Dear Parishioners and Friends of Holy Family,
Our community, our country and our world have cried out in anguish and pain at the injustice, callousness and brutality of George Floyd’s death. Tragically, he is among many generations of known and unknown African American women and men, our sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ, whose lives have ended because of racial injustice and discrimination. We also face a viral epidemic, illness, fear, and economic uncertainty, issues that cry out for healing. These issues affect us personally, but also reveal more racial disparity.
Today, in solidarity, Holy Family joined other parishes throughout the Archdiocese ringing our church bells at 9:00 a.m. for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, two weeks to the day that George Floyd died.
As Catholic Christians, we not only know but feel to the core of our being that racism and prejudice are the antithesis of Jesus’ call to love one another. As disciples, Jesus taught us to pray and act to bring God’s system of justice to the world and any other response would be counter to His mandates. Racism and prejudice of any kind are an affront to the dignity and sacredness of all human beings whom we proclaim are made in the image and likeness of God. We cannot overstate this inherent truth.
There is much work to do to understand the structural and institutional complexities of racism in this country. Just as important is the work that each of us needs to do in our own hearts to recognize the unconverted parts of ourselves which fail to see where we may be complicit in structures or attitudes that oppress others. We must be listeners who open ourselves to different viewpoints and enter into dialogue with those who may have another perspective. This is the work of the soul, and it is both challenging and transformative. If you did not hear Msgr. Connolly’s powerful homily on Trinity Sunday, then I invite you to listen to him here.
I take great hope from the many peaceful marches and vigils throughout our country and world that witness to the fervent desire for a more just and equitable society. I am especially grateful for the lead of our young people who express passion and commitment to changing our world for the better. Marisa Moonilal, our Young Adult Ministry Coordinator, speaks eloquently to the process of change which must be rooted in peaceful prayer, dialogue and self-understanding. There is no room for violence through deeds or words in any context.
How do we move forward within our Holy Family community? Clearly, this is a marathon, and not a sprint, but we would like to offer two ways we might begin.
A Mass for Racial Reconciliation and Healing, Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00 p.m. (livestreamed here, through holyfamily.org)
Nine Days of Prayer for Healing and Reconciliation beginning Sunday, June 14th, the Feast of Corpus Christi
As a parish community, we will pray for nine days for peace and healing in our country. We invite the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to the creative and Christ-centered possibilities of wholeness and reconciliation, and to empower our work to end racism and prejudice. More information will be forthcoming in the next few days.
Education remains one of the best ways to stop the proliferation of racism and injustice. We will shortly be sending out an invitation to a special program on racial reconciliation, as well as suggestions for reading materials and other resources which foster a deeper understanding of the issues we face.
I welcome your feedback and suggestions for how we might continue to engage in this process of peaceful prayer, dialogue and understanding. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (626) 403-6110.
May we each continue to pray for the end of racism and discrimination as well as healing and reconciliation in our country, as we open our hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
Yours in the peace of Christ,
We invite you to reflect on Archbishop Gomez’s statement https://angelusnews.com/voices/george-floyd-and-us/, as well as the statement released by seven other US Bishops, including our own Regional Bishop Dave O’Connell, the Chair of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development http://www.usccb.org/news/2020/20-83.cfm.
In November 2018, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter against racism: “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love”.http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/upload/open-wide-our-hearts.pdf