USCCB President Archbishop Kurtz selected today, the Feast Day of Saint Peter Claver, as a Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities.
Prayer of the Day
Let us pray . . .
O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness,
no thought of ours is left unnoticed,
no desire or concern ignored.
You have proven that blessings abound
when we fall on our knees in prayer,
and so we turn to you in our hour of need.
Surrounded by violence and cries for justice,
we hear your voice telling us what is required . . .
“Only to do justice and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn,
may be merciful to others.
Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism
so that we may seek peace and justice
in our communities.
Strengthen our hearts so that they beat
only to the rhythm of your holy will.
Flood our path with your light
as we walk humbly toward a future
filled with encounter and unity.
Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts,
for only by the prompting of your grace
can we progress toward virtue.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us pray to the Lord:
- For an end to the violence perpetrated by harsh words, deadly weapons, or cold indifference. May our homes, our nation, and countries around the world become havens of peace,
- For the grace to see every human being as a child of God, regardless of race, language or culture,
- For the wisdom to receive the stories and experiences of those different from ourselves and to respond with respect,
- For the strength to teach our children how to resolve differences non-violently and respectfully, and the courage to model it in our own behavior,
- For our faith community, that we may celebrate and welcome the diverse faces of Christ in our worship, our ministries, and our leaders,
- For our faith community, that we may respond boldly to the Holy Spirit’s call to act together to end violence and racism,
- For healing and justice for all those who have experienced violence and racism,
- For the protection of all police and first responders who risk their lives daily to ensure our safety; for fair and just policing that will promote peace and wellbeing in all our neighborhoods,
- For our public officials, that they will strive to work for fair education, adequate housing, and equal opportunities for employment for all,
- For our parish, that we may cultivate welcome, extend hospitality, and encourage the participation of people of all cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds,
- For the courage to have difficult conversations about racism, and for a better appreciation of how our words and actions – or even our silence – can impact our communities,
- For solidarity in our global human family, that we may work together to protect those who are most vulnerable and most in need,
Lord, hear our prayer.
Quotes of the Day
We are most Catholic when we reflect our oneness of faith, worship, that is achieved in response to our rich mixture of human variety through the grace of the Holy Spirit. — Archbishop Wilton Gregory (Atlanta)
Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty. — Dr Martin Luther King, Jr
Take a Step Toward Peace and Reconciliation
Pray, Listen, Learn, Think, and Act
Following are five steps Archbishop Kurtz recommends that Catholics take to promote peace, justice, and respect for all people:
- Pray for peace and healing among all people.
- Study the Word of God and the social teaching of the Church in order to gain a deeper appreciation of the dignity of all persons.
- Make a sincere effort to encounter more fully people of different racial backgrounds with whom we live, work, and minister.
- Pursue ways in which Catholic parishes and neighborhoods can be truly welcoming of families of different racial and religious backgrounds.
- Get to know our local law enforcement officers. Let them know of our support and gratitude. And encourage young people to respect all legitimate authority.
Question of the Day
“How is your heart, today? Is it at peace? If it is not at peace, before speaking of peace, make sure your own heart is at peace. How is your family, today? Is it at peace? If you are not able to bring peace to your family, your rectory, your congregation, bringing it more peace, then words of peace for the world are not enough. This is the question that I would like to ask today: How is the heart of each one of us? Is it at peace? How is the family of each one of us? Is it at peace? That’s how it is, isn’t it? To achieve peace in the world.”
— Pope Francis homily, September 8
- Prayer God of the Journey (50th Anniversary of March from Selma to Montgomery)
- Read Some Thoughts on Recent Tragedies and Racial Tensions (Msgr Charles Pope, Community in Mission: Creating a Culture of Encounter, July 10, 2016)
- Read Five Ways You Can Cultivate Peace and Work for Racial Justice (To Go Forth)
- Study Guide The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015 (Bishop Braxton)
- Read Reconciled Through Christ: On reconciliation and greater collaboration between Hispanic American Catholics and African American Catholics (USCCB)
- Read Brothers and Sisters to Us Pastoral Letter on Racism (USCCB, 1979)
- Read 25th Anniversary US Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism (USCCB, 2004)
- Read What We Have Seen and Heard: A Pastoral Letter on Evangelization from the Black Bishops of the United States (1984)
- Read On Racial Harmony (1963)
- Read Statement on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act (2014)