During the conference, Brown answered numerous questions on how Catholics approach this issue, understand it, and then act upon it, including tips on how to get the conversation started. She also addressed questions on justice and forgiveness.
“It's really important that people have simple conversations. That's the first thing, reaching out to people in your immediate group, … at your parish, maybe [someone] you've never spoken to,” she said. “Number two, read the pastoral letter … spend some time going through the resources on the USCCB website on racism. There's a number of prayer services that people can pray through [and] read through … that I think would really move a community towards both prayer and conversation.”
The event was supported by the archdiocese’s Office for Black Catholics and Office for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees. It was also sponsored by the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture on the University of Pennsylvania campus.
Patrick Travers, director of Newman Ministries, told CNA that the idea first began as a conversation with the students and parishioners at the Newman Center. Later, they decided to collaborate with the archdiocese’s multicultural offices and expand the discussion to include a wider audience.
He commended Brown’s involvement and said similar projects will take place in the future at the Newman Center.
“We have been facilitating several dialogues on this sensitive topic since the summer months, and are looking to build understanding, healing, unity and justice,” he said, adding that he agrees with Brown that “doing so from a Catholic perspective, we as a portion of the Church are called to contribute to the difficulties our society is facing.”