JANUARY 2021

Sr Margaret Zdunich NDS

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Great God, who has told us

"Vengeance is mine,"

save us from ourselves,

save us from the vengeance in our hearts

and the acid in our souls.


Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,

to punish as we have been punished,

to terrorize as we have been terrorized.


Give us the strength it takes

to listen rather than to judge,

to trust rather than to fear,

to try again and again

to make peace even when peace eludes us.


We ask, O God, for the grace

to be our best selves.

We ask for the vision

to be builders of the human community

rather than its destroyers.

We ask for the humility as a people

to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.


We ask for the love it takes

to bequeath to the children of the world to come

more than the failures of our own making.

We ask for the heart it takes

to care for all the peoples

around our nations, as well as for ourselves.


Give us the depth of soul, O God,

to constrain our might,

to resist the temptations of power

to refuse to attack the attackable,

to understand that vengeance begets violence, and to bring peace—not war—wherever we go.


For You, O God, have been merciful to us.

For You, O God, have been patient with us.

For You, O God, have been gracious to us.


And so may we be merciful

and patient

and gracious

and trusting

with these others whom you also love.


This we ask through Jesus,

the one without vengeance in his heart.

This we ask forever and ever.



—adapted from Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Sisters of Erie

I would like to wish each of you a happy New year, with hopes of 2021 being a brighter, peaceful year for all.  May it bring us renewed energy for us personally and for the various ministries we are engaged in.   

Most of us are likely relieved to say good-bye to 2020 and the challenges of learning to live with COVID-19.  As the days of this New year unfold, we hope for a return to a ‘new normal’ that allows us to resume activities which have long been suspended.  The staff and participants of the Centre for Biblical Formation long for a return to courses resuming in Jerusalem, although it is still early to predict how COVID will affect travel and our activities for this coming year.


  In the meantime, CBF has moved to delivering programs online which have received much positive feedback.  Since we have cancelled our Spring programs in Jerusalem, we are now developing an online series for January – June 2021. Our first online session of 2021 is our newly designed and created Spanish program entitled: “LOS ÚLTIMOS DÍAS DE JESÚS EN JERUSALÉN”, which will be offered Jan.19-Feb.16 2021. This session is co-sponsored by the NDS Centre for Biblical Formation (CBF) and the NDS Centro de Estudios Religiosos Judío Cristianos (CERJUC, Costa Rica).  We are indebted to Julieta Carranza and Hanzel José Zúñiga Valerio for all the work they have put into planning and organizing this online program.  


The upcoming sessions include the following:

  • Whispering Voices Made Audible: Reading Minor Characters of the Bible

Dr. Gina Henz-Piazza. Dates: May 10-21, 2021

  • The Megillot + Jonah: "Selected Shorts" from the Tanakh/Jewish Bible

Sue Oren. Dates: TBA

  • Not Always Opponents: Historical Glimpses of Christian-Jewish Respect and Cooperation

Dr. Murray Watson.  Dates: TBA


Registrations for these sessions needs to be done through the Registrar:


Please check our website for updated information regarding these interesting and timely topics.


It is our hope that we will be welcoming many of you to sessions in Jerusalem later in the year.




I would like to close with this prayer for peace (left column), offered by Sr. Joan Chittister.





Blessings of peace.


Sr. Margaret Zdunich, nds