BY Ryan McDougall | November 22 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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Scottish branch of international Catholic peace movement to hold launch event this weekend

The Scottish branch of an international Catholic peace movement is to host its debut event at the ­Conforti centre in ­Coatbridge later this month.

Pax Christi Scotland, which was founded earlier this year, is currently under the wing of Justice and Peace Scotland until it gains the necessary ­status to be recognised as an autonomous organisation within the wider international Pax Christi network.

The group will hold its first major launch event from Friday November 23 to Sunday 25. The weekend of reflection is to consist of workshops, talks and prayer on non-violence.

It will set out how the newly founded Pax Christi Scotland hopes to achieve its aims within the Church, households, schools and beyond.

Marian Pallister is the vice-chair of Justice and Peace Scotland, as well as their Argyll and the Isles commissioner, and is currently involved in leading the Scottish Pax Christi ­movement while it is under the guidance of Justice and Peace Scotland.

Explaining what will be ­happening at the weekend event, she said: “We’re going to be talking about the ­involvement of families, schools, and the parish.

“Looking at education, we have a speaker from the ­Scottish Catholic Education Service on the Saturday, and I’m going to be running a workshop with a headteacher from a primary school with one of her pupils and his dad.

“It will be talking about how we do ‘peace’ at home and in school and so on.

“It’s very much something that I think people should get along to, as they can book in for free.

“The Xavarians at Conforti have been very supportive—they set aside the weekend to promote it and get Pax Christi Scotland off the ground.

“Families or individuals can come for some or all of it, but the best thing would be to come for the whole package: to come on the Friday evening and come to all the workshops. We will finish with Mass on the Sunday.”

Explaining the ethos behind Pax Christi Scotland, she said that most people view them as an anti-nuclear organisation when, in fact, they are much more than that.
“While that is one of our most important things, ­campaigning against nukes is only a part of promoting peace in the Church and in the world,” Ms Pallister said.
“So our idea, as people can see from the flyer, is that we’re aiming at starting within the school, the parish and the wider community and that’s going to be at the forefront of the ­weekend.

“It’s something that ­everyone’s talking about: how much hatred there seems to be in the world.

“You look on social media and you see some things and think, ‘Ah, they’re making a really good point,’ then you read further and think, ‘Goodness me, the hate and language used there is so violent.’

“Obviously Pope Francis is urging us all to promote non-violence, so that’s really what we’re trying to do.”

Pax Christi Scotland was set up as a separate body of the wider UK Pax Christi movement earlier this year on the advice of the UK general secretary Pat Gaffney, who had met with members of the organisation from which the Scottish branch was eventually born.

Ms Gaffney told the SCO: “As a result of that meeting we had in Glasgow, the initial gathering of what Pax Christi could look like in Scotland was discussed and we said we would support it from the ­England and Wales office.

“We are very much aware that there is very good work being done in Scotland so far with Justice and Peace, and it should be something that is consistent that brings very much a Catholic flavour and spirit.

“So it’s very early days, but the fact that there is a group like this looking to bring ­people together is very ­encouraging.”

On why people should attend the Pax Christi Scotland event at the Conforti centre, Ms Pallister said: “People should come because, in this violent and unkind atmosphere that we have been witnessing in recent times, this is going to be a way forward, a way towards the non-violence that Pope Francis has seen in the world.”

Honor Hania, the chair of Justice and Peace Scotland, commented: “When we were first approached by the steering group which is working towards Pax Christi Scotland, we were delighted to offer them the support and resources of Justice and Peace Scotland.
“We look forward to seeing the fledgling organisation grow and develop and it can be assured of our assistance in the future.”

– To book your free place at the Pax Christi Scotland weekend of reflection, email:
anna@confortiinstitute.org

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