A peace pole, a physical reminder to strive for world peace, now stands on the University of Dayton campus after its dedication by the student organization Pax Christi Oct. 18.
Pax Christi is UD’s student ministry club and a chapter of an international Catholic peace organization dedicated to helping others through the words of Christ, according to the organization’s website. The group focuses its efforts on peace education and non-violent activism, according to the website.
“Pax Christi tries to achieve peace with events through service or education,” said James Sylvester, a psychology and human rights studies major and club’s president. “The peace pole is one of them. I was at a Marianist retreat center in New Jersey some time ago and learned about the peace poles. I thought there would be one at UD, but there wasn’t.”
Introducing a peace pole to the university is a good reflection of what Pax Christi’s goal is, Sylvester added.
“To have complete world peace is to have a utopia. It’s impossible, but we should strive for it nevertheless,” said freshman communication major Alison Fay.
The peace pole, dedicated with a prayer service led the Rev. Jim Fitz, vice president for mission and rector, is located between St. Mary’s Hall and the Immaculate Conception Chapel, Sylvester said.
“As part of the Peace Pole Project, our peace pole has the phrase ‘May peace prevail on Earth’ inscribed on it in eight languages,” Sylvester said. “Father Jim led the service with a general prayer for peace, and we sang songs about bringing peace to the world. The service ended with the sprinkling of holy water.”
Emily Braisted, a freshman math major, said world peace may not be attainable, but the pole is a nice reminder to create peace in the community.
“I would say that world peace is a beautiful concept, but we will never obtain it until everyone can put aside their personal agendas and judgments in order to understand one another,” Braisted said. “That’s why I think the peace pole is such a cool idea. We’re getting a little bit closer with every day.”
Pax Christi has about 10 members at UD and welcomes other interested students, Sylvester said.
“Along with the Peace Pole Project, Pax Christi has participated in the ‘Feed My Starving Children’ campaign for packing food for children who need it and helped with Hurricane Sandy through our ‘Sandy Claus’ project,” Sylvester said.
Pax Christi has also performed the stations of the cross at UD and has won the Dorothy Day Award for campus ministry, Sylvester added. The award goes to a university organization who participates in service or social justice advocacy while reflecting on the service they complete, according to the award’s description on UD’s Student Development website. Reflection can occur through organized retreats, forums, or personal journals.
To get involved with Pax Christi, email James Sylvester at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings are every Thursday at 8:00 p.m. in ArtStreet, according to the website.