Washington D.C., Sep 9, 2020 / 16:54 pm
On the feast of St. Peter Claver, bishops in the U.S. preached on overcoming the sin of racism through God’s grace.
On August 27, the chair of the U.S. bishops’ anti-racism committee, Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, called for Catholics to observe either August 28 or September 9 as a day of prayer and fasting “in reparation for sins of racism to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
August 28 marked the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the civil rights March on Washington, while the feast of St. Peter Claver is observed on September 9.
The announcement followed a summer of anti-racism protests and riots in U.S. cities, after the killings of African-Americans including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and George Floyd.
St. Peter Claver was born in Catalonia, Spain, in 1581, and joined the Jesuit order; he became a missionary to present-day Columbia in 1610. For more than 40 years, he served and catechized African slaves brought to the area by European colonists, vowing to be “the slave of the blacks forever.”
Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, preached on September 9 on the Gospel of Matthew 25:14-23—the parable of the talents.
The servant in the parable who buries his talent in the ground ultimately “rejects God’s hope for him,” Bishop Olson said, in denying that “that God can do anything beautiful with him or with others.” Today, he said, we “must take note” of persons “who are despairing and presumptuous” in denying God’s ability to effect change.
“We must not follow them or become enraged by their anger and shouts for anarchy by refusing to see the Good News in ourselves or others,” he said.