A Franciscan Parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit

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June 7, 2020

I am writing this message on Pentecost Sunday, May 31 since our bulletin has to be prepared early in the week before it is published. You are probably reading this on the weekend of June 6/7. I don’t know what will happen this week, but today and for the last few days our country has been filled with racial tension and violence as a result of of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a (now ex) police officer, who has been charged with murder. Protests and marches have spread across the country and even the world. The deep seated frustration from years of racism has once again exploded with a cry for equality, justice, respect, and dignity. The basic message might get clouded by the looting and acts of violence like the burning of cars and stores and possible involvement of outside agitators who have taken advantage of the situation, however, we must listen to the deeper cry.

These are incredibly difficult and painful situations. We often wonder what we can do to help. They cause us to do some soul searching, or at least they should. Is there any conscious or unconscious prejudice or racism in my heart? Do I judge other people on anything less than, as Dr. King, said, “the content of their character?” For those of us who are white, do we know about or experience what is often called “white privilege”? Are we aware of the anxiety that many of our black and brown brothers and sisters feel while doing ordinary things?

We probably can’t change the world and the deep seated and long standing attitudes overnight, but we can take responsibility for our attitude and our little piece of that world. We are blessed with a very diverse parish. It is one of the things I love about our parish and that so many parishioners appreciate as well. One thing we can do is give witness by how we relate and treat one another right here in our own parish. That is another piece of the Gospel message we can unleash and share with the world.

Fr. Jeff

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