St. Charles Borromeo, Harlem – How to be an Anti-Racist Parish.

What an Anti-Racist Parish could look like:

  • It’s a Parish that recognizes that Catholic social teaching is consistent with being anti-racist, speaks out against injustice, and is action oriented.  
  • An anti-racist parish understands “Catholic” as a verb more than a pronoun. It’s active. Such a parish talks and listens (fellowships) with each other without qualification.
  • An anti-racist parish recognizes a collective movement toward love and equality regardless of race, ancestry, sexual orientation, or any other human categorization or label that might be seen as different than the “norm.”
  • A church that looks at structures that require people to adjust constantly, shape-shift, and contort to the demands of those structural norms and looks to adjust them
  • An anti-racist parish is willing to SEE those who are having trouble fitting and seek understanding (I think Thea Bowman did this with the Bishops)
  • An anti-racist parish could also be anti-marginalization, anti-violence, anti-gender discrimination, anti-anything that makes someone feel like a motherless child
  • It might be a parish involved in immigration efforts and helps our larger Church understand the plight of Black immigrants from Haiti, other parts of the Caribbean, those on the African continent, and other African diaspora populations.
  • It’s a Parish that joins our Pope in speaking about Black Lives Matter and the horrific murders of people of color that continue in this country. 
  • It could be a parish that shares with the Greater Church and the world the contributions of Black Catholics like Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman and Venerable Pierre Toussaint. We hold up these examples of efforts to evangelize, call people to repent, lead people to healing, and provide Joy to anyone who might feel like a motherless child for our children and our community to find hopeful inspiration that leads to joyous action.
  • It could be a Parish that produces more vocations to the diaconate, religious brothers and sister orders, more vocations to the priesthood, and more Bishops who understand the community and can speak to and for the community

(Source: extract from the Homily by Deacon Michel Hodge, Third Sunday of Advent, 2022, St Charles Borromeo Church, Harlem)

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