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Racial Justice Sunday: 'A Time to Act'

  • Ellen Teague

Image: CTBI/MLK Library of Congress

Image: CTBI/MLK Library of Congress

Racial Justice Sunday takes place on 31 January 2021. The lead Bishop for Racial Justice says: "It's not enough to simply denounce racism; This is a time to act."

Bishop Paul McAleenan, auxiliary in Westminster, echoes the words of Pope Francis pointing out that instances of racism continue to shame us and show that "our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think."

This annual day aims to raise awareness of the responsibility of the Church to eradicate racial discrimination in all its forms within the church and wider society. Racial justice is a gospel imperative since Christ called us not just to welcome all who we meet but to treat people with dignity and respect in every aspect of our private and public lives.

In recent years Pope Francis has repeatedly used four verbs encouraging positive and direct action in relation to migrants and refugees, 'Welcome, Protect, Promote and Integrate'. These same words are essential to advancing the cause of racial justice.

The Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) says "the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, the killing of George Floyd, and the powerful message on fraternity and equality by Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti speak of the need to actively oppose racism and pursue racial justice with renewed vigour." A video reflection by a Zimbabwean Catholic Youth group has been produced for Racial Justice Sunday. Resources at: and

A parish reflection on racial justice has been recorded by parishioners Nebiat Michael and Frances Umeh from the Catholic community of Our Lady of Fatima in White City, West London, and their parish priest Fr Richard Nesbitt. They take part in regular Sunday night parish Zoom discussions looking to improve awareness of racial justice in the parish.


Entries are still welcome for the Columban schools competition 2021 with the theme, 'Let's Create A World Without Racism'. The competition for 14-18-year-olds closes on 20 February and all details are on the website:

For Churches Together in Britain and Ireland resources see:


Lord Jesus Christ,
in your ministry
you were approached by people
of many different nations and cultures.
You listened to their cry for help,
treated them with love and compassion,
and brought them healing and wholeness.

In our own time may we provide
to all those who are suffer
the help that they need
and the care that they require.

May we respond to the invitation of the Holy Spirit
to dream of a world made new
where the poor are not forgotten
but are given the opportunity
to live and flourish
with good health and equal prospects.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.



Mill Hill Missionaries

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