Aug 9-14, 2017 – Solidarity, Genocide, Racial & Religious Violence – Feast of Edith Stein; Maximilian Kolbe

The feasts of Sts. Teresa Bendicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and Maximilian Kolbe fall in early August. Both saints were martyrs in the Holocaust. St. Teresa Benedicta was a Jewish convert to Catholicism, St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Catholic priest. They were both killed by the Nazis in concentration camps. Though the Holocaust occurred over 70 years ago our world is still not without the sin of racism and violence against people of different religions. Our goal is to help build a world community in solidarity with one another, united in our humanity regardless of race or religion.

 

Opening Prayer

O God, author and lover of peace,

to know you is to live, to serve you is to reign;

defend against every attack those who cry to you,

so that we, who trust in your protection,

may not fear the weapons of any foe.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Amen

Additional resources:

Catechism 1934-1938 (Equality of all);

1939-1942; 1943-1948 (solidarity);

2104-2109 (religious liberty);

Compendium 144-145; 431-433; 192-196; 152-159; 387; 504-506;

USCCB page on Racism

(from the collect of prayers “In Time of War or Civil Disturbance” ; Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved.)

 

Scripture

John 15:12-17

Catechesis video

Catechesis video questions for 7-12 grade; social Justice Committees; The parish – Take some time individually to ask yourself the following questions as an examination of conscience. Afterwards, discuss together if you realized anything about yourself that you would like to change. (You do not need to discuss all of the questions as a group. Select a couple from the list)

  1. Have I ever participated in or laughed at jokes or comments that belittle or denigrate people who don’t look like me or practice a different faith than me?Have I ever said the following phrase or something similar “she’s pretty for a black girl” or “He’d be handsome if he wasn’t so dark.”
  2. Have I taken the time to listen to the voices of others who don’t look like me or have a different background and life experience than me?
  3. Have I ever seen someone on the street and made a judgement based on how they dress, how their hair is styled, how they walk, how they speak?
  4. Have I made efforts to share communion with those who are different than me?
  5. Do I interact with people who are different from me outside of work or school?
  6. Do I read books or stories written by people of different ethnic or religious heritage than myself?
  7. Am I in a position of authority making decisions about dress codes, hairstyles, “proper” behavior and speech, etc.? Do I seek the voices of other cultures that are affected by the decisions I am making to ensure cultural inclusion and respect?
  8. Do I promote assimilation rather than inculturation?
  9. Do I blame others for the obstacles they face?
  10. Have I ever said “we should just bomb ’em all and get it over with”?
  11. When I hear of the death of someone from a different background than my own, do I think to myself “good riddance.”
  12. Do I try to come up with excuses for things I do or say that are perceived as racist or harmful?
  13. Do I dismiss the concerns or observations of people of color as simply being “overly sensitive”?
  14. Do I present harmful language as simply saying “I’m not PC” in order to justify saying things that hurt others?
  15. Have I ever said “I’m not racist, but…”
  16. Do I automatically associate negative attributes to an entire group of people?
  17. Do I use dehumanizing language about others, referring to them as “thugs, animals, etc.”
  18. Do I take the time to learn and listen to the stories of others’ lives in order to better understand them and the challenges they may face that I do not?
  19. Do I keep “the other” at arm’s length?
  20. Do I see Jesus Christ in each and every person I encounter every single time?

 

Witness Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyInEuYZM-c

Witness Video Questions

7-12 grade –

  1. How did Edith Stein respond to the persecution of her people?
  2. Do you see examples in our world today where people try to treat entire groups of people as responsible for all of our world’s problems?
  3. Is there an example of a situation where you have heard someone in government speak about people as “animals” “criminals” or other negative names?

Parish Leadership/Committees

  1. Where in your community have you noticed groups of people being denigrated and blamed for the imperfect society we live?
  2. How can we develop our community and country in a way that prevents scapegoating entire groups for the actions of a few? Or, painting entire groups of people based on race, religion, origin, etc. with a broad brush?

Faithsharing/Parishioner/College Students

  1. Edith Stein and others faced persecution because of something out of their control. What would your response be to a situation in which you or your loved ones were treated similarly (travel restrictions, lack of work, removal of voting rights, etc.)
  2. How did Christ respond to persecution in his time? Where do you find courage in the life of Edith Stein?

Take Action

7-12 grade

  1. Read the newspapers and write down a list of groups that are targeted because of their race, religion, origins, etc. and discuss with one another the reasons why the ideas used to target these specific groups are wrong.
  2. Practice interacting with someone who says something offensive about a specific person or group based on their race, religion, origins, etc. Practice a respectful and loving response to help them change the way they view others.
  3. Spend an hour each month in adoration offering prayers for healing racial and religious divides in our country.

Parish Leadership/Committees

  1. Look around the parish and consider the symbols, imagery, artwork, and events the parish organizes; what do you notice? Is it representative of the universal Church or is it isolated to a single culture? What ways can your parish be more welcoming and hospitable to people of various backgrounds?
  2. Review Religious education and Faith Formation materials to see if they offer a broad understanding of Catholicism across cultures or if it proposes a Catholicism that is identified solely through one ethnic group. Consider creating a plan to add materials to broaden the material if it is found lacking.
  3. Consider studying one or more of the following Church documents:”Brothers and Sisters to Us“, 1979;  “Welcoming the Stranger Among us“, 2000; “Strangers No Longer“,2003; Undocumented Migrants:Message of Pope John Paul II for World Migration Day, 1996; The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015, The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Ph. D., S.T.D. Bishop of Belleville, Illinois; January 1, 2015
  4. Spend an hour each month in adoration offering prayers for healing racial and religious divides in our country.

Faith sharing/Parishioners/College Students

  1. Read and reflect on a book or spiritual text written by a Catholic from a different cultural/ethnic background than your own.
  2. Attend an event that the topic discusses racism and other forms of unjust discrimination.
  3. Consider studying one or more of the following Church documents:”Brothers and Sisters to Us“, 1979;  “Welcoming the Stranger Among us“, 2000; “Strangers No Longer“,2003; Undocumented Migrants:Message of Pope John Paul II for World Migration Day, 1996; The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015, The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Ph. D., S.T.D. Bishop of Belleville, Illinois; January 1, 2015
  4. Spend an hour each month in adoration offering prayers for healing racial and religious divides in our country.

Closing prayer

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,

and I detest all my sins because of the loss of heaven and the pains of hell,

but most of all I offended thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins,

to do penance, and to amend my life.

Amen.

 

Bonus Video – Servant of God, Sister Thea Bowman, “What does it mean to be Black and Catholic?”

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