Seeking to raise its profile on Capitol Hill and beyond, Pax Christi USA is moving its national headquarters from Erie, Pa., to Washington.
The move will allow the U.S. arm of Pax Christi International, the international Catholic peace organization, to more readily address issues related to global conflicts, nuclear disarmament, justice for the world’s most vulnerable people and environmental concerns.
“We’re at a point where our voice needs to be heard on a much more national scene,” said Sister Josie Chrosniak, a member of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary and chairwoman of the organization’s national council. “We need to be where it can have the most effect.
“We need to speak to people in positions that can create change in the government as well as in the church,” she told Catholic News Service from Cleveland. “As we grow and as we get stronger relationships with some of the other organizations speaking truth to power, in a sense we really need to be where they are and many are in Washington.”
Executive director Dave Robinson will continue in his position.
The organization has worked for nearly a decade to increase its Washington presence. It opened a Washington office in 2002 and more recently expanded that presence by moving to the Center of Concern and starting an internship program.
Ursuline Sister Dianna Ortiz coordinates the Washington office.
Pax Christi USA opened its national office in Erie in 1986 thanks to the support of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. While Pax Christi eventually bought its own building and expanded staff and activities as its membership grew, the location proved to be less than ideal in working with government officials and other national and international organizations.
Sister Josie said the organization is grateful for the support the Erie Benedictines offered early on and over the years.
Expect Pax Christi USA to broaden its message to include environmental concerns as well.
“Somebody has to speak to the violence that is happening to the earth. We need to … speak on how to stop that violence,” Sister Josie said.
The move is scheduled to be completed this summer.