Swords into Plowshares

May 24, 2023

Berkeley’s Class of 2023 is in many ways a distinctive group. They were, for example, the class that came together in the fall of 2020 entirely online and forged an identity through some of the most challenging times in the School’s history. The theme of transformation certainly characterizes their senior gift: a processional cross made from re-worked gun barrels and wrapped in lilies, the symbol of Christ’s resurrection. As senior Paul Keene explained at the Commencement Evensong on May 20, the symbolism is especially significant for both New Haven, “a city founded in gun manufacturing and wracked by gun violence,” and Berkeley, a school, whose early funding included money from the Colt family. The cross, Keene observed, “is a testament of God’s transformative power to turn the weapons of death into the tools of life.”

The Class of 2023’s processional cross is the handiwork of artisan Peter Catchpole of Iron Ore Arts in New Milford, Connecticut, who was on hand at the Commencement Evensong and the reception afterwards in the Berkeley Center.