Voices of Hope in this Challenging Week

Pentecost Sunday, which Catholics celebrated this past weekend reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters in the same Spirit of the Lord, even though we represent many cultures, languages, races, and nationalities.  Our mission at Catholic Extension is grounded in this new powerful reality arising from the Pentecost, that we are not solipsistic individuals who occasionally connect to each other. First, always, and fundamentally we are one with each other in the fire of God’s loving Spirit.

In this moment of national trauma, division, outrage, and fear, the shepherds of the faith communities supported by Catholic Extension have given us inspiring words of hope, tough love, and powerful guidance to help us find our way forward as a nation and as people united in God’s Spirit.

We are pleased to share their wisdom with you.

Bishop Daniel Flores shepherds the Diocese of Brownsville, TX, the Catholic diocese with the highest rate of people in living poverty in the nation.  In his homily for Pentecost Sunday, he remarked:

Racism is sin.  It is an offense against the Father who made us all, against the Son who became one of us to Redeem us all, and against the Holy Spirit who is poured out to unite us all.”

Bishop Shelton Fabre, shepherds the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, LA, and is the chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. He offered powerful words in a video address released this past weekend:  

We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference.

Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD of Beaumont, TX is the first African American bishop of a Texas diocese. In response to the tragic events of this past week in Minneapolis, he said:

Our actions – yours and mine – should be a courageous call for justice, community prayer that calls us together in our diversity, and honest dialogue so that we can have a more just society.

I ask you to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we approach Pentecost in order that we might work now to create a society where justice and peace are shared with all of God’s children.”

Bishop Gerald Barnes, who shepherds the Diocese of San Bernardino—one of the fastest growing dioceses in the nation, and where the majority of the faithful are people of color, offered these words:

“The wound that many are carrying with regard to race and its relationship to our criminal justice system has been tragically reopened. We cannot dismiss the outcry of the people for justice for all before the law.



Let us ask ourselves, how can we take the lesson that we are learning about the value of human life from COVID-19 and apply it to this situation? How can we carry out relationship building without any walls of color, gender, age, economic condition, political party or other divisions that plague us? I invite you to pray over these questions.”

Bishop Mark Seitz, shepherds the Diocese of El Paso, TX, a city which less than one year ago was the site of a massacre motivated by racial hate.  In his pastoral letter on Racism – “Night will be no More,” published Oct 13, 2019, he prophetically states:

Challenging racism and white supremacy, whether in our hearts or in society, is a Christian imperative and the cost of not facing these issues head on, weighs much more heavily on those who live the reality of discrimination.
 
Every race and color and tribe and people and language and culture are threads in the vibrant and diverse tapestry of the Reign of God. Our suffering and pain and dispossession are transfigured in the Jesus who died on the Cross and who invites us to relocate our broken history, our imperfect lives, our desires and aspirations and our work for justice.”

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