Fwd: Philip Berrigan, Anti-War Activist, Dies at Home in Baltimore
> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE=====
> Contact: Becky Johnson, 202-607-9345
> Date: December 6, 2002
> Philip Berrigan, Anti-War Activist, Dies at Home in
> Baltimore, MD
> Baltimore, MD - Phil Berrigan died December 6, 2002 at
> about 9:30 PM, at Jonah House, a community he co-founded
> in 1973, surrounded by family and friends. He died two
> months after being diagnosed with liver and kidney
> cancer, and one month after deciding to discontinue
> chemotherapy. Approximately thirty close friends and
> fellow peace activists gathered for the ceremony of last
> rites on November 30, to celebrate his life and anoint
> him for the next part of his journey. Berrigan's brother
> and co-felon, Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan officiated.
> During his nearly 40 years of resistance to war and
> violence, Berrigan focused on living and working in
> community as a way to model the nonviolent, sustainable
> world he was working to create. Jonah House members live
> simply, pray together, share duties, and attempt to
> expose the violence of militarism and consumerism. The
> community was born out of resistance to the Vietnam War,
> including high-profile draft card burning actions; later
> the focus became ongoing resistance to U.S. nuclear
> policy, including Plowshares actions that aim to enact
> Isaiah's biblical prophecy of a disarmed world. Because
> of these efforts Berrigan spent about 11 years in prison.
> He wrote, lectured, and taught extensively, publishing
> six books, including an autobiography, Fighting the
> Lamb's War.
> In his last weeks, Berrigan was surrounded by his family,
> including his wife Elizabeth McAlister, with whom he
> founded Jonah House; his children Frida, 28, Jerry, 27,
> and Kate, 21; community members Susan Crane, Gary
> Ashbeck, and David Arthur; and extended family and
> community. Community members Ardeth Platte and Carol
> Gilbert, Dominican sisters, were unable to be physically
> present at Jonah House; they are currently in jail in
> Colorado awaiting trial for a disarmament action at a
> missile silo, the 79th international Plowshares action.
> One of Berrigan's last actions was to bless the upcoming
> marriage of Frida to Ian Marvy.
> Berrigan wrote a final statement in the days before his
> death. His final comments included this: "I die with the
> conviction, held since 1968 and Catonsville, that nuclear
> weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them,
> manufacture them, deploy them, use them, is a curse
> against God, the human family, and the earth itself."
> The wake and funeral will be held at St. Peter Claver
> Church in West Baltimore, (1546 North Fremont Avenue,
> Baltimore MD 21217); calling hours: 4-8 PM Sunday
> December 8 with a circle of sharing about Phil's life at
> 6 PM; funeral: Monday, December 9, 12 PM. All are invited
> to process with the coffin from the intersection of
> Bentalou and Laurens streets to St. Peter Claver Church
> at 10 AM (please drop off marchers and park at the
> church). A public reception at the St. Peter Claver hall
> will follow the funeral mass; internment is private. In
> place of flowers and gifts for the offertory, attendees
> may bring pictures or other keepsakes. Mourners may make
> donations in Berrigan's name to Citizens for Peace in
> Space, Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons, Nukewatch,
> Voices in the Wilderness, the Nuclear Resister, or any
> Catholic Worker house.
"The taproot of violence in our society today is our intent to use nuclear weapons. Once we have agreed to that, all other evil is minor in comparison. Until we squarely face the questions of our consent to use nuclear weapons, any hope of large scale improvement of public morality is doomed to failure."
- Fr. Dick McSorley, S.J.
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