USCCB PASTORAL LETTER ON RACISM

BALTIMORE (November 14, 2018) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved today, during its November General Assembly, the formal statement, "Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism." The full body of bishops approved it by a two-thirds majority vote of 241 to 3 with 1 abstention.

The USCCB Cultural Diversity in the Church Committee, chaired by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, of San Antonio, Texas, spearheaded the letter's drafting and guided it through the voting process. Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, of Houma-Thibodaux, Chairman of U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and Chair of the Sub-committee on African American Affairs within the Cultural Diversity Committee, issued the following statement:

"The entire body of bishops felt the need to address the topic of racism, once again, after witnessing the deterioration of the public discourse, and episodes of violence and animosity with racial and xenophobic overtones, that have re-emerged in American society in the last few years. Pastoral letters from the full body of bishops are rare, few and far between. But at key moments in history the bishops have come together for important pronouncements, paying attention to a particular issue and with the intention of offering a Christian response, full of hope, to the problems of our time. This is such a time."

Initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in August 2017, the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism was created to address the evil of racism in our society and Church, to address the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions, and to support the implementation of the bishops' pastoral letter on racism.

"Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love," is a Pastoral Letter from the full body of bishops to the lay faithful and all people of goodwill addressing the evil of racism.

The pastoral letter asks us to recall that we are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. Because we all bear the image of God, racism is above all a moral and theological problem that manifests institutionally and systematically. Only a deep individual conversion of heart, which then multiplies, will compel change and reform in our institutions and society. It is imperative to confront racism's root causes and the injustice it produces. The love of God binds us together. This same love should overflow into our relationships with all people. The conversions needed to overcome racism require a deep encounter with the living God in the person of Christ who can heal all division.

USCCB.org



VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Fr. John wishes to offer an invitation to those interested in being a part of the service and outreach of the growing ministries of the Shrine. Fr. John will be hoping to develop strong teams of volunteers to serve as Extra-ordinary ministers of Communion, Altar Servers, Lectors, Greeters, Assistant Sacristans, Ushers, Hospitality Providers, Cantors, Musicians, etc. Especially at a church that is at a stage of expanding its small but vibrant faith community - there is a great reliance on the participation of many of the few. Be a trailblazer, as together we develop the witness of the Shrine to St. Francis. If interested: please submit contact information to Fr. John at e-mail: frjohn@shrinesf.org.



ASSISI PARDON

PORZIUNCULA PARDON is always available under the conditions the Catholic Church has stipulated. The conditions for receiving the Porziuncula Pardon are:

To receive the the Porziuncula Indulgence on August 2, one must receive sacramental absolution and receive Holy Communion at Mass during the Period beginning eight days before the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels and ending eight days after August 2. Additionally, on August 2 itself, one must visit a church where one prays at least the Creed and an Our Father for the intentions of the Pope. Additionally, one must be completely free of any attachment to sin; if this condition is not met, the indulgence is partial rather then plenary. However, at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, the Pardon of Assisi may be received on August 2 (either at the Shrine Church or the Porziuncula Nuova chapel); on October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (in the Shrine Church); on any two days of one's own choosing during the year (one day in the Church and one day in the Porziuncula Nuova); and as often as one makes a formal pilgrimage as part of a group to the Shrine Church or to the Porziuncula Nuova. (One may receive a plenary indulgence only once a day and it may be applied to oneself or to the soul of one of the faithfully departed. All the same conditions as on August 2nd apply.)



Donations Needed for Historic Pipe Organ

You are invited to own a piece of history at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi by contributing to help us meet the current needs of our Historic Pipe Organ. The total cost before tax and any unforeseen additions is $3,630.



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