PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, honored Joseph Nangle by naming him “Ambassador of Peace.” This designation is used to elevate the outstanding contribution of Pax Christi members who have provided leadership and direction for the Catholic peace and justice movement in the U.S.
Joe, along with three other recipients, was given this honor at Pax Christi USA’s 2006 national conference, “God’s People Can Wait No Longer: Twenty Years Since Economic Justice for All,” which was held July 28-30 at Duquesne University here.
In giving this award, Pax Christi USA noted, “Joe Nangle… your life was transformed and your deep commitment to social justice was fired in the furnace of Peruvian poverty. The poor of Lima, who loved and welcomed you, taught you so well vital lessons from the Gospel about liberation. For over 30 years, you have faithfully brought their stories, their worldview, and their theological insights to this world and to Pax Christi.”
“You have made justice for the impoverished people of our world the heart of the heart of the matter,” the comemoration went on to say. “During your service on the national council of Pax Christi USA and on the board of Metro DC Pax Christi, you have been an unwavering advocate for social transformation.”
Joe has represented Pax Christi USA as a media spokesperson, in nonviolent direct actions, and on delegations, including a 2003 religious leaders’ delegation that met with Pope John Paul II in the lead-up to the Iraq war, to ask the Pope to visit the United Nations to address the U.N. Security Council on his opposition to war.
Also receiving this honor were Cathleen Crayton, Beatrice Parwatikar and Janice Vanderhaar.
Cathleen Crayton is a former executive committee member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, and a founding member of Pax Christi USA’s Anti-Racism Team (PCART). Cathleen has served in the leadership of Pax Christi Southern California, and currently serves on the board of directors for NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, and on the San Gabriel Regional Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Beatrice Parwatikar is a former executive committee member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, and also a founding member of Pax Christi USA’s Anti-Racism Team (PCART). Beatrice has represented Pax Christi USA on delegations to Croatia, Tanzania, and most recently to the Gulf Coast on a trip organized by the National Black Catholic Congress six months after Hurricane Katrina. In 2004, Beatrice participated in a nonviolent direct action outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., to call attention to the genocide taking place in Darfur. Beatrice is a member of Pax Christi Burlington, and has also been active with Racial Justice 9/11, Incite (Women of Color Against Violence), and the National Black Catholic Congress.
Janice Vanderhaar is a former member of Pax Christi USA’s National Council, and a founding member of Pax Christi Memphis. Janice has been closely involved in the work of Pax Christi International for more than three decades, and was instrumental in the founding of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. Janice also serves on the boards of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, and the World Cataract Foundation.
Pax Christi USA Executive Director Dave Robinson said that the four recipients have been spiritual mentors for the Catholic peace movement, standing at the forefront of the struggle for social justice for many years.
“Cathleen, Fr. Joseph, Beatrice and Janice have never wavered in their commitment to build a world that reflects the peace of Christ, and toward promoting the gospel imperative of peacemaking in the Catholic Church and beyond,” said Robinson. “These four individuals have served Pax Christi in important ways and in critical times throughout our 35-year history, including serving on our national council, representing Pax Christi USA on international delegations, participating as members of our anti-racism team, and much more. We are grateful for their past and present contributions to our movement, and are honored to now consider them Ambassadors of Peace.”
Pax Christi USA is the national Catholic peace movement, reaching more than half a million Catholics in the United States each year. Membership includes more than 130 U.S. bishops, 800 parishes, 650 religious communities, and 300 local groups. Pax Christi USA is part of Pax Christi International, the international Catholic peace movement with consultative status at the United Nations.
[Joe is pictured here with Marie Dennis, SFO, a Pax Christi USA “Ambassor of Peace” and a member of the Assisi Community. Marie presented the award to Joe. Photo: Octavio Duran]