Called “The Beatitudes Center for the Nonviolent Jesus”
On November 1st, Fr. John Dear, an internationally known priest, author and activist, will launch a new non-profit organization called “The Beatitudes Center for the Nonviolent Jesus” to teach nonviolence to Christians and Catholics around the nation and the world.
It’s mission, according to its new website, is “to teach and promote the Gospel message that Jesus was totally nonviolent, and that all his followers are called to be totally nonviolent.”
It’s vision statement reads: “We strive to help Christians and Catholics study and live Jesus’ Gospel teachings of nonviolence, especially in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7), so that more and more people will practice creative Gospel nonviolence, like Gandhi, Dorothy Day and Dr. King, and work for the abolition of racism, poverty, war, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction, and for the coming of a new culture of justice and nonviolence. We use Pope Francis’ Jan. 1, 2017 World Day of Peace Message, “Nonviolence—A Style of Politics for Peace,” as a guidepost. We offer online and in person workshops, retreats and conferences, podcasts, videos, books, articles and consultation to help fulfill our mission.”
For the foreseeable future, the Beatitudes Center for the Nonviolent Jesus will offer zoom online workshops, classes and retreats, starting with a three week Advent series on nonviolence (on Sunday afternoons Dec. 6, 13, and 20); then a New Year’s day workshop on nonviolence; then a Dr. King holiday workshop on his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and later, an Ash Wednesday workshop on the book of Jonah; a Monday evening Lenten series on the nonviolent Jesus, and a workshop on Fr. Daniel Berrigan to mark his 100th birthday in May.
“Nearly forty years ago while visiting the Chapel of the Beatitudes and the Sea of Galilee, I felt called to dedicate my life to Jesus’ way of nonviolence and peace,” Dear says. “Standing by the Chapel, pondering his teachings on nonviolence in the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, I saw Israeli warplanes fly over the sea to bomb Lebanon. Ever since, I’ve been trying to practice and teach the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount’s lessons on nonviolence. This project makes me feel my life has come full circle.”
The author of 35 books, Dear was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the Nobel Peace Prize.