From Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Bishop Andrew Cozzens
The recent violent attacks in Charlottesville and Barcelona, as well as the bombing at a Bloomington Mosque earlier this month, have forced all of us to confront the existence of evil in this world. We join men and women of good will around our Archdiocese and around the globe who condemn all senseless violence and expressions of hatred. While we cannot know or judge what is in the heart of another, we know that we need to confront any evidence that racism and hateful prejudice reside in our hearts. The temptation to hopelessness is all too real, but we know that we have in Christ the answer to despair.
Pope Francis reminds us: “The Christian’s real force is the force of truth and of love, which involves renouncing all forms of violence. Faith and violence are incompatible! Instead, faith and strength go together. Christians are not violent; they are strong. And with what kind of strength? That of meekness, the strength of meekness, the strength of love.”
We must be people of encounter who look for opportunities to engage others in ways that acknowledge the dignity of each human person. Living in such a diverse community, the possibilities are real and endless. We need to be witnesses of peace, hope, kindness and charity, which should begin in our homes, neighborhoods and parishes.
Let us acknowledge and promote the power of prayer. We ask the faithful of this Archdiocese and our neighbors of good will to join us in praying for those who have been killed and injured, as well as for all who have experienced the scourge of racism and discrimination. The Mass for Reconciliation (#16 in the Roman Missal) and the Mass in Time of War or Civil Disturbance (#31) would both be appropriate for parishes to celebrate in the days to come. Let us pray for peace, patience and solidarity in our community and among all peoples.