She will breathe on us again. and we will take heart: Praying through a Corona-Infested Lent By Paul Magno

I am at Jonah House in Baltimore on Holy Thursday evening, which in itself is a broken play, in terms of coronavirus vetoing the usual observances of Holy Week that I/we are accustomed to. It is our usual custom to be gathered in Washington in one of our Faith & Resistance Retreats. We’d be thirty or forty people, including some college students from the mid-west, reflecting on the classic themes of Holy Week:  Holy Thursday – Jesus and his disciples observing Passover with a Seder meal, known historically to Christians as the Last Supper, and then his betrayal, passion and execution on Good Friday at the hands of church and state. We don’t leave this in the religious abstract; we consider the contemporary betrayals of Jesus and his crucifixion at the hands of the war-making empire we live under and endeavor to confront and resist.  We’d typically be at the Pentagon, author of never-ending war against peoples almost too numerous to name.

In my immediate recollection, I know that we have ridiculously long military engagements against Afghanistan and Iraq, dating back at least to the early part of the century, not to mention their twentieth-century antecedents.  Then Yemen and the US role in arming the Saudi kingdom with the wherewithal to inflict frightful torment, starvation and social catastrophe on that hapless country over the past five years.  

If we were at the Pentagon or the White House tomorrow, we’d speak to those instances among others liturgically as modern-day crucifixions, some of us would risk arrest to underscoring those realities.

香蕉视频app免次版下载Instead, we are corona-housebound and I’m settling for trying to sum up Lent and Triduum and anticipate Easter, death overcome; not a small thing considering the breadth and destructiveness of the medical pandemic COVID-19, or the more pervasive and longstanding lethality of the social and political pandemic known as a contemporary empire, a demonic litany of continuous lies and empty promises ad nauseum. 

I noticed, as I’ve prayed my way through Lent, how very aware Jesus is of his own danger from the collaborating forces of Roman occupation and Temple leadership. In one vignette after another, he is calibrating when to stay in hiding and when to come out of it.  He turns up suddenly and draws crowds, as when he gives sight to the blind man and sends him off to testify before the scribes and Pharisees. He waits days before responding to Lazarus’ falling ill and dying via a furtive rendezvous with Martha, leading to summoning Lazarus from the dead. The powers that be, hearing of that episode, decree that Lazarus should die yet again. Jesus meanwhile lays low on the outskirts of Jerusalem, waiting for an opportune moment to manifest himself. He gives his disciples cryptic instructions about finding beasts of burden to ride into town and equally peculiar instruction later on setting up their gathering for Passover.  All the same, they are infiltrated; he is betrayed, captured, tortured and marched off to death on Golgotha in a macabre spectacle of Roman humiliation and terror.

香蕉视频app免次版下载I’m mindful, (and those of us who are Christian could pay more attention to this) of what the Passover observance commemorates. It is not unrelated to our current corona experience. The Israelites in captivity in Pharaoh’s Egypt follow divine instructions in the original Passover. It seems that Egypt to that point had been successively subjected to not one, but ten plagues, each more frightening than the one before. Moses, in Yahweh’s name, tips them to the final one, the death of the first-born males of each household, instructing them to slaughter a lamb and mark their homes with its blood, to spare them from destruction, then roast the lamb and eat while dressed for flight to the desert, as Egypt is overcome by this plague.

We have to imagine that as the first nine plagues have proceeded, the enslaved Hebrews might have been much like we have been asked to be, of late. Bewildered and huddling in their homes, they must be wondering when this nakba will end.

香蕉视频app免次版下载For the beleaguered Egyptians, no relenting. Firstborn sons were slain by the angel of death, a shattering of families and of the political and social order Pharaoh’s rule relies on. All have collapsed in chaos and helplessness, much more severe than what confounds us today owing to the corona pestilence. Thus stricken, even the Sun King tells the Hebrews to get out. No telling what it will take to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Out of such harrowing cataclysm is the nascent Israelite people thrust into freedom in the desert, ready or not. This is what Jesus and the disciples remember in the upper room before his sudden demise.

香蕉视频app免次版下载Can we imagine that come Sunday, death will be overcome and the empire itself subjected to a frightful humiliation of its own, set back on its heels by mere Galileans’ refusal to stay cowed, stay dead, stay obedient to church and state’s prescribed order. If it hadn’t happened, who would believe that it could? 

香蕉视频app免次版下载God’s breath is Spirit and Life, ours maybe not so much. 

We are fearful these days

Of dying in consequence of breath. 

We stagger thru a penitential season

香蕉视频app免次版下载Bewildered by the great pestilence and frightfully under its power

Obedient to demands of social distancing and the solitude it imposes

香蕉视频app免次版下载Scripture speaks safely from the printed page

香蕉视频app免次版下载Of Heaven’s care for us  

Of blind man seeing and dead man upright,

香蕉视频app免次版下载Of putative messiah confronting, confounding world order

香蕉视频app免次版下载Animating the downtrodden, alarming our masters

What prayer is even adequate herein:

God is happy to hear from monks and Muslims

no less than five times daily, regardless of virus

And happy to answer, we presume.

香蕉视频app免次版下载Her breath shall renew the face of the earth

Threaten the mighty with resurrection, insurrection

Thee and we shall breathe together,

香蕉视频app免次版下载Kindle a fire of divine love on earth as it is in heaven,

torching greed and violence, a conspiracy of peace and life.


Jonah House Food Pantry Still Open

Baltimore, and the rest of the state of Maryland, are currently in lock-down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Jonah House Food Pantry, an “essential” enterprise, remains open, with the blessing of the city and state. We hope to remain open during the weeks of the “stay at home” order.

香蕉视频app免次版下载Our hours are 8am to 12pm on Tuesdays. To find us, search for St. Peter’s Cemetery in Google Maps (are mailing address will not help you find us).

We are not in need of volunteers at this time, but we certainly accept donations. Please use our donation page香蕉视频app免次版下载 on this website to do so. Because of the pandemic, more people are in need of food (given many of the shelves are empty at the ONLY grocery store in the area), which increases our costs.

As special thanks Sarah Magno, Paul’s daughter, who raised money from her friends for our food pantry. Along with the $300 dollars raised, she also let us use her Costco membership to buy much needed supplies for the pantry. Thanks Sarah!


Daniel Ryan Grave Restoration

By Joe Byrne

Last Lent, I made it a project to restore some graves here at St. Peter’s Cemetery, in West Baltimore. I was only able to do a few graves last year, and I’m late doing it this year, but every bit counts.

Last year I discovered the oldest gravestone I’ve seen here yet: that belonging to Daniel Ryan, who died and was buried at St. Peter’s in 1855, only four years after the cemetery was opened. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of a briar patch (actually, a patch of invasive multiflora rose and wine berry), which made it inaccessible and hard to read.

香蕉视频app免次版下载I decided to make Daniel Ryan’s gravestone my first project this year. I should say from the outset, that I wasn’t restoring the gravestone as such. It was remarkably well-preserved, given its age and that I was limestone, which wears down much quicker than marble and especially granite. What I did was improve the accessibility and readability of the gravestone.

香蕉视频app免次版下载After an hour, this is what the gravestone looked like:

I spent most of that hour pulling vines, and most of the vines were under the ground. I also pulled out the multiflora roses and the wine berries, as well as Amur honeysuckle, another aggressive invasive in the cemetery. I left behind a few tree saplings, and day lilies, which have colonized a good bit of the cemetery in the last couple years. Day lilies are also invasive, but I’m actually encouraging their growth, because they crowd out and out-compete other invasive plants (such as multiflora rose and wine berries), and particularly the vines. If day lilies can discourage vines from growing then climbing trees, that is good. Because inevitably they will strangle the trees and pull them down. When I no longer have a vine problem, I’ll worry about the day lily problem! Besides having lilies in a Catholic cemetery seems appropriate.

Here is the pile of pulled vines (though its hard to judge how big it is).

香蕉视频app免次版下载There are quite a few of similar vine piles in the cemetery. They need to be kept in separate piles so they won’t re-root. Unfortunately, they can’t go through wood chippers, lest they clog up the machine, so the piles pile up as it were. This is one of the vine problems we haven’t been able to solve yet.


Musings from the Third Sunday in Corona Crisis

By Paul Magno

香蕉视频app免次版下载Our usual Sunday gathering at Jonah House was suspended in respect of the apprehensions about social gathering brought on by the great pestilence in recent weeks

香蕉视频app免次版下载So I made do with a solitary liturgy this am, consisting of penitence for transgressions one against another both personal and social, individual and institutional.  A hefty catalog of sins against the poor and powerless global majority, and against creation itself in service of greed and violence. All needing acknowledgement by offenders just for openers, then penance and then a drastic amending of our ways.  And for my own short-comings and foibles, anger, despair, thoughtlessness, and the hurts they inflict on people, I beg forgiveness from you my sisters and brothers. 

On to the readings of the day, especially the long Gospel of John about the blind man who Jesus gifts with sight after a lifetime of miserable living. Talk about no good deed going unpunished – behold the third degree the men of the church put this man through as he is adamant about saying a good word about Jesus, long after they’ve made it plain that doing so is beyond the pale. 

香蕉视频app免次版下载After some meditation on this a few prayers for the sick:

香蕉视频app免次版下载Our Friend John LaForge out in Wisconsin has a serious cancer diagnosis, let the healing hands of God be laid on him

My sister Patricia continues treatment for a breast cancer diagnosis. let the healing hands of God be laid on her

Any and all afflicted by the Corona virus whose health is harmed and life endangered, let the breath of God be poured out in love and care for your healing.

香蕉视频app免次版下载For our world, infested with debilitating and lethal injustices of our own perverse making, let it be on earth as it is in heaven, a  just and peaceful subversion of the inflicted social order. May it break in like a thief in the night. Let our hearts cry out like Job for an end to such unmerited suffering.

And the dead:

Our deceased sister Lin Romano was remembered in a Baltimore Sun obituary this week. Let us pray to be guided by the light of her life for others. Resting peaceably in God’s arms, I fancy her bemused by all of our Corona consternation. Lin Romano pray for us 

香蕉视频app免次版下载An inveterate peacemaker in Washington of my acquaintance, most recently known as Pat the Peacewalker, remembered by many as Paul Collins, passed on days ago. May the sign of Peace he carried so valiantly for many decades make its indelible mark on us and may God take him to heart as a child of the Peaceable Kin-dom.  

香蕉视频app免次版下载And those afflicted by the demonic:

香蕉视频app免次版下载Our Kings Bay Plowshares defendants,  enduring a long and excruciating wait for a sentencing date for a disarmament witness against Trident’s omnicidal weaponry two Aprils ago, are prolonged even more, thank-you Corona, as paralysis descends on the court. May the soothing hands of God gift them with the peace they have fought and suffered for over these years, and fortify them for the promised wrath of Caesar when sentencing day does come upon them. God hear our prayer

For the many who need our thoughts and prayers for sufferings of all kinds, we pray to God. 

Finally  we are promised food for the journey in the breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup of liberation. Elsewhere in John’s gospel he says, “I have told you these things , so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Amen. Let it be so.

We are blind too often, too much. 

香蕉视频app免次版下载May we see and say what is true, regardless.

Peace, Brothers and Sisters


Pantry Project

Our pantry upgrade is well in progress. Ausar and Bow are doing the construction work on our new walk-in cooler, with the help of a crew of young men from the neighborhood.

We’ll certainly have it done by summer time, when we’ll need it. But now in the winter, we just have to open the pantry windows!

Here are pics of the work crew in action.


Ash Wednesday 2020

By Joe Byrne

香蕉视频app免次版下载Once again, this year Jonah House was able to send representatives to the Ash Wednesday gathering at the White House in Washington, DC, organized by Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, and other associated peace organizations. Paul Magno and myself were those representatives.

香蕉视频app免次版下载For one thing, we usually attend because Jonah House is usually responsible for bringing the ashes from one of our wood-burning stoves. Also, I usually cantor some of the songs.

The service contained readings, both biblical and contemporary, along with prayers for peace and justice. After readings and songs, Fr. Joe Nangle of the Assisi Community in Washington, DC, blessed the ashes. The ashes were sent around and each participant was anointed with ashes, and anointed the forehead of someone else with ashes.

香蕉视频app免次版下载Then participants were invited to draw symbols on Pennsylvania Avenue, such as crosses and peace signs, with the ashes Jonah House brought.

香蕉视频app免次版下载Paul was inspired to kneel and pray before the entrance gate to the White House, but was not bothered (or arrested) by the police.

I was inspired to create ash “shadows” of people to signify the shadow outlines created when people are incinerated by nuclear bombs.

香蕉视频app免次版下载Unfortunately, they more resemble snow angels!

The halo was not my idea. Nor was the missing (or “achilles”) heal. The latter seems much more appropriate than the former.


How Can I Keep From Singing

I woke up here in Baltimore this morning and knew it must be raining for a reason
Just a few minutes later a brief text from David Hoovler announced that Lin Romano had died this morning, at age 63 after a 16 month battle with cancer.
Hard not to cry, harder even to cry.
Lin had lived at Jonah House for about a year in the late 1980s, after her participation in the Epiphany Plowshares disarmament action at Willow Grove Naval Air Station in PA in January of 1987.
After four trials she was finally convicted and sentenced to two years in federal prison in Lexington KY.
For over a decade before that, she had lived and worked among the poorest people in Washington DC as a member of the Community for Creative Nonviolence.
Throughout the last three decades, she has remained “passionate about creating a just world,” through several jobs here in Baltimore, through her continued association with Jonah House, and with David, to whom she was married since 2005.
Joe Byrne and I had an opportunity to visit her at the Gilchrist Center, an inpatient hospice care facility in Towson, last week, and to be by her bedside for about an hour. Though her body was weak, she was aware of our presence and tried to sing along with the tunes Joe played on the dulcimer. She was able to smile and open her eyes a few times.
We wait on word from David about any memorial arrangements
To close, I’ll paraphrase just one of those songs
Her life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation.
We hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation
Above the tumult and the strife,
We hear the music ringing;
She sounds an echo in our souls
香蕉视频app免次版下载 How can we keep from singing?

香蕉视频app免次版下载Shared by Paul Magno for the Jonah House Community

Beloved Lin Romano


Jonah House Pantry

Monday pick up from the Baltimore Food Bank volunteers ready to unload and pack pantry boxes for Tuesdays pantry.
Melissa and her daughter the dynamic duo always here to help on pantry days
Mom, I will sort this box for you!
Rainbow packing up and getting ready for Tuesday’s pantry
When we run out of pantry boxes we have to pack up emergency bags.
Joe on task!!!


Scenes from the sustainable garden – 2019

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Jonah House Food Pantry: Grant Winner!

Jonah House Food Pantry is the recipient of a $5000 grant to upgrade the pantry, allowing us to increase capacity and serve more neighbors in need.

香蕉视频app免次版下载We’ll provide more details as we proceed with the upgrade.