Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
For the past few weeks we, as a nation, have been deeply saddened and affected by the manner in which George Floyd died. It has reopened past and present wounds. As a Church, we stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters who demand justice and respect for all who have suffered the effects of racism.
The Pastoral Letter, Open Wide Our Hearts, written by our country’s bishops explains that:
“Racism arises when—either consciously or unconsciously—a person holds that his or her own race or ethnicity is superior […] When this conviction or attitude leads individuals or groups to exclude, ridicule, mistreat, or unjustly discriminate against persons on the basis of their race or ethnicity, it is sinful. Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of the persons offended, to recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love (Mt 22:39).”
This weekend’s Gospel message gives us assured hope of God’s recognition that all life is sacred: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16)
I echo the words of our bishop, Bishop Oscar Cantu: “We challenge everyone, especially those from different cultural backgrounds, to come together peacefully to work toward a society where justice, peace, and charity may be shared by children of the same Creator.”
As we continue to pray in solidarity, let us ask for the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary on behalf of our nation we pray:
Mary, friend and mother to all,
through your Son, God has found a way
to unite himself to every human being,
called to be one people,
brothers and sisters to each other.
We ask for your help in calling on your Son,
seeking forgiveness for the times when
we have failed to love and respect one another.
We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son
the grace we need to overcome the evil of racism
and to build a just society.
We ask for your help in following your Son,
so that prejudice and animosity
will no longer infect our minds or hearts
but will be replaced with a love that respects
the dignity of each person.
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us. Amen.
May the Lord bless our nation with peace and justice during these unprecedented times and always!
Peace in Christ,
Fr. John Poncini, Pastor