Prayer service to address racial tensions set for September 9

People in Chicago demonstrate July 11 after a string of nationwide police shootings of African-Americans and the slaying of police officers in Dallas. Around the country, Catholic organizations, parishes, clergy and laity are taking action and bolstering efforts to build peace and battle racism, following a summer of violence. (CNS photo/Tannen Maury, EPA)

People in Chicago demonstrate July 11 after a string of nationwide police shootings of African-Americans and the slaying of police officers in Dallas. Around the country, Catholic organizations, parishes, clergy and laity are taking action and bolstering efforts to build peace and battle racism, following a summer of violence. (CNS photo/Tannen Maury, EPA)

Record Staff Report

Catholics from around the Archdiocese of Louisville are invited to participate in “A Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities” on Sept. 9.

The day will include fasting and a prayer service, which will be led by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, at St. Martin de Porres Church, 3112 West Broadway, at 7 p.m. Those who can’t attend are asked to fast and pray that day with a special focus on race relations.

Dioceses across the country are asked to plan prayer services and discuss issues of race relations that day, which is the feast day of St. Peter Claver.

Archbishop Kurtz, who serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, appointed Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta as chair of a new task force of the U.S. bishops to address racial issues “brought into public consciousness following a series of summertime shootings that left both citizens and police officers among the dead,” according to a July 21 story by Catholic News Service (CNS).

“By stepping forward to embrace the suffering, through unified, concrete action animated by the love of Christ, we hope to nurture peace and build bridges of communication and mutual aid in our own communities,” said a July 21 statement from Archbishop Kurtz.

In his Aug. 25 column for The Record — called Hope in the Lord — Archbishop Kurtz said the first step of the task force is to “ground our efforts in prayer.”

Since the day of prayer will be held on a Friday, the traditional day of fast, Archbishop Kurtz invites all Catholics throughout the archdiocese to observe a day of fast to “raise awareness about our need for healing and reconciliation.”

The task force’s charge, according to the CNS story, is to help the bishops “engage directly the challenging problems highlighted by the shootings.”

The task force will recommend “steps of dialogue leading to greater unity and civility,” the archbishop’s column said.

“The need to place ever greater value on the life and dignity of all persons, regardless of their station in life, calls us to a moment of national reflection.

“In the days ahead, we will look to opportunities to nurture an open, honest and civil dialogue on issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity and to address the question of pervasive gun violence,” the archbishop wrote.

The task force’s work will conclude with the USCCB’s fall general meeting in November, where it will report on its findings and offer recommendations for future action, the CNS report said.

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