A Response to the Incidents in Charlottesville, VA
Dear Ministry Leaders,
Over the past week the media has been inundated with visuals and rhetoric on the deplorable acts of hatred and violence that occurred in Charlottesville, VA. It is at times such as these that we look to our government leaders to stand up with conviction and in unison against the messages of racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism to heal our nation. A response that appears divisive at worst and anemic at best seems only to exacerbate the sad situation.
With courage and dignity, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued a statement of condemnation on behalf of all the bishops:
Part of the problem of any kind of evil getting a foothold is when really good people don’t say anything. So these kinds of issues are important–that we speak, that we act together.
Recently during an interview, Archbishop Wilton Gregory urged all the bishops to speak out against racial and ethnic division. Archbishop Gregory reminded us that these issues must also be addressed at the local level:
The issues that we confront in our nation at this time, and perhaps have always had before us, are about seeing other people as ‘the other,’ as though they don’t belong, as though they don’t have dignity, as though they don’t have rights.
Speaking from his position as a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals Advisory Board, Cardinal Sean O’Malley has called on U.S. citizens to stand against the “pagan ideas of Nazism.” Further, Cardinal O’Malley summons all of us to “fervent prayer and peaceful action.”
Our country is once again in a moment when the civic and biblical heritage is being attacked and tested. We need to reassert and reaffirm the belief that one nation is meant to include all: the multiple races, cultures, ethnicities and religions which make up our country.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has cautioned all of us in a tweet he sent on March 12, 2015:
Beware of getting too comfortable! When we are comfortable, it’s easy to forget other people.
As Americans who profess to be people of faith, people of good will, people who have chosen to embrace and live out the Felician Core Values for Ministry, we are obligated to raise our voices against any expressions of hatred, violence, and bigotry that are an affront to our cherished beliefs.
So what actions can we take? We can raise our voices to let our government representative know that we believe these acts are vile and abhorrent. We can pray for healing and for the softening of the hearts of all citizens so that we may become agents of peace, understanding and unity. We can work for unity and the end of division within our own ministries and communities.
Finally, we are encouraged to be strong in this struggle for peace by Blessed Mary Angela who wrote:
Let your love be like Christ’s love, revealing yourself not only in feelings but in deeds.
In the next week, the Mission Operations Team will provide a series of resources on our website to assist your ministry with a Prayer Service and an Ethical Reflection Guide that will facilitate the process at your respective ministry. In prayerful solidarity, may all who serve at Felician Sponsored Ministries demonstrate our values in action.
We encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as additional materials will be referenced. Please let us know how your Felician Services Team can best support your ministry in its efforts to be an agent for peace today.
With a prayerful hope for a future that dispels darkness with the light of prayer and peaceful action,
Sister Mary Barbara Ann Bosch, CEO
Andrea White, President