Recommitting to racial justice has not gone out of season

radical justice

Catholic groups and organizations are striving to not only acknowledge the sins of the past but also do something to atone for them.

Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, issued a Lenten study guide last year, “Recommit to Racial Justice.”

It has proved so popular that more copies of the six-week program need to be made whenever Network participates in conferences, according to Meg Olson, who leads Network’s grassroots mobilization team.

They fairly flew off the table at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington in January, and Olson said, “I’m printing several hundred copies to take to L.A. for the Religious Education Congress,” an annual event that draws thousands of participants each year.

The response to “Recommit to Racial Justice” was enlightening, Olson told Catholic News Service. “Last year, especially, with the talk of racial justice, we had people accessing (it) who knew nothing about Network,” she said.

The U.S. bishops had recently approved a new statement, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” which called racism a sin.

Some of the evidence of this response gathered by Network is purely anecdotal. Olson said one person commented, “Your ideas or material is so good and your actions so appropriate, that I look forward to Lent. By the way, I’m Jewish.”

“Last year, on Ash Wednesday, someone I had never heard from before said, ‘I go to a lot of places and meet up with a lot of your members in a lot of various situations,’” Olson said.

Another woman from Portland, Oregon, said her parish was going to do the weekly “Recommit to Racial Justice” reflection sessions.

“I don’t even know where to live anymore,” Olson said the woman told her. “Because of my whiteness, I feel no matter where I live it feels I’m going to hurt a person of colour.”

But “Recommit to Racial Justice” isn’t just for Lent anymore. Like previous Network Lenten study guides, “we evergreen them as soon as Easter arrives so people can use them all year-round,” Olson said. Continue reading

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