Peace Activist Roy Bourgeois Presented with First Passion for Peace Award Print
Written by Sabina Clarke, Irish Edition   
Monday, 23 May 2011 20:59
Peace activist and outspoken and embattled Maryknoll priest, Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of the School of the Americas Watch, addressed a crowd of more than 200 friends and supporters at the Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street in Philadelphia on Sunday, May 15th at 3 PM. His powerful talk was punctuated by two standing ovations. Even after the talk and during the reception, the crowd was clearly moved and thrilled with the opportunity to see and hear Bourgeois close-up and in person. After the program and the Q & A session, guests moved into another room for the book signing, reception and performances by vocalist Veronica Underwood and her young performers.

Bourgeois, a 2010 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, talked about his 20-year crusade to shut down the School of the Americas on Fort Benning military base in Fort Benning, Georgia; the progress he has seen in Central America; the civil rights abuses of the poor in El Salvador and Honduras; and his conviction that woman have the right to be ordained priests in the Catholic Church-a stand that might result in his expulsion from the Maryknoll order with a request for laicization.

The event was sponsored by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Catholic Peace Fellowship and the American Friends Service Committee.

At the beginning of the program and prior to Bourgeois' talk, the Reverend E. Clifford Cutler on behalf of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship presented Bourgeois with the first Passion for Peace Award for his tireless efforts as a peacemaker, saying, "We are deeply honored to be hosting Father Bourgeois. By giving voice to a peacemaker, we hope to stimulate a dialogue promoting peace and nonviolence."

Father Bourgeois concluded his phenomenal talk that so brilliantly clarified his position on several key issues by reading his April 8th letter to his Superior General Ed Dougherty in which he said, "Like the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement and the right of women to vote, the ordination of women is inevitable because it is rooted in justice. Wherever there is an injustice, silence is the voice of consent."

The School of the Americas Watch was founded in 1990 after six Jesuits priests; a mother and her daughter were massacred in El Salvador by troops trained at the School of the Americas.

Father Roy Bourgeois together with vocalist Veronica Underwood and a group of yourng performers at the event in Philadelphia

Photo by Katharine Gilbert: Father Roy Bourgeois together with vocalist Veronica Underwood and a group of young performers.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 22:30