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)  

Special Talk by Rev. William Lamar IV, The Triple Evils Revisited: King and American Imperialism

Speaker: Rev. William Lamar, IV — Pastor, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, WDC
Date: Friday, April 6, 2018 @ 7:30 p.m 
Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010

William H. Lamar IV is pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. Ordained as an itinerant elder in 2000 at the Florida Annual Conference of the AME Church, Lamar has also served congregations in Monticello, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; and Hyattsville, Maryland.Prior to his two most recent appointments (in Maryland and the District of Columbia), Lamar was the managing director of Leadership Education at Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Through his association with Duke, he convened and resourced executive pastors of larges churches, denominational finance executives, young denominational leaders, Methodist bishops, and the constituency of Lilly Endowment’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Program. For nearly 15 years, Lamar has been actively involved with organizations like Direct Action Research Training (DART), Industrial Areas Foundations (IAF), and Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) for faith-based community organizing for justice. Most recently, he has collaborated with Repairers of the Breach, the Center for Community Change (CCC), and People Improving Communities through Organization (PICO) to enact a social justice ministry in surrounding communities and to exhibit a real embrace the beloved community. Under his leadership, Metropolitan remains committed to worship, liberation, and service.

A 1996 magna cum laude graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Lamar earned the Bachelor of Science degree in Public Management with a minor in Philosophy and Religion and a certificate in Human Resource Management. In 1999, he earned the Master of Divinity degree from Duke University. Lamar is currently a doctoralstudent in the inaugural cohort of Christian Theological Seminary’s Ph.D. program in African-American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric. An avid reader and writer, Lamar has published articles in outlets such as Christian CenturyThe Christian RecorderDivinity Magazine, “,” The Anvil, “,” and the “Huffington Post.” He has also been featured in The Washington Post and the Afro- American and on “The Takeaway,” the “Huffington Post Live,” and PBS “News Hour.”

Lamar is honored to serve Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he seeks daily to extend the cathedral of African Methodism’s nearly two centuries-long legacy of bearing witness to and ushering into this world the reign of the living God.    


Please join us for this special evening, bring a friend and share widely!

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker:
Published in: on March 20, 2018 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  



WHEN: Holy Thursday, March 29, 2018 @ 1:00 PM through Good Friday, March 30, 2018 @1:00 PM.

We will gather at 1:00 PM on Holy Thursday, and conclude on Good Friday, following a Noon-time nonviolent witness at the White House.

WHAT: Please join in a time of prayer, reflection, community building and acts of nonviolent resistance to commemorate the Last Supper, arrest, torture, trial and crucifixion of Jesus, and what it means for us today. There will be two nonviolent actions on Good Friday at the Pentagon and White House.

WHERE: St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church (Auditorium), 1525 Newton St. NW, Washington, DC 20010 (corner of 16th St. and Newton).

WHAT TO BRING: There will be overnight hospitality at St. Stephen’s. Please bring bedding. 
Also please bring food for a pot-luck breakfast.
PARKING: There is no parking in the St. Stephen Parking lot. There is some unrestricted parking on side streets north of the church. Please make sure to check street signs.  
CLOSEST METRO: Columbia Heights-Green Line. For more info please see:
This retreat/public witness is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. As in year’s past, students from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa will join with us.
Please join us!  If you can come to all or part of the retreat/witness, please let us know. 
For more info contact: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker,
Published in: on March 12, 2018 at 9:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

In Concert– Charlie King at Soteria Community School, March 9, 2018 @ 7:30 p.m

What: Charlie King   (

When: Friday, March 9, 2018 
            Doors Open at 7:00 PM — Concert to begin at 7:30 PM 
WhereSoteria Community School, Festival Center1640 Columbia Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20009.
Metro: Closest metro is Columbia Heights (green line) For metro info see:
How Much: Free Will Offering – (Suggested Donation – $20) This program is open to the public.
Sponsored by: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker — Co-Sponsored by: Soteria Community School

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. He has been at the heart of American folk music for half a century.  He sings and writes passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. His songs have been sung by Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, John McCutcheon, Arlo Guthrie, Peggy Seeger, Chad Mitchell and Judy Small. His political musical influences are the folk music revival of the 1960’s, and the protest songs of the Civil Rights and Vietnam War era. 

“With encouraging regularity, Charlie King emerges from his self-reflection to remind us of the happy resilience of the human spirit. His message songs vary between the funny and the frightening, but he pulls them off with unvarying taste, musical skill, and charm.” — Billboard

“One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.” — Pete Seeger


For more info contact: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker:


Published in: on February 21, 2018 at 11:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Report of Ash Wednesday Liturgy of Repentance Outside White House-February 14, 2018

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 area gathered outside the White House for a Liturgy of Repentance that was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (see attached photo: courtesy of Art Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker)


I am deeply grateful to everyone who attended this Liturgy and for each of the program participants who read, sang and offered such inspiring and moving prayers, reflections and symbols. Below is the program for the Liturgy as well as the Opening Reflection/Litany that was offered. Toward the end of the Liturgy, ashes were blessed and distributed among the participants. After people received blessed ashes, peacemakers used a different batch of wood stove ashes to mark Pennsylvania Ave., directly in front of the White House, as a sign of repentance for the sins of the nation as well as our commitment to follow the Gospel. 

During this Holy 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 and peace a reality.


With great gratitude, Art  



February 14, 2018— Outside White House

Opening 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…

Welcome: Art Laffin

Reading: Joel: 2, 12-18 — Colleen McCarthy  

Reading: From the writings of Archbishop Oscar Romero — Kathy Boylan

Reflection/Litany: Art Laffin/Judith Kelly/Sr. Megan Rice/Liz McAlister

Response– Sing: God forgive the wrong we’ve done, God forgive us now (2x’s)

Prayers from Faith-Based Peace and Justice Groups:

Scott Wright: Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Marie Dennis: Assisi Community, Pax Christi International

Andrea Barron: TASSC

Sr. Patty Chappell: Pax Christi USA

Patrick Carolan: Franciscan Action Network

Jean Stokan: Sisters of Mercy Justice Team

Gerry Lee: Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Mary Liepold: Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore

Daniel Flynn: Catholic Mobilizing Network

MJ Park: Little Friends for Peace

Prayer for Prisoners: Mike Walli

Song: Ashes (by Tom Conry) — (led by 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: Friar Mike Lasky, OFM Conv. 

Ash Ritual—Marking Pennsylvania Ave. with the symbol of Ashes

Closing Prayer: Paul Magno

Closing Song: World Peace Prayer  (led by 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.

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:

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:

Opening Reflection/Litany

(Prepared by Art Laffin)

Read by Judith Kelly/Art Laffin/Sr. Megan Rice/Liz McAlister

Good Afternoon. We greet everyone here at the White House in a spirit of peace and nonviolence.

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, we need to heed Jesus’ proclamation now more than ever.

Today is also Valentine’s Day, a day in which the Catholic Church and many other churches commemorate St. Valentine, the 3rd century Roman martyr.

We, people from different faith-based communities committed to nonviolence, social justice and peace,  summon the cloud witnesses 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, and a reverence for all life and creation.

We now offer our Ash Wednesday prayer and we beg forgiveness of our own sinfulness and that of our nation, O merciful God.

As we stand outside the White House, and in proximity to other seats of political, economic and military power in this area, we implore You, O God, to banish every diabolic power and every 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.                                                                                                                                           Sung responseGod Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2 x’s)

Living in a nation whose origin is rooted in white supremacy, racism, sexism and mistreatment of women, slavery and genocide, we pray in repentance for those sins that has caused so much needless death and suffering in our society and world—past and present. We acknowledge the church’s complicity in these sins. As the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative declared in its April 2016 Appeal: “Clearly the Word of God, the witness of Jesus, should never be used to justify violence, injustice and war. We confess that the people of God have betrayed the Gospel of Nonviolence many times, participating in wars, persecutions, oppression, exploitation and discrimination.”

Sung responseGod Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2 x’s)

We pray for all those–past and present–who have been and continue to be crucified to a cross of racial hatred. We remember and pray for all those American Indians and African Americans who were slaughtered, enslaved, lynched and murdered, and who continue to be oppressed, simply because of their skin color.

Sung responseGod Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2 x’s)

Today, we are especially mindful of our duty as Christians to proclaim the Gospel mandates of love, mercy and justice and to nonviolently resist the hate-filled, fear-driven and destructive policies of the Trump administration and its congressional and corporate allies. We denounce racial profiling and police and vigilante violence against African Americans and other people of color. We decry the fact that a disproportionate number of African Americans are imprisoned, executed and victims of police violence. We denounce the demonizing and targeting of Muslims. We denounce the ICE raids, detention and the prospect of mass deportation of immigrants as well as any expansion of a Border Wall. We denounce the continuing oppression of native peoples and the desecration of native lands and call for the cancellation of the Dakota Access and Keystone pipeline’s. We call for the immediate release of Leonard Peltier, Native American political prisoner serving a life sentence, who has been imprisoned for 42 years and in declining health. We commit ourselves to ending all forms of racial hatred, sexism and discrimination and to upholding the human rights of all people.

Sung response: God Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2 x’s)

During this Holy Season, we call upon the nation and churches to join with us, and countless others, including the new Poor People’s Campaign, in seeking to eradicate what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.” While the Trump Administration awards tax cuts to the rich and just received congressional approval for a record $700 billion military budget, 41 million Americans are living below the poverty line, over 7,400 are homeless in D.C. and millions are without adequate health care. We call for an end to a political and economic order that fosters and perpetuates corporate domination, systemic racism and income inequality. We call for economic justice for the poor, homeless and jobless; comprehensive immigration reform, including the passage of a “Clean Dream Act;” and affordable health care and housing for all. We call for an end to torture, indefinite detention, the mass incarceration complex, and the death penalty; debt forgiveness for poor countries; and that all necessary aid be allocated to help rebuild Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sung responseGod Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2 x’s)

When will the U.S. government repent for the death, destruction, trauma and destablization it has caused, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and South America, through its years of military intervention, warmaking, arms sales and oppressive trade agreements, which has helped create the conditions for the rise of the Islamic State and a massive refugee and immigration crisis?

Sung responseGod Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2 x’s)

Now is the time for the U.S. to repent and make reparations for the violence, death and suffering that it has inflicted on other countries, most recently in Iraq (especially Mosul), as well as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Libya. We demand an end end to U.S. military intervention worldwide, including the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen. As a result of this deadly war, an estimated 10,000 people have died, 7 million Yemenis face starvation and the number of cholera cases is expected to reach 1 million. We call on the U.S. to reject the way of revenge and retaliation as a response to conflict, to make peace with the Islamic State, Iran and Russia, and to negotiate a peace agreement with Syria and N. Korea. We call, too, on the U.S. to halt all arms sales worldwide and to end its support for the illegitimate government in Honduras and Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. We call for the closure of the over 800 U.S. military bases worldwide, including in Guantanamo, S. Korea, Okinawa, Japan and in Africa. And we call 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.

Sung responseGod Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2 x’s)

We call on our nation to repent for the nuclear sin— for building, testing, using and continuing to build and threaten to use nuclear weapons. We remember and pray for all the victims of the nuclear age. We confess that the way we live today is desecrating the earth, changing the climate, the seas and the balance of life, and dispossessing the poor and future generations. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has moved the “doomsday clock” to two minutes to midnight, because of the twin dangers nuclear weapons and climate change pose for civilization. The nuclear threat is further exacerbated today by the risk of accidental use and provocative actions towards N. Korea by an unpredictable U.S. President. We call on the Trump Administration to rescind its new Nuclear Posture Review and to heed the admonition of Pope Francis who has condemned the possession of nuclear weapons and called for their total elimination. We call, too, on the U.S. government to abandon its $1 trillion nuclear modernization program and immediately ratify the historic UN Treaty for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. We also demand that urgent action be taken to end the climate crisis by becoming responsible stewards of the earth’s resources, ending our dependency on fossil fuels and pursing renewable energy.


We also call for an end to the U.S. militarization of space and for the elimination of all weapons–from guns to killer drones to nuclear weapons.

Sung responseGod Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2 x’s)

Dorothy Day declared, “The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.” On this Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day, we commit ourselves to bringing about a revolution of the heart which can lead to a nonviolent revolution and transformation of our society and world. We are inspired by all those who have already undertaken this task, especially so many courageous women worldwide. Let us work in solidarity with sister’s and brother’s everywhere to create the Beloved Community as we seek to redeem the times by making God’s reign of love, justice and peace a reality in our society and world, right here, right now!

Published in: on February 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm  Comments (2)