message from the Executive Director

Fiscal Year 2023 marked an important chapter for Catholic Mobilizing Network and our mission to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice. It was a year where CMN learned to harness its growing capacity in order to seize new opportunities, all while steadfastly upholding our grounding principles and core programs.

Since last summer, CMN has effectively mobilized against new waves of executions and regressive death penalty legislation, while still providing monthly prayer vigils and meaningful advocacy actions. We've met the growing demand for Catholic restorative justice formation with new educational events and a ministry-focused Community of Practice, all without disrupting popular workshops, trainings, and resource offerings.

As a result, at the close of Fiscal Year 2023, CMN finds itself ready to leverage greater impact than ever before. None of this would have been possible without the prayers, advocacy, and financial support of allies like you. Thank you.

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With heartfelt gratitude,

Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy

Executive Director

Ending the death penalty

The Catholic Church firmly opposes the death penalty, and a growing trend in the U.S. is moving in the same direction. Many states are rejecting capital punishment through measures like abolition, moratoriums, and extended periods without executions. Yet in states where the practice is still legal, its proponents cling firmly to its continuation.

In Fiscal Year 2022-2023, CMN empowered people of faith to keep abolition trends on track.

We paved the way for Catholics to advocate in support of death penalty abolition in states like Ohio and Arizona. In December, we mobilized advocates to write letters urging President Biden to support a United Nations resolution calling for a universal moratorium on the death penalty.

CMN rallied against a proposed reinstatement of the death penalty in Iowa, and campaigned against the elimination of Florida's unanimous jury requirement. We empowered Catholics to advocate against an ongoing execution spree in Oklahoma, and opposed efforts in South Carolina to shield pharmaceutical companies from public scrutiny for supplying execution drugs.

All in all, CMN mobilized people of faith to take more than 33,800 advocacy actions to oppose executions and end capital punishment this year.

In addition to advocacy, CMN believes that Catholic anti-death penalty witness must include a dimension of prayer. This year we gathered hundreds of people for our monthly First Friday Prayer Vigils featuring Catholic bishops, religious and lay leaders, and allies from across the abolition movement. In October, CMN organized the first annual "Novena to End the Death Penalty," uniting Catholics nationwide in nine days of prayerful reflection.

Ongoing education is another critical element to CMN’s abolition strategy. In 2022-2023, we accepted invitations to present at 39 national conferences, Catholic parishes, schools, universities, and community events. In addition, we hosted five webinars, published 35 blog posts, and created multiple new resources featuring the voices of death row exonerees, murder victims’ family members, prison chaplains, and more.

Photo of Sr. Eileen Reilly, CMN Religious Engagement Associate, at CMN's exhibitor table at the 2023 LA Religious Education Congress

2023 LA Religious Education Congress

CMN executive director stands with death penalty abolitionists at a press conference at the National Press Club

Press conference urging President Biden to support United Nations death penalty moratorium resolution.

teaming up with Pope Francis

In 2022, CMN joined forces with The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network to create a video featuring Pope Francis praying for an end to the death penalty. CMN also launched a campaign to promote the video, which included a robust resource toolkit, a Novena to End the Death Penalty, and a public pledge for Catholics to join in Pope Francis’ prayer.

As a result, Pope Francis’ message of mercy has reached millions of viewers worldwide.

Watch the Video

During CMN's National Catholic Ministry Leaders Lenten Experience in Montgomery, Alabama, participants sit in a restorative circle and pray

2023 National Catholic Ministry Leaders Lenten Experience in Montgomery, Alabama

CMN Director of Restorative Justice presents on a panel at the 2023 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering

2023 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering

promoting restorative justice

CMN believes that Catholics can play a key role in advancing restorative justice, a voluntary and safe process that brings together those affected by harm to understand the impacts of the harmful action and what is needed to make things right.

Restorative justice can be a transformative and healing experience that models the reconciling way of Jesus.

CMN invites Catholic newcomers to restorative justice to take part in experiential learning opportunities that make use of restorative practices. Due to growing demand, we increased the number of “Intro to Restorative Justice” workshops to five this year, each one covering the essential concepts of restorative justice and how they align with Catholic ministry. The workshop curriculum is based on CMN’s restorative justice engagement guide, Paths of Renewed Encounter, which offers practical ideas for implementing restorative approaches in ministry contexts.

CMN understands the importance of meeting people at their own stage in the restorative justice journey.

In line with this approach, we organized a webinar in January 2023 titled “Growing in Restorative Practices: One Year Into the Synod on Synodality.” This webinar had the explicit aim of illustrating how restorative justice aligns with the present circumstances of the Catholic Church and how it can help guide our Church through challenging and divisive times.

For those with existing familiarity in restorative justice, in September 2022, CMN launched its “RJ Ministry Community of Practice,” an online network connecting ministry leaders to deepen their knowledge and skills in restorative justice. This community now has a robust listserv of 500 members from around the country who gather virtually for “Deepening Circles” and “Community Hours.” CMN’s annual “Circle Keeper Training” in collaboration with Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago, Illinois was held in July 2022, equipping participants to utilize restorative circles in parishes, ministries, and communities.

CMN’s second annual National Catholic Ministry Leaders Lenten Experience in Montgomery, Alabama brought dozens of ministry leaders from across the country on a journey of prayerful reflection and discernment for racial justice, truth-telling, and healing.

A participant from CMN's 2023 Circle Keeper Training holds a rosary

2022 CMN Circle Keeper Training with Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation

mobilizing the next generation

One cannot think of changing any system, including the criminal legal system, without engaging the next generation of Catholic leaders. Young people are the future of our Church and the nation’s next decision makers. Building upon the work of older generations, young adults recognize the brokenness of the existing criminal legal system, and are seeking opportunities to speak out against structures that perpetuate racism, target vulnerable populations, degrade families, and risk innocent lives.

For all these reasons, CMN believes engaging young adults will ultimately enlarge and inspire the work of dismantling the broken system and structures of criminal injustice in the United States.

CMN presenters speak across a table with young people at IFTJ

2022 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice

Hundreds of young Catholics take photos of CMN's panel presentation at the 2022 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice
CMN Director of Community Engagement Emma Tacke stands with the 3 winners of CMN's 2022 poetry contest for young Catholics

2022 winners of CMN's Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest for Young Catholics

In 2022-2023, CMN focused on mobilizing young adults through various initiatives, including our second annual Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest for Young Catholics. This contest drove dozens of young Catholics between the ages of 18-30 to submit poems addressing the injustice of capital punishment. The winning poem, “Bradley,” tells the chilling story of the day the narrator “killed a man” on behalf of the state, as a prison official giving a lethal injection.

Other young adult initiatives this year included a special webinar featuring Christina Swarns, Executive Director of The Innocence Project, and a third consecutive summer partnering with the Congregation of St. Joseph to offer two paid internships to college students and recent graduates.

Growing Our Impact

This year was marked by several organizational milestones, including the successful Justice Reimagined Awards & Celebration hosted at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC on World Day Against the Death Penalty 2022.

More than 200 people attended this event to celebrate three anti-death penalty champions.

CMN’s “Reimagining Justice Award” was awarded to Vicki and Syl Schieber, who after losing their daughter, Shannon, to murder in 1998, went on to oppose the death penalty for her killer and to successfully advocate for abolition in their home state of Maryland. CMN presented Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, with the “Archbishop Fiorenza Dignity & Life Award” for his longtime commitment to raising awareness of capital punishment as a critical life issue among Catholics. The award is named in memory of the late Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, a staunch advocate for death penalty abolition, who passed away in 2022.

CMN board chair Ralph McCloud with Reimagining Justice Award recipients Syl and Vicki Schieber
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, and Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer stand together at CMN's Justice Reimagined Awards & Celebration

Justice Reimagined Awards & Celebration

CMN staff receive Legacy of the Martyrs Award from Ignatian Solidarity Network at annual event

Ignite: A Celebration of Justice

Justice Reimagined Awards & Celebration

At the event, CMN launched a new National Advisory Council, whose members will help guide and support the organization’s efforts to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice. As we welcomed the addition of these new advisors this year, we also welcomed several new staff members. In 2022-2023, the CMN team grew larger than any other time in our 13-year history.

In May 2023, in recognition of CMN’s recent advancements to promote a justice rooted in faith, the Ignatian Solidarity Network honored the organization with its “Legacy of the Martyrs Award” at the annual Ignite: A Celebration of Justice event in New York City.

getting the word out

CMN maintained a strong presence in the media throughout the year, with mentions in 75 articles, interviews, and podcasts. Harnessing the power of digital platforms, including social media, email, and podcasting, CMN also continues to expand our national mobilization online.

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St. Maximilian kolbe

giving society

St. Maximilian Kolbe, OFM, Conv. was a Polish Franciscan who was executed by lethal injection in Auschwitz during World War II, after courageously volunteering to take the place of a cellmate. Today, he is the patron saint of prisoners, families, and the pro-life movement. His feast day is August 14.

The St. Maximilian Kolbe Giving Society recognizes the committed supporters who have invested in CMN’s ministry for three or more consecutive years. Their generosity drives forward CMN’s life-affirming mission to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice.


CMN’s mission is made possible through a diverse revenue stream which includes: a widening base of support, a faithful and growing Monthly Steward Circle, income-generating events, generous major donors, diocesan and parish gifts, family foundations, and loyal support from men and women religious and their communities.

Thank you for all the ways you support Catholic Mobilizing Network.

FY2023 Revenue

Individual gifts ($477,529.78)

Grants ($261,500)

Events ($61,198.96)

Other ($3,259.11)

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