The Pax Christi International 70th anniversary celebrations “Pilgrims on the Path to Peace” took place on 13-17 May 2015, in Bethlehem, Palestine, in the presence of 160 delegates from 30 countries, local people – including political and religious leaders, and Pax Christi partners.
Pax Christi International condemns the decision of the Israeli authorities of refusing entry to Palestine to our Secretary General, José Henríquez, for the anniversary celebrations. Pax Christi is grateful for the numerous messages received from around the world expressing solidarity with our Secretary General.
The Opening Ceremony on 13 May featured keynote addresses by Marie Dennis, International Co-President and H.B Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem and former International Co-President of Pax Christi. Pope Francis, H.B Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the World Council of Churches, and the International Peace Bureau were among those sending congratulations messages to Pax Christi on its anniversary.
Congratulatory messages were also received from member organisations around the world (Pax Christi Montréal, Pax Christi Toronto, Pax Christi Butembo, Nous Sommes Frères/Pax Christi Bukavu, Serpaj Chile, Centre d’Information et d’Animation Missionnaire (CIAM) Afrique, Réseau des Femmes pour un Développement Associatif, DR Congo, Interchurch Partnership Apostolic City – Nevskaya Perspetive, Russian Federation).
Six thematic pilgrimages – or walking paths – followed by deepening discussions enabled participants to reflect on the challenges to peace going from the local to the global, from the Palestinian reality to the plurality of the situations in which Pax Christi Member Organisations work for peace. The Peace fair and the Peace Award celebration on 16 May marked in a special way our 70th birthday, while the final mass on 17 May sent us off as pilgrims on a renewed journey as peacemakers.
The Pax Christi International 2015 World Assembly adopted the “The Bethlehem Commitment: Bringing Future into Focus 2015 – 2020” (available in English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, and Italian), a statement of principles presenting the priorities of Pax Christi International for the next five years.
Further reports on the 70th anniversary celebrations in Bethlehem are available from the following Pax Christi Sections: Pax Christi USA, Pax Christi UK, Pax Christi Flanders, Pax Christi Italy, Pax Christi Germany, Pax Christi France and Pax Christi Austria.
An overview of media coverage of the Pax Christi anniversary celebrations in Bethlehem is available here. Photos from the different moments of the celebrations in Bethlehem are available on our Facebook page.
Pax Christi International would like to thank everyone who has helped make these celebrations possible!