.

As we stand in the presence of God, we call on Jesus, our crucified and Risen Savior, and summon the cloud witnesses–past and present–as we come to pray and witness outside the White House, calling for repentance and conversion of ourselves, our society and our churches to the Gospel way of love, justice, nonviolence and a reverence for all life. As we stand in view of a new $64 million fence being constructed around the White House, yet another injustice and blatant example of how $ is diverted from the public treasury to protect the rich and powerful instead of on assisting the poor, we commit ourselves to praying and working for an end to all fences and walls, and all that separates, wounds and divides God’s global family.

As we witness outside the White House, and in proximity to other seats of political, corporate, military and judicial power in this area, we implore You, O God, to banish every diabolic power and evil influence from these places. Help all Your people, who are made in Your very image, to respect the sacredness of all life and reject the idols of death. With contrite hearts and believing that all things are possible if we place our trust in You, O God, that we offer this litany.



Published in: on February 26, 2020 at 6:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of Repentance Outside the White House

When: Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020 — from Noon-1:00 p.m. 

Where: NEW LOCATION White House, north side on Pennsylvania Ave. Due to construction of a new $64 million fence around the White House, we cannot be on the street directly in front of the White House. We will meet at Noon in Lafayette Park at the Peace Park vigil site and then process west a short distance towards where there are no barricades and go into Pennsylvania Ave., near the press gate and Old Executive Office Building (Blair House is across the street). If you arrive after Noon,  Walk west along Lafayette Park and then at the end of Park pedestrians are permitted to walk onto non-fenced off area of 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 destructive policies of the Trump administration, congress and the U.S. corporate 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 of immigrants and the separation of whole families. We condemn 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 American 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 the Islamic State, Iran, Russia, Venezuela and N. Korea. 

We decry the $738 billion military budget for 2020. We call for the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good and protecting the earth, our common home. We also call for an end to U.S. military intervention worldwide, including in Iraq, Afghanistan and Venezuela. 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 100 seconds to midnight, due to the twin perils nuclear weapons and climate change, 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 for the abolition of war, for an end to the U.S. militarization of space, and for the elimination of all weapons– from nuclear weapons to killer drones to ALL guns.

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

Ashes will be blessed and distributed. Please join us.

  • Scott Wright, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
  • Jean Stokan, Sisters of Mercy Justice Team
  • Marie Dennis, Assisi Community
  • Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM, Assisi Community
  • Susan Gunn, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • Johnny Zokovitch, Pax Christi USA
  • Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore
  • Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

For more info contact Art Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker:, 202-360-6416.

Published in: on February 16, 2020 at 3:41 pm  Leave a Comment