Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Statement from Archbishop Gregory Aymond

The death of George Floyd is indeed a very sad tragedy. We pray for his eternal rest in God’s kingdom and consolation for his family and friends.
Mr. Floyd’s death reminds us that we are called to believe in the dignity of each person because each person is created by God. This belief leads to respecting every individual, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or any other difference.
In the Gospel, there is no room for racism, violence or hatred.
What makes this tragedy even more unconscionable is that a law enforcement officer, who has pledged to protect and to serve, is the person who took Mr. Floyd’s life. No matter who we are or what power we have, Jesus calls us to a deep, abiding respect of every person.
If there are protests, we plead for peaceful nonviolent protests. In several cities, some have protested against violence but used violence to do it. That does not show respect for the dignity of other people or their property. Revenge should never be a part of our lives; yet, at the same time, we are necessarily angered and saddened by what has taken place in Minneapolis.
This is an opportunity for us to give thanks to God and affirm our law enforcement in New Orleans and throughout our state. Obviously, our law enforcement training through the NOPD and through law enforcement agencies in other cities and parishes, as well as the state police, upholds the dignity of each person and the treatment of each individual in a nonviolent way.
Likewise, our protests usually are peaceful and nonviolent. That is the right thing to do, and, perhaps, we can be an example to other cities and states.

Foremost Catholic Apologist from the Patriarchial Period of the Church

Image of St. Justin MartyrSt. Justin Martyr

Feastday: June 1
Birth: 100
Death: 165

Christian apologist, born at Flavia Neapolis, about A.D. 100, converted to Christianity about A.D. 130, taught and defended the Christian religion in Asia Minor and at Rome, where he suffered martyrdom about the year 165. Two "Apologies" bearing his name and his "Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon" have come down to us. Leo XIII had a Mass and an Office composed in his honor.
Justin Martyr (Latin: Iustinus Martyr), an early Christian apologist, is regarded as the foremost exponent of the Divine Word, the Logos, in the second century.[4] He was martyred, alongside some of his students, and is venerated as saint by the Catholic Church,[5] the Anglican Church,[6] the Eastern Orthodox Church,[7] and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

So much more:;postID=2650888615783232113

Prayer intention of the Holy Father for the month of June 2020


The Way of the Heart

We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus

Regina Caeli address on Pentecost Sunday with folks in St. Peter's Square

© Vatican Media

Regina Caeli Address: On the Solemnity of Pentecost

‘The Holy Spirit Is the Fire that Burns Sins and Creates New Men and Women’

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, Solemnity of Pentecost, before and after praying the midday Regina Caeli with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
* * *
Before the Regina Caeli:
 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today, as the Square is open, we can return; it’s a pleasure!
Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, recalling the effusion of the Holy Spirit on the first Christian community. Today’s Gospel (Cf. John 20:19-23), takes us back to the Easter evening and shows us Jesus risen who appears in the Cenacle, where the disciples had sought refuge. They were afraid. “Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’(v. 19).” These first words pronounced by the Risen One: “Peace be with you,” must be considered more than a greeting: they express forgiveness, forgiveness given to the disciples that, to tell the truth, had abandoned Him. They are words of reconciliation and forgiveness. And we too, when we wish peace to others, are giving forgiveness and asking also for forgiveness. Jesus offers His peace in fact to these disciples who are afraid, who find it hard to believe what they have seen, namely, the empty sepulcher, and underestimating the testimony of Mary Magdalene and of the other women. Jesus forgives, He always forgives, and He offers His peace to His friends. Don’t forget: Jesus doesn’t tire of forgiving. We are the ones that tire of asking for forgiveness.
Forgiving the disciples and gathering them around Him, Jesus makes of them a Church, His Church, which is a reconciled community and ready for the mission – reconciled and ready for the mission. When a community isn’t reconciled, it’s not ready for the mission: it’s ready to argue within itself, it’s ready for internal disputes. The encounter with the Risen Lord overturns the Apostles’ existence and transforms them into courageous witnesses. In fact, immediately after, He says: “As the Father has sent Me, even so, I send you” (v. 212). These words make us understand that the Apostles are invited to prolong the mission itself, which the Father entrusted to Jesus. “I send you: it’s not the time to be locked up, or to regret, regretting the “good times,” those past times with the Master. The joy of the Resurrection is great, but it’s an expansive joy, which is not kept for oneself, it’s to be given. In the Sundays of Eastertide we first heard this same episode, then the meeting with the disciples of Emmaus, then the Good Shepherd, the farewell address and the promise of the Holy Spirit — all this is to reinforce the faith of the disciples, and also ours, in view of the mission.
It is, in fact, to animate the mission. Jesus gives the Apostles His Spirit. The Gospel says: “He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit’” (v.22). The Holy Spirit is fire that burns sins and creates new men and women; He is fire of love with which the disciples will be able to “fire” the world, that love of tenderness that prefers the little ones, the poor, the excluded . . . We received the Holy Spirit with His gifts in the Sacraments of Baptism and of Confirmation: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of God. This last gift, fear of God, is in fact the contrary of the fear that before paralyzed the disciples: it is love of the Lord, it is the certainty of His mercy and His goodness, it is the confidence to be able to move in the direction He indicates, without ever lacking His presence and His support.
The feast of Pentecost renews the awareness that the vivifying presence of the Holy Spirit dwells in us. He also gives us the courage to go outside of the protective walls of our “cenacles,” of groups, without spoiling us in quiet living or locking ourselves in sterile habits. Let us raise our thought now to Mary. She was there, with the Apostles, when the Holy Spirit came, protagonist with the first Community of the wonderful experience of Pentecost. Let us pray to her to obtain an ardent missionary spirit for the Church.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Regina Caeli
 Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Amazonian Synod concluded seven months ago. Today, the feast of Pentecost, we invoke the Holy Spirit that He may give light and strength to the Church and to the society in Amazonia, harshly tried by the pandemic. Many are infected and deceased, also among the indigenous peoples, particularly vulnerable. Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Amazonia, I pray for the poor and the helpless of that dear Region, but also for those of the whole world, and I make an appeal so no one is lacking health care. Take care of people, not save for the economy. Take care of people, who are more important than the economy. We, persons, are temples of the Holy Spirit, not the economy.
Observed today in Italy is National Relief Day, to promote solidarity in caring for the sick. I renew my appreciation to all those that, especially in this period, have offered or offer their witness of care for their neighbor. I remember with gratitude and admiration all those that, supporting the sick in this pandemic, have given their life.  Let us pray in silence for the doctors, the volunteers, the nurses, all health workers, and the many that gave their lives in this period.
I wish you all a happy Pentecost Sunday. We are in such need of the light and strength of the Holy Spirit! The Church needs it, to walk in concord and witness courageously the Gospel. And the whole human family needs Him, to come out of this crisis more united and not more divided. You know that one doesn’t come out the same, as before, from a crisis like this one: one comes out better or worse. May we have the courage to change, to be better, to be better than before, and to be able to build positively the post-crisis of the pandemic.
Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and see you soon, in the Square!

Pope Francis presides at Sunday Mass for the Feast of Pentecost

© Vatican Media

Pope at Pentecost Mass: ‘Holy Spirit is the One who Brings Together the Many’

Limited Number of Faithful Attend Service in St. Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Pentecost in St. Peter’s Basilica, reminding the faithful that “the Holy Spirit is the one who brings together the many; and that the Church was born this way: we are all different, yet united by the same Holy Spirit.”
A limited number of people attended the Mass, wearing face masks and sitting in “social distance” from one another. Rome is opening up to some degree from the pandemic restrictions but health protocols of the Covid-19 pandemic are still in place in Italy and the Vatican.
“Let us go back to the origin of the Church, to the day of Pentecost,” the Holy Father exhorted during his homily at Mass.  “Let us look at the Apostles: some of them were fishermen, simple people accustomed to living by the work of their hands, but there were also others, like Matthew, who was an educated tax collector.
“They were from different backgrounds and social contexts, and they had Hebrew and Greek names. In terms of character, some were meek and others were excitable; they all had different ideas and sensibilities. They were all different. Jesus did not change them; he did not make them into a set of pre-packaged models. No. He left their differences and now he unites them by anointing them with the Holy Spirit.
“With the anointing comes their union – union in diversity. At Pentecost, the Apostles understand the unifying power of the Spirit. They see it with their own eyes when everyone, though speaking in different languages, comes together as one people: the people of God, shaped by the Spirit, who weaves unity from diversity and bestows harmony because in the Spirit there is harmony. He himself is harmony.”
Following is the Pope’s full homily, provided by the Vatican:
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Cor 12:4), as the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians. He continues: “There are different forms of service, but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone” (vv. 5-6). Diversity and unity: Saint Paul puts together two words that seem contradictory. He wants to tell us that the Holy Spirit is the one who brings together the many; and that the Church was born this way: we are all different, yet united by the same Holy Spirit.
Let us go back to the origin of the Church, to the day of Pentecost. Let us look at the Apostles: some of them were fishermen, simple people accustomed to living by the work of their hands, but there were also others, like Matthew, who was an educated tax collector. They were from different backgrounds and social contexts, and they had Hebrew and Greek names. In terms of character, some were meek and others were excitable; they all had different ideas and sensibilities. They were all different. Jesus did not change them; he did not make them into a set of pre-packaged models. No. He left their differences and now he unites them by anointing them with the Holy Spirit. With the anointing comes their union – union in diversity. At Pentecost, the Apostles understand the unifying power of the Spirit. They see it with their own eyes when everyone, though speaking in different languages, comes together as one people: the people of God, shaped by the Spirit, who weaves unity from diversity and bestows harmony because in the Spirit there is harmony. He himself is harmony.
Let us now focus on ourselves, the Church of today. We can ask ourselves: “What is it that unites us, what is the basis of our unity?”. We too have our differences, for example: of opinions, choices, sensibilities. But the temptation is always fiercely to defend our ideas, believing them to be good for everybody and agreeing only with those who think as we do. This is a bad temptation that brings division. But this is a faith created in our own image; it is not what the Spirit wants. We might think that what unite us are our beliefs and our morality. But there is much more: our principle of unity is the Holy Spirit. He reminds us that first of all we are God’s beloved children; all equal, in this respect, and all different. The Spirit comes to us, in our differences and difficulties, to tell us that we have one Lord – Jesus – and one Father and that for this reason, we are brothers and sisters! Let us begin anew from here; let us look at the Church with the eyes of the Spirit and not as the world does. The world sees us only as on the right or left, with one ideology or the other; the Spirit sees us as sons and daughters of the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus. The world sees conservatives and progressives; the Spirit sees children of God. A worldly gaze sees structures to be made more efficient; a spiritual gaze sees brothers and sisters pleading for mercy. The Spirit loves us and knows everyone’s place in the grand scheme of things: for him, we are not bits of confetti blown about by the wind, rather we are irreplaceable fragments in his mosaic.
If we go back to the day of Pentecost, we discover that the first task of the Church is proclamation. Yet we also see that the Apostles devised no strategy; when they were locked in there, in the Upper Room, they were not strategizing, no, they were not drafting any pastoral plan. They could have divided people into groups according to their roots, speaking first to those close by and then to those far away, in an orderly manner… They could have also waited a while before beginning their preaching in order to understand more deeply the teachings of Jesus, so as to avoid risks… No. The Spirit does not want the memory of the Master to be cultivated in small groups locked in upper rooms where it is easy to “nest”. This is a terrible disease that can also infect the Church: making her into a nest instead of a community, a family or a Mother. The Spirit himself opens doors and pushes us to press beyond what has already been said and done, beyond the precincts of a timid and wary faith. In the world, unless there is tight organization and a clear strategy, things fall apart. In the Church, however, the Spirit guarantees unity to those who proclaim the message. The Apostles set off: unprepared, yet putting their lives on the line. One thing kept them going: the desire to give what they received. The opening part of the First Letter of Saint John is beautiful: “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you” (cf. 1:3).
Here we come to understand what the secret of unity is, the secret of the Spirit. The secret of unity in the Church, the secret of the Spirit is gift. For the Spirit himself is gift: he lives by giving himself and in this way he keeps us together, making us sharers in the same gift. It is important to believe that God is gift, that he acts not by taking away, but by giving. Why is this important? Because our way of being believers depends on how we understand God. If we have in mind a God who takes away and who imposes himself, we too will want to take away and impose ourselves: occupying spaces, demanding recognition, seeking power. But if we have in our hearts a God who is gift, everything changes. If we realize that what we are is his gift, free and unmerited, then we too will want to make our lives a gift. By loving humbly, serving freely and joyfully, we will offer to the world the true image of God. The Spirit, the living memory of the Church, reminds us that we are born from a gift and that we grow by giving: not by holding on but by giving of ourselves.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us look within and ask ourselves what prevents us from giving ourselves. There are, so to speak, three main enemies of the gift, always lurking at the door of our hearts: narcissism, victimhood and pessimism. Narcissism makes us idolize ourselves, to be concerned only with what is good for us. The narcissist thinks: “Life is good if I profit from it”. So he or she ends up saying: “Why should I give myself to others?”. In this time of pandemic, how wrong narcissism is: the tendency to think only of our own needs, to be indifferent to those of others, and not to admit our own frailties and mistakes. But the second enemy, victimhood, is equally dangerous. Victims complain every day about their neighbor: “No one understands me, no one helps me, no one loves me, everyone has it in for me!”. How many times have we not heard these complaints! The victim’s heart is closed, as he or she asks, “Why aren’t others concerned about me?”. In the crisis, we are experiencing, how ugly victimhood is! Thinking that no one understands us and experiences what we experience. This is victimhood. Finally, there is pessimism. Here the unending complaint is: “Nothing is going well, society, politics, the Church…”. The pessimist gets angry with the world, but sits back and does nothing, thinking: “What good is giving? That is useless”. At this moment, in the great effort of beginning anew, how damaging is pessimism, the tendency to see everything in the worst light, and to keep saying that nothing will return as before! When someone thinks this way, the one thing that certainly does not return is hope. In these three – the narcissist idol of the mirror, the mirror-god; the complaint-god: “I feel human only when I complain”; and the negativity-god: “everything is dark, the future is bleak” – we experience a famine of hope and we need to appreciate the gift of life, the gift that each of us is. We need the Holy Spirit, the gift of God who heals us of narcissism, victimhood, and pessimism. He heals us from the mirror, complaints, and darkness.
Brothers and sisters, let us pray to him: Holy Spirit, memory of God, revive in us the memory of the gift received. Free us from the paralysis of selfishness and awaken in us the desire to serve, to do good. Even worse than this crisis is the tragedy of squandering it by closing in on ourselves. Come, Holy Spirit: you are harmony; make us builders of unity. You always give yourself; grant us the courage to go out of ourselves, to love and help each other, in order to become one family. Amen.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Final Day of the Holy Spirit Novena

Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit Day Nine with Consecration to the Holy Spirit:
 The Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen
The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.
Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be to the Father...
Prayer for the Seven Gifts
O Lord Jesus Christ,
Who before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples,
deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me
that He may perfect in my soul,
the work of Your grace and Your love.
Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom
that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal
the Spirit of Understanding
to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth
the Spirit of Counsel
that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven
the Spirit of Fortitude
that I may bear my cross with You
and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation
the Spirit of Knowledge
that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints
the Spirit of Piety
that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable
the Spirit of Fear
that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him.
Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit.
On my knees, before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant is listening." Amen.

Pentecost Sunday 2020 is upon us

Easter: May 31st

Pentecost Sunday


May 31, 2020 (Readings on USCCB website)


Almighty ever-living God, who willed the Paschal Mystery to be encompassed as a sign in fifty days, grant that from out of the scattered nations the confusion of many tongues may be gathered by heavenly grace into one great confession of your name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Old Calendar: Pentecost Sunday (Whitsunday) ; Other Titles: Whitsunday; Pinkster Sunday

And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak (Acts 2, 1-4).
Pentecost Sunday marks the end of the first novena.
Pentecost (Whitsunday), with Christmas and Easter, ranks among the great feasts of Christianity. It commemorates not only the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Disciples, but also the fruits and effects of that event: the completion of the work of redemption, the fullness of grace for the Church and its children, and the gift of faith for all nations.
Today is the feast of the Visitation which is superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.

After Jesus had ascended to heaven from Mt. Olivet, the apostles and disciples returned to the Holy City. They remained together in the Upper Room or Cenacle, the place where Jesus had appeared to them and which may well be called the first Christian church. About a hundred and twenty persons were assembled there. They chose Matthias as an apostle in place of the unhappy Judas; they prayed and waited for the Paraclete.
Ten days had passed, it was Sunday, the seventh Sunday after the resurrection. At about nine o'clock in the morning, as they were together praying fervently, the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Note how all the great theophanies in Christ's life occurred during the course of prayer. After His baptism, for instance, when Jesus was praying the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove; likewise, it was during prayer at night that the transfiguration took place on Tabor. Surely too it was while Mary was praying that Gabriel delivered his message, and the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. Pentecost followed precedent. The small community of Christians had prepared themselves through prayer for the coming of the Paraclete. The same is true at Mass today, every day; through prayer we ready our souls for the advent of the Spirit.
The descent upon the apostles was internal and invisible in nature although accompanied by certain visible phenomena. There came a mighty roar, like the onrush of a violent wind. It came suddenly, from heaven; but unlike storms that strike a structure from without, this one penetrated and filled the room where the disciples were gathered. Therefore it was not a natural wind, it was a miracle peculiar to the occasion. A second visible sign consisted in tongues of fire that descended upon each one present. These fiery tongues gave visible evidence that the Holy Spirit had descended upon them.
Today at Mass, particularly at holy Communion, the power of the Holy Spirit will come down upon us; fiery tongues will not be seen, but invisible tongues of fire will not be absent. There was still another external manifestation of the Holy Spirit; the apostles and disciples were enabled to speak various languages.
After the roar of the wind many of Jerusalem's pilgrims hurried to the Cenacle. Pentecost was one of the three festivals which obliged all Jews to be present in Jerusalem. Jews from distant lands, and Jewish converts from paganism too, attended these feasts. As a result, a colorful crowd speaking a variety of languages surrounded the house. Now the apostles, who so shortly before had hid in fear behind locked doors, came forth and courageously walked among the multitude speaking to each in his native tongue. It was indeed amazing! Galileans, and multilingual?
But the malicious too were present; they had the answer. Nothing marvelous at all! Those Galileans were simply drunk, and their drunken babble sounded like a foreign language! Peter showed no hesitation in answering the charge. None of their number, he said, were intoxicated; it was but nine o'clock in the morning, and at that hour men usually are sober. What the multitude saw was, in fact, the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy: In those days (of the Messiah), God will pour forth His Spirit upon men and they will prophesy. . . . Then the apostle pointed his words more directly against the accusers: they had killed Jesus, had nailed Him to the Cross; but God had awakened Him and after His departure to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit.
The pilgrims who had heard Peter give this first pentecostal sermon "were pierced to the heart and said: Brethren, what shall we do? But Peter said to them: Repent and be baptized; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Three thousand responded.
One final question: why the miracle of tongues? In answer, recall the story regarding the tower of Babel. Puffed up by pride, men attempted to build a tower that would touch the heavens. To punish their sin, God confused their speech. Sin causes confusion and division. Now Christ came to gather all men into His Church and thereby to unite them to Himself. This should result in creating but one family of nations again. To this blessed state the miracle of tongues points.
Yes, even we as individuals have a gift of tongues which all men can understand. It is the gift of love infused into us by the Holy Spirit. Love unites, love is a common language, by means of love we can speak to all nations.

USCCB Statement on death of George Floyd and racism in America

Statement of U.S. Bishop Chairmen in Wake of Death of George Floyd and National Protests


May 29, 2020
WASHINGTON – Seven U.S. bishop chairmen of committees within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued a statement in the wake of the death of Mr. George Floyd and the protests which have broken out in Minneapolis and in other cities in the United States.
Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; and Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, chairman of the Subcommittee on African American Affairs have issued the following statement:
We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes. What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion.
Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on. As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference. We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.
While it is expected that we will plead for peaceful non-violent protests, and we certainly do, we also stand in passionate support of communities that are understandably outraged. Too many communities around this country feel their voices are not being heard, their complaints about racist treatment are unheeded, and we are not doing enough to point out that this deadly treatment is antithetical to the Gospel of Life.
As we said eighteen months ago in our most recent pastoral letter against racism, Open Wide Our Hearts, for people of color some interactions with police can be fraught with fear and even danger. People of good conscience must never turn a blind eye when citizens are being deprived of their human dignity and even their lives. Indifference is not an option. “As bishops, we unequivocally state that racism is a life issue.”
We join Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis in praying for the repose of the soul of Mr. George Floyd and all others who have lost their lives in a similar manner. We plead for an end to the violence in the wake of this tragedy and for the victims of the rioting. We pray for comfort for grieving families and friends. We pray for peace across the United States, particularly in Minnesota, while the legal process moves forward. We also anticipate a full investigation that results in rightful accountability and actual justice.
We join our brother bishops to challenge everyone to come together, particularly with those who are from different cultural backgrounds. In this encounter, let us all seek greater understanding amongst God’s people. So many people who historically have been disenfranchised continue to experience sadness and pain, yet they endeavor to persevere and remain people of great faith. We encourage our pastors to encounter and more authentically accompany them, listen to their stories, and learn from them, finding substantive ways to enact systemic change. Such encounters will start to bring about the needed transformation of our understanding of true life, charity, and justice in the United States. Hopefully, then there will be many voices speaking out and seeking healing against the evil of racism in our land.
As we anticipate the Solemnity of Pentecost this weekend, we call upon all Catholics to pray and work toward a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for a supernatural desire to rid ourselves of the harm that bias and prejudice cause. We call upon Catholics to pray to the Holy Spirit for the Spirit of Truth to touch the hearts of all in the United States and to come down upon our criminal justice and law enforcement systems. Finally, let each and every Catholic, regardless of their ethnicity, beg God to heal our deeply broken view of each other, as well as our deeply broken society.