Black is beautiful (1960’s). Black Lives Matter (2020’s).
St. Elizabeth is privileged and proud to be one of three parishes in our diocese that is designated as an African-American parish. The universal Catholic Church has been enriched by the saintly participation of black people since the first century. For 400 years now, blacks in America have been the victims of unceasing persecution, including persistent harassment and hostility by white police officers. The murder of George Floyd is the tip of the iceberg and a tipping point in our history. And so, we as a parish commit ourselves to continuing our work for racial justice, particularly in Richmond and particularly as it is needed in law enforcement practices, affordable housing, educational opportunity, and economic standards of living.
And so, we as a parish challenge those of us who are white, in the words of black Catholic priest Fr. Bryan Massingale, “to sit in the discomfort that the hard truth of white privilege brings, to admit your ignorance and to do something about it, to have the courage to confront your family and friends, to be unconditionally pro-life given that racism is a life issue, and to pray.” While sitting with the discomfort, it is a time to reflect on the assumptions that have influenced our lives about people who are black and so lift this awareness in prayer. And so, we as a parish look forward to being an even stronger beloved and diverse community of disciples of Jesus Christ, Lord of us all.
Photo by Nils Westergar on www.rvamag.com
St. Elizabeth’s Human Concerns Ministry
Bishop Knestout statement on the Death of George Floyd and Unrest in Richmond
Pope Francis’s call to US Bishops
CNN article on how to talk to your children about protests and racism
Prayer to overcome racism:
Wake Me Up Lord*
Wake me up Lord, so that the evil of racism
finds no home within me.
Keep watch over my heart Lord,
and remove from me any barriers to your grace,
that may oppress and offend my brothers and sisters.
Fill my spirit Lord, so that I may give
services of justice and peace.
Clear my mind Lord, and use it for your glory.
And finally, remind us Lord that you said,
“blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.”
* This prayer is from For The Love of One Another (1989), a special message from the Bishops’ Committee on Black Catholics of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the Pastoral Letter, Brothers and Sisters to Us, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racism (1979).