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  

February 1, 2019 Speaker at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

Challenging Mass Incarceration

Speaker: Dr. Nazgol Ghandnoosh

Date: Friday, February 1, 2019 @ 7:30 p.m.

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

Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., is a senior research analyst with The Sentencing Project. She conducts and synthesizes research on criminal justice policies and has written about racial disparities in the justice system, public opinion about punishment, and the scope of reform efforts.  Her report, Delaying a Second Chance: The Declining Prospects for Parole on Life Sentences, examines how states and the federal government have increased prison terms for people with parole-eligible life sentences. She regularly presents to academic, practitioner, and general audiences and her work has been featured in outlets including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and WNYC’s On the Media. She also edits The Sentencing Project’s Race and Justice Newsletter.

Dr. Ghandnoosh earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation, Challenging Mass Incarceration: A California Group’s Advocacy for the Parole Release Life Term-to-Life Prisoners,” was an in depth study of a South Los Angeles-based group challenging severe sentences. 

For more info about The Sentencing Project see:                              

The Sentencing Project is a leader in changing the way Americans think about crime and punishment.

Please join us!

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker:



Published in: on January 21, 2019 at 9:42 am  Leave a Comment  

NO Clarification of Thought Speaker at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in January–Support Witness Against Torture Events To Close Guantanamo


Dear Friends,

There will NOT be a speaker at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in January.   We encourage people to support the Witness Against Torture Fast for Justice and related events to close Guantanamo from January 6-13. For more info please see:



We especially encourage you to attend two important events: 

  1. Thursday, January 10 — 6:00–8:30 pm: Panel Presentation – The State of Muslim Rights in the US War on Terror @Public Welfare Foundation Inc., 1200 U Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20009.
  2. Friday, January 11, 2:30 p.m. -– Coalition Rally at White House, commemorating 17 years of Guantanamo.

Please check Witness Against Torture daily for possible schedule changes. 

We wish you every good blessing in this New Year.


In peace and hope,

Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

Published in: on January 2, 2019 at 9:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holy Innocents Retreat and Pentagon Witness–Four Arrested–

Holy Innocents Retreat and Pentagon Witness
(The above photos was taken at the start of the Pentagon witness)

Dear Friends,

From December 27-28, about 20 members from the Atlantic and Southern Life communities, and other peacemaking friends, gathered for a retreat at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church in Washington, D.C., and a nonviolent witness at the Pentagon to commemorate the Massacre of the Holy Innocents – past and present.

The retreat began at 2 PM on December 27 with introductions and orientation followed by a very rich community Lectio Divina scripture sharing on Matthew’s account of the massacre of the innocents. (Mt. 2:13-18)  

After a short break, Joan and Don Wages, along with their amazing college age sons, Nolan and Jackson, offered an inspiring presentation about their family journey to follow the Gospel call of nonviolence. This included Don sharing about why he left his job working for the military contractor Lockheed Martin, and Joan’s decision to become involved in social activism and civil resistance actions. The remainder of the afternoon was spent in preparation for the nonviolent witness at the Pentagon. 

After dinner we celebrated liturgy together. As part of the liturgy we listened to and reflected together in small groups on the audio version of Martin Luther King Jr’s powerful Christmas Sermon on Peace of 1967, which was recorded as part of the Massey Lectures on CBC radio. The sermon was accompanied by a compelling slide show documenting King’s involvement in the civil rights and peace movements.  

Braving a heavy steady rain, the community gathered early the next morning at the Pentagon’s southeast entrance with signs and banners. As we exited the metro we were met by a Pentagon police detail who escorted us to the designated  protest area. As Pentagon workers walked by, an introduction to our presence was offered. The Gospel passage about the slaughter of the holy innocents was proclaimed. The Coventry Carols was sung. A litany was offered (see below) interspersed with the refrain: “War Hurts Children—Help Us End War.” And a prayer and blessing was given by Janice, one of the four about to risk arrest.

Carrying copies of the “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” with the intention of delivering it to a Pentagon official and requesting that the U.S. ratify it, four members of the community made their way to the police check point closest to the building where they encountered  Pentagon police. They were told by the officers that they must leave or face arrest. While the first several paragraphs of the Treaty were read,  a Pentagon worker passed by and said “Thank you for keeping us honest.” After arrest warnings were given they were placed under arrest. As the four were being escorted to police vehicles, the rest of the community, from a distance sang “The Cry of Ramah!” The witness concluded with everyone singing “Vine and Fig Tree” as the community processed down the escalator and into the Pentagon metro station lobby.

Upon returning to the church, there was a pot-luck breakfast, clean-up, and an evaluation of the Pentagon witness and retreat. We were all ever so grateful for our time together. 

The four who were arrested were taken to the Pentagon Police center where they were processed and charged with “Disobeying A Lawful Order.” All were released and given a March 21 court date at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA. 

However, the group will request a new court date as several people will not be able to make the assigned court appearance. 


Those Arrested:

Joan Wages

Bill Frankel-Streit

Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Dave MacMillan



Pentagon Litany

The Massacre of the Innocents Starts at the Pentagon! Let us Stop It Here and Now!


Today, Christian churches commemorate the Massacre of the Holy Innocents, recalling how Herod, fearful of being removed from power, sought to destroy the child Jesus by ordering the slaughter of boys under two years old in and around Bethlehem. We, members of the Atlantic and Southern Life Communities and other peace groups, come to the Pentagon, the center of warmaking on our planet, to remember the  innocents who have died–past and present–due to greed, oppression, racism and war. Today, in this time of perpetual war and climate chaos, the lives of countless innocents, like those in Bethlehem, are endangered. Our faith compels us to nonviolently resist this onslaught.

Refrain: War Hurts Children, Help Us End War! 

The United States military magnifies destruction across the globe, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and throughout the Middle East. From overt wars to covert “dirty wars,” which involve the use of lethal killer drones, countless lives are destroyed, displaced and disappeared. We are ever so mindful that children are always the first victims of war.

Refrain: War Hurts Children, Help Us End War! 

 In Yemen, the U.S. continues to provide direct military support and weapons to Saudi Arabia in its brutal war against the Houthi rebels, even though a recent Senate resolution called for an end to such support. Thousands have died from the war, starvation is widespread and suspected cholera cases have exceeded one million. 

Refrain: War Hurts Children, Help Us End War! 

Save the Children conservatively estimates that 85,000 Yemeni children under age five  have died from starvation and disease during the last three years. Mainstream media and even governments of large and wealthy countries are finally beginning to acknowledge the anguish suffered by Yemeni children and their families. Stark photos show listless, skeletal children who are minutes or days away from death.                            

Refrain: War Hurts Children, Help Us End War! 

Since 2010, according to The New York Times, the United States has sold the Saudis thirty F-15 multirole jet fighters, eighty-four combat helicopters, 110 air-to-surface cruise missiles, and 20,000 precision guided bombs. Last year, the United States also sold the Saudis ten maritime helicopters in a $1.9 billion deal. A Lockheed Martin made bomb was used in the Saudi bombing of a school bus in Yemen on Aug. 9, 2018 killing over 40 children. 

Refrain: War Hurts Children, Help Us End War! 

The violence of the U.S. power structure is unrelenting. Within our own boundaries it continues to crush the poor, target people of color, demonize Muslims, oversee a mass incarceration complex, demean, detain, tear gas and separate immigrants and their families and militarize the southern border. To date eight migrants have died at the border in U.S. custody, including two children, Felipe and Jakilyn.

Refrain: War Hurts Children, Help Us End War! 

Fear, violence and greed are the hallmarks of the Trump Administration and U.S. power structure. And always, the existence of nuclear weapons puts all life in utter peril. This threat is further exacerbated by past and present provocative actions towards N. Korea and Iran by an unpredictable president, the deployment of U.S. missile defense systems designed to threaten and contain Russia and China, and the U.S. militarization of space.

Refrain: War Hurts Children, Help Us End War! 

Every day, the world’s addiction to oil, natural gas and nuclear power is the cause of environmental contamination that is threatening global devastation. The Dakota Access pipeline is but one example of the earth’s desecration, and which is continuing to be courageously resisted by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other water protectors. With nearly 800 military bases worldwide establishing its vast war machine, the Pentagon is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, making it a major contributor to destabilizing the climate. 

Refrain: War Hurts Children, Help Us End War! 

Redeem the times,” proclaims the late peacemaking prophet, Jesuit Priest, Daniel Berrigan, along with countless others. “The times are inexpressibly evil.  And yet, the times are inexhaustibly good, solaced by the courage and hope of many. The truth rules, Christ is not forsaken.”

The violence, massacres and disregard for the truth and human life stops here today at the Pentagon. Now is the time for personal and societal transformation. In solidarity with sisters and brothers around the world, we resolve to:

–renounce and resist all killing, violence, racism and torture

–end environmental destruction, poverty and economic inequality

–respect the human rights of all people, especially immigrants and refugees                           

–train and form diplomats, truth commissions, developers of international economies, trade specialists, nonviolent reconciliation teams, hospital ships, institutes for justice and peace, renewable energy implementation, mass transit lines, etc.

–commit in policy that our country eliminate war and weapons forever, hammer all swords into plowshares and convert the war economy so our planet and people may live

–build homes for all, assure healthy food for all,  develop health care and education for all, plan an economy for full employment

–implore the U.S. and all nuclear nations to sign, ratify, and implement the UN Treaty for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons 

–celebrate God’s creation with joy.

As we move into a New Year we invite you to join with us as we strive to create the beloved community and a nonviolent world.


Published in: on December 29, 2018 at 1:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Holy Innocents Faith and Resistance Retreat/Witness

WHEN: Thursday, December 27, 2018 at 1:00 PM — Friday, December 28 at Noon

WHERE: St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church, 1525 Newton St. NW, Washington, DC 20010 

WHAT: Please join members of the Atlantic and Southern Life communities and other peacemaking friends in a time of prayer, reflection and nonviolent witness to commemorate the Massacre of the Holy Innocents – past and present. We ask that people arrive by 1:00 PM so that we can begin our gathering around 1:30 PM.  

On Thursday, we will reflect on the scriptural passage of the slaughter on the holy innocents and its meaning for us today. Joan and Don Wages will share about their journey into nonviolence, how they have tried to embody nonviolence in their life-style and family living, and the challenges they have faced. We will plan our nonviolent witness for the next day. And, as part of our liturgy, we will listen to and reflect together on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Christmas Sermon on Peace that he delivered on Dec. 24, 1967 (see link below). This was Dr. King’s final Christmas sermon.  

In our public witness at the Pentagon we will convey our hope for a disarmed world–a world free of war, nuclear weapons, killer drones, all weapons, racial hatred, torture, systemic oppression, social inequality and climate chaos. 

WHAT TO BRING: Please bring sleeping bags and bedding for sleeping in the church sanctuary. Also please bring food for a pot-luck breakfast on December 28. 

During this time we remember in a special way the Kings Bay Plowshares as they prepare for their upcoming trial (date still unknown). Liz McAlister, Steve Kelly and Mark Colville are currently in Glynn County Detention Center in Brunswick, Georgia. Martha Hennessy, Patrick O’Neill, Clare Grady and Carmen Trotta remain out on bond and have court mandated electronic monitors, curfews and other restrictions. 

We also hold in our hearts the children and people of Yemen who are experiencing widespread famine, cholera and death as a result of the ruthless U.S.-backed Saudi war being waged against them. On December 13, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution calling for an end to U.S. military and financial support for this criminal war. This represents the first time in U.S. history the Senate has voted to withdraw military military forces from an unauthorized war using the War Powers  Resolution. However the House narrowly voted to continue U.S. support, and Mr. Trump has threatened a veto. 

We remember, too, the suffering Palestinian people who continue to live under a brutal Israeli state of siege, the courageous migrant caravan on the Mexico-U.S. border, and all immigrants and refugees who are fleeing repression and war. 

As we daily face what Dr. King called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism, and as we confront the “apocalyptic twins” of nuclear war and global warming, let us pray for each other as we seek to make the Word flesh in building, ever wider and stronger, the Beloved Community. Let us recommit ourselves to ending the slaughter of innocents everywhere!

Please join us. 

For more info contact Art Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker:

Martin Luther King Speaks! “A Christmas Service for Peace” Massey Lecture Five December 24, 1967
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Published in: on December 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm  Leave a Comment