As racial unrest continue across many parts of the United States, the Archbishop of Milwaukee has appealed for peace and respect for the common good. The US Bishop Conference also urged people of faith to participate in a day of prayer and fasting against racism on August 28 or alternatively on September 9, the feast of St Peter Claver.
The invitation comes after days of protests after a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times, leaving him paralyzed. In the clashes that followed, a 17-year-old was charged with killing two people and injuring another during demonstrations in Kenosha.
In light of these recent events, Bishop Shelton J Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism invited Catholics "to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and participate in reparation for sins of racism to the Sacred Heart of Jesus."
The US Bishops are also inviting Catholics to consider praying the rosary, for the intercession of the saints who have fought for racial equality such as St Katharine Drexel and St Peter Claver.
Noting that August 28 marked the 57th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington - where Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his 'I Have A Dream' speech - Bishop Fabre said: "We must continue to engage the battle against the current evils of our society and in the words of Dr. King, refuse to believe 'that the bank of justice is bankrupt.'"
"Dr. King's dream, as he himself said, is deeply rooted in the American Dream. Let us not forget the price that he and so many courageous witnesses of all faiths and creeds paid to bring us to this moment."
Bishop Fabre stressed that they stand in solidarity with Archbishop Jerome E Listecki of Milwaukee (which includes the city of Kenosha), who earlier this week said: "Violence can never be the means to attain peace and justice. The Church stands as a beacon of hope. The sins of violence, injustice, racism, and hatred must be purged from our communities with acts of mercy, with the protection and care for the dignity of every human person, with respect for the common good, and with an unwavering pursuit of equality and peace."
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