Cultural Diversity: May we be the light of hope

by MILAGROS RAMOS
Fri, Aug 26th 2016 03:00 pm
Director, Office of Cultural Diversity

I have been saddened by the events that took place in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas. As I heard and saw this happening again, my heart just was so heavy. I wanted to do something, but the feeling was also overwhelming. How can we get rid of this terrible sin?

Our faith, as Catholics, tells us to deal with it differently than the world here does. It is through loving, compassion and life-giving, the way the Lord has taught us. I would like to share with you a letter put together by the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus. This letter was written on July 11, 2016.

"We, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, USA, write to you with burdened hearts in the hope that we find people of good will to be an encouragement for the work that the people of God must undertake. We are living in troubled times. The racial turmoil all around us, no matter what region of the country we live in is the legacy of our country's original sin - that of racism within our minds and hearts, which is an inner emotional dysfunction that produces dysfunctional behavior between all the races. We are a country which is thinking, feeling and acting under the influence of the stinking thinking of racism.          

The recent events that have taken place in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas show that we still have a long way to go to free ourselves from racism's chains. As Black Catholic priests, deacons and religious brothers in the United States we appeal to our Catholic Church and our American society to witness to our Christian creed and civic belief that every person is created equal before God. End the silence of where you stand on this basic tenet of religious faith and civic covenant. Stand in the breach and be counted. In the words of the first epistle of the Church written by St. James: 'Be doers of the word, not hearers only.'

The National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus is committed to be witnesses to the truth of being Black in America and in the Catholic Church. We pray and will work to encourage men, women, boys and girls of good will to stand in solidarity with us. Together may we be a light of hope that chases the darkness of racisms from our hearts of our Church and our American society.

We also pray for all the victims of these most recent acts of violence. May God welcome them into the eternal Kingdom and bring comfort and consolation to their families and loved ones."

Rev. Kenneth Taylor, president, National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus;
Rev. Clarence Williams, CPPS, Ph.D., vice president.

Mark your calendars: the National Black Catholic Congress XII will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla., July 6-9, 2017.

Congress XII presents an opportunity for leaders to address issues such as racial inequality and the response of the Church in light of the present unrest.
To prepare for Congress XII, I ask that you attend a day of reflection that will take place on Sept. 10, at St. Columba Brigid Church in Buffalo, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. The day of reflection is intended to offer opportunities for reflection and preparation for the upcoming Congress experience.  

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