What humans break, divide, and separate, we can — with God’s help — also heal, unite, and restore. What is now does not have to be. Therein lies the hope. And the challenge.Fr. Bryan N. Massingale, Racial Justice and the Catholic Church
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African American man, was killed in Minneapolis due to a police officer kneeling on his neck for an extended period of time as he repeated, “I can’t breathe,” and as 3 other police officers stood by. This horrific act has once more exposed the weeds of systemic racism that have been so deeply rooted that many of us barely recognize them as weeds any more. As a people of faith in a God of love, mercy, and justice, we are called to be signs and sources of love, mercy, and justice in our world. This likely means being uncomfortable as we examine our own biases and privilege. It likely means feeling sadness and anger as we open our eyes to the wounds of the world we live in. And it means walking with one another in trust and hope that we can be co-creators of a more just and loving world.
We offer this page as a starting point to pray, learn, serve, and advocate for racial justice.
Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Time: This is an all-day event of prayer and fasting against the sin of racism. Individuals can choose to pray and fast in a manner they see fit. (Some ideas for prayer are listed below under the “PRAY” tab.) Archbishop Hebda will preside at a prayer service at 7p.m. with homilist Fr. Prentice Tipton, rector of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw, MI.
Format: The 7p.m. prayer service will be livestreamed via the Cathedral of St. Paul’s Facebook page for those who wish to attend virtually. You can also attend in-person at the Cathedral.
Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Format: Zoom Virtual Workshop, facilitated by Mike Rios-Keating, Social Justice Education Manager, CC Twin Cities
Catholic Social Teaching principles inform both our charity and social justice efforts at Catholic Charities every day. How can the history and foundation of this tradition ground us in our work for racial justice? What does the “season of giving” mean in terms of social action? Where can we find intersections in our values and racial equity?
This workshop is free to attend, but space is limited. Register early to save your spot!
PRAY AND REFLECT
A Prayer for Our Times
We pray for George Floyd, and other Black men and women including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery who are killed without reason; and for their families, friends, and community members, that they may feel the love of God surrounding them, comforting them, and accompanying them in these days.
We pray for the people of Minnesota and all other states experiencing unrest in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, especially those neighborhoods most affected by riots, violence, and lootings, that they may come together to heal and that their civil leaders will act with compassion and justice as they rebuild.
We pray for the police officers involved: Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, that they be led by our God of love, mercy, and justice to seek forgiveness and that they receive the support they need to do so.
We pray for each of us, that we may have the courage, humility, and wisdom to ask God to open our eyes and hearts to the ways we are knowingly and unknowingly complicit in racist actions, words, and attitudes.
Examining Our Subconscious Perceptions
Click here for a resource from the USCCB on how to start reflecting on racism and implicit bias from faith perspective. “Racism can often be found in our hearts–in many cases placed there unwillingly or unknowingly by our upbringing and culture.” [quoted from Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, a Pastoral Letter Against Racism]
A Prayer for True Justice (From YouVersion)
Oh Heavenly Father, our hearts are heavy. Broken. Please give us eyes to see and ears to hear where Your Spirit is working. Help us to see every person the way that You see them. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours, God. Let us not merely say that we love each other. Give us strength to mourn with those who mourn, to weep with those who weep. Let Your justice roll like waters. Let Your righteousness and love flow from us like rivers of living water. Purify our hearts, Lord, and fill us with genuine hunger for justice, for mercy, and for true peace. Heavenly Father, let justice and mercy start with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pray Using a Racial Examination of Conscience
Click here for one model of a “racial examination of conscience.” It is not intended to implicate anyone as a racist. It is not a “test” to see how racist you are or are not. It is offered in all charity and humility as an opportunity to reflect on our daily lives and how we may be unaware of the impact that our everyday decisions have on ourselves, members of our community, nation, and world. Just as an examination of conscience before going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation is not intended to demean or shame anyone, neither is this particular examination of conscience.
The following are offered as starting places to learn about issues relating to race and racism and our Christian faith.
The Assumptions of White Privilege and What We Can Do About It by Fr. Bryan N. Massingale, theology professor at Fordham University. This article, published on June 1, 2020, in the National Catholic Reporter ends with a call to action and message of hope.
Race and Racism Reading and Education: Catholic Charities Twin Cities offers this list of suggested topics relating to race and racism. It includes books (fiction and nonfiction), poetry, essays, documentaries, resources for children and more.
In the month of June 2020, the film Just Mercy is available to rent for free on many platforms including YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Video. After viewing, download this discussion guide to dive deeper. The film is based on civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson‘s book Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption.
Ava DuVernay’s 2016 documentary 13th is also available to stream for free and on Netflix. This film examines racial prejudices within the U.S. prison system through interviews with politicians, lawyers, historians, academics, and members of the Black community who have experienced jail time. Check out this discussion guide from the Center of Concern’s Education for Justice, written from a perspective of Catholic Social Teaching and faith in action.
Reflect on this thought-provoking piece by the editors of America Magazine, “To fight racism, Catholics must hunger for justice like we do for the Eucharist.” They offer 5 things our faith calls us to in all matters of justice: repentance, solidarity, presence, formation, and prayer.
Part of our Catholic Social Teaching includes documents on the issue of racism and equity. Spend time prayerfully reading both Brothers and Sisters to Us (1979) and Open Wide Our Hearts (2018) for how Catholic bishops have encouraged the faithful to engage this work of justice over the years.
“We Won’t Take It Any Longer: Understanding the 2020 Black Protest Movement” with Dr. Lewis Brogdon. This is part of a series of webinars called Acting for Justice while Sheltering in Place organized by JustFaith Ministries. Dr. Lewis Brogdon discusses the factors that led to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. He also address topics such as protests during the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr.s’ philosophy of nonviolent direct action, Dr. King’s warning about continued unrest in America, and why white silence and blindness is fueling black outrage and nihilism.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has a variety of resources on responding to racial justice here.
One of the most important ways to serve is by educating yourself on the issues of race and racism in our history, our institutions, and ourselves.
In the days following George Floyd’s death, the Twin Cities and metro area were affected by rioting. There are many needs in both the short- and long-term. Check out the following resources for ways to connect in service and charity:
Kare11 updates this page regularly on where there are donation needs in the Twin Cities.
MPR also has a regularly updated page here on volunteer efforts and ways to donate. (Click “How To Help” or scroll to the end of the page.)
Using our voices to speak on behalf of those in need is part of how we live our call as Jesus’ disciples. Click here for information on finding your elected officials’ contact information, and see below for two reputable organizations with further information on racial justice advocacy.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)’s mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. Their campaign “We are Done Dying” has information on supporting legislation in line with this mission.
Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) is a national network of groups and individuals working toward racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.