On recent violence and standing together in hope

We’ve seen great turmoil over the past week as video footage records yet more black lives cut short by police violence and the tragic loss of police officers in Dallas (who were protecting and serving at a peaceful rally there). We are seeing latent divisions and conflicts surface. Our challenge is to invite the Holy Spirit to guide our response as opposed to other spirits of the age.

There are many good statements issues in response to the recent events, including that of the Bishop of Dallas. I’d like to commend to you as well the following reflection from Ralph McCleod, Director of the USCCB Catholic Campaign for Human Development, entitled: “I don’t know how I feel…”. McCleod writes, “There will be vigils, prayers, protests, and screams of anguish, trials, and tons of tears but will there be change?” That’s a challenge for the people of God.

In response to the turmoil and injustice, the first challenge is to listen – truly listen – to those who are oppressed, vulnerable, and crying out. (Again, read McCleod’s piece for a small taste.) Find out who is working together to address these issues and come together to take a stand. We are gearing up for a push to end the death penalty in California and continue work for criminal justice reform. How will you, your parish, your friends and family be involved, invited to be involved, or asked to struggle with these realities.

Finally, please join us for the Mass in Recognition of All Immigrants this coming Sunday in Los Angeles. (See below for more info.) We hope to see every parish in Orange County represented with a parish banner in the procession and a delegation at the event. This is a transformative moment to listen to stories of suffering, stand in solidarity with those oppressed, and respond to the call for action. If you’re asking yourself how you can respond to recent events, this is a great place to start!

– Greg Walgenbach, Director of Life, Justice & Peace, Diocese of Orange