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. In Brooklyn Center, MN on April 11, 2021, 20 year-old Daunte Wright was fatally shot by a police officer yelling “Taser!” at a traffic stop. These horrific acts and others around the country continue to expose the weeds of systemic racism which 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.
–From June 9th-July 29th, Risen Savior will host drop-in discussions of Catholic Social Teaching and A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota. Click here for our event page with information and registration. This book is a compilation of 16 of Minnesota’s best writers who share their perspectives on what it is like to live as a person of color in Minnesota. Come to one or all discussions as your schedule allow! We will meet Wednesdays 7-8pm and Thursdays 10-11am. If those times don’t work for you, St. Joseph’s in New Hope is also hosting this book club, and you can find more information and registration here.
–The Ignatian Solidarity Network is hosting a 3-week series titled, “A Balm in Gilead: Deepening Our Understanding and Conversation about Race through the Eyes of Faith.” The series meets virtually on Wednesdays May 5, 12, and 19th from 6-7:15CST. If you participate in the series, please sign up for our Parish Dialogue on the series, which will be May 26th from 6:30-7:45p.m. on Zoom.
–All are welcome to join the daily “Healing Our City Virtual Prayer Tent for Minneapolis” at 8:00CST on Zoom. This is an interfaith effort that began in person after George Floyd’s death and is continuing during Derek Chauvin’s trial into May 2021.
—Click here for the Archdiocesan page with statements from the Archbishop as well as links to prayer opportunities around the Archdiocese.
In July 2020, Risen Savior hosted a film discussion of Just Mercy.
In winter 2020-2021 Risen Savior hosted discussion groups to accompany the online program Becoming Human: Dismantling Racism series.
On April 23, 2021 Risen Savior hosted a bilingual parking lot Prayer Vigil for Healing and Hope. If you weren’t able to join and would like to view the recording, click here. You can also access the text of the service by clicking here.
If you are aware of an event related to faith and racial justice, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page so we can include it here. OR if you have a suggestion for future programming, feel free to use the below form for that as well.
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.
The film Just Mercy is available to rent on many streaming platforms. 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 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 last updated this page in August 2020 after the unrest and rioting caused increased need for donations in the Twin Cities.
MPR also has a 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.