Racial Justice

End racism banner at outdoor Mass

The recently-established Racial Justice Committee is comprised of members of the Social Justice Ministry Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Grounded in Catholic Social Teaching, the Committee’s purpose is to encourage parishioners to increase awareness of past and current injustices faced by the Black community.

The Racial Justice Committee offers volunteer opportunities that engage and inform the parish community through education, advocacy and dialogue. This committee also advises Pastor Bowen and church leadership on various issues affecting our community. Please join us on the fourth Tuesday of the month, September-May at 6:30pm in Zoom.

Contact: Patty Dugan Mucci, pattydugan@hotmail.com

Honest Conversations about Racism

St. John’s conducted the program Honest Conversations about Racism (Conversaciones Honestas sobre el Racismo) on five consecutive Wednesday evenings in Lent 2022. The program, which has been conducted at many parishes in our Archdiocese, was offered by the Racial Justice Circle of Maryland. This was an opportunity for parishioners to discern together how systemic racism manifests itself in our society today.

Canonization for African American Candidates for Sainthood

Members of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Baltimore are launching a nationwide campaign to accelerate the canonization of six African American candidates. More information is available in this article. The campaign invites Catholics to sign and mail a letter to the Pope urging him not to delay any longer:

THANK YOU to the over 425 parishioners who signed a letter to the Pope in support of speedy canonization of six African American candidates. If you missed the letter signing on Martin Luther King Day weekend (January 15-16, 2022), it’s not too late. Just print and sign the letter, and drop it off at the parish office. Or mail it directly to the Vatican yourself!

Prayer to End Racism

Please pray this prayer with members of our sister parish St. Bernardine Catholic Church (March 28, 2021)

O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness, no thought of ours is left unnoticed, no desire or concern ignored. You have proven that blessings abound when we fall on our knees in prayer, and so we turn to you in our hour of need.

Surrounded by violence and cries for justice, we hear your voice telling us what is required, “Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mi 6:8). Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn, may be merciful to others.

Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism so that we may seek peace and justice in our communities. Strengthen our hearts so that they beat only to the rhythm of your holy will. Flood our path with your light as we walk humbly toward a future filled with encounter and unity.

Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts, for only by the prompting of your grace can we progress toward virtue. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Prayers for Racial Justice and Reconciliation

A Litany for Those not Ready for Healing

Please pray this prayer with members of our sister parish St. Bernardine Catholic Church (March 21, 2021)

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.

Let us not rush to offer a band-aid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.

Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.

Let us not rush past the loss of this mother’s child, this father’s child.

Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice.

Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness, and the pain that is life in community together.


Let us mourn black and brown men and women, those killed extrajudicially every 28 hours.

Let us weep at a criminal justice system, which is neither blind nor just.

Let us call for the mourning men and the wailing women, those willing to rend their garments of privilege and ease, and sit in the ashes of this nation’s original sin.

Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage, and grief pouring from the lips of our neighbors and friends.

Let us decrease, so that our brothers and sisters who live on the underside of history may increase.

Let us pray with our eyes open and our feet firmly planted on the ground.

God, in your mercy…

Show me my own complicity in injustice.

Convict me for my indifference.

Forgive me when I have remained silent.

Equip me with a zeal for righteousness.

Never let me grow accustomed or acclimated to unrighteousness.

Adapted by Dr Yolanda Piercei
Source: Prayers for Racial Justice and Reconciliation

Novena for Racial Healing and Reconciliation

Please pray this prayer with members of our sister parish St. Bernardine Catholic Church (March 14, 2021)

In the final portion of Lent, we join our parishes together to pray a Novena for Racial Healing and Reconciliation composed by Fr. Josh Johnson, an African American priest in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Please use this link to see the prayers for each day.


Prayer for Dismantling Racism

Please pray this prayer with members of our sister parish St. Bernardine Catholic Church (March 7, 2021)

Dear God, In the effort to dismantle racism, I understand that I struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of our family are inferior and others superior.

Create in me a new mind and heart that will enable me to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories.

Give me the grace and strength to rid myself of racial stereotypes that oppress some in my family while providing entitlements to others.

Help me to create a nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed people of color where we live, as well as those around the world.

Help me to heal your family making me one with you and empowered by your Holy Spirit.

Adapted by Debra Mooney, PhD from Pax Christi
Source: Prayers for Racial Justice and Reconciliation

An Examen for Racial Justice

As we continue praying together with our sister parish to address racism, this week’s bulletin features an examen for racial justice. Please see a list of questions we can each ask ourselves as we continue to open our eyes and hearts to addressing racism within our country and our Church. They may also be helpful in preparing to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. (February 28, 2021)

Have I fully loved God and fully loved my neighbor as myself?

Have I caused pain to others by my actions or my words that offended my brother or my sister?

Have I done enough to inform myself about the sin of racism, its roots, and its historical and contemporary manifestations? Have I opened my heart to see how unequal access to economic opportunity, jobs, housing, and education on the basis of skin color, race, or ethnicity, has denied and continues to deny the equal dignity of others?

Is there a root of racism within me that blurs my vision of who my neighbor is?

Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone “fell victim” to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and I did or said nothing, leaving the victim to address their pain alone?

Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone “fell victim” to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism with me inflicting the pain, acting opposite of love of God and love of neighbor?

Have I ever lifted up and aided a person who “fell victim” to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and paid a price for extending mercy to the other? How did I react? Did my faith grow? Am I willing to grow even more in faith through my actions?

Source: Prayers for Racial Justice and Reconciliation and A Prayer Service for Racial Healing in Our Land

Prayer for Racial Healing

Many of you know that our Sister Parish Committee has been working to focus on how we can address racism together. In our continued commitment to walking this journey of prayer, learning, and making changes within our own parishes we also invite you to join us in focusing our intentions on racism during this Lenten season of prayer, fasting, repentance, and almsgiving. (February 21, 2021)

Please pray this prayer with members of our sister parish:

God of justice,
in your wisdom you create all people in your image,
without exception.

Through your goodness,
open our eyes to see
the dignity, beauty, and worth of every human being.

Open our minds to understand
that all your children are brothers and sisters
in the same human family.

Open our hearts to repent of
racist attitudes, behaviors, and speech which demean others.

Open our ears to hear
the cries of those wounded by racial discrimination,
and their passionate appeals for change.

Strengthen our resolve to make amends
for past injustices and to right the wrongs of history.

And fill us with courage
that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven,
and establish peace and equality

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Source: Prayer for Racial Healing – Catholic Charities USA

Kickstarter Campaign – A Place at the Table: African Americans on the Path to Sainthood

Fr. Josh Johnson, a priest in the Diocese of Baton Rouge and host of the Ask Father Josh Podcast on Ascension Presents, is working with a team to produce a documentary about African Americans on the path to sainthood. The team that’s orchestrating this project has opened a campaign on Kickstarter to gather the financial support needed for it to happen. For more information about this project and how you can contribute, click here.

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