St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church - Naperville, IL

St. Thomas Racial Justice Focus

On November 15, 2020, Fr. Danaher announced a parish-wide focus on racial justice. Each parishioner is asked to be open of heart and open of mind. An Examination of Conscience is one way to gauge where your heart and mind are. 

Introduction

In light of the need for our society to heal from the sin of racism, we offer a simple “racial examination of conscience” to help each of us reflect on how we may grow as persons and children of God in our hospitality, love and mercy for all our brothers and sisters, regardless of race or religion. This is not intended to implicate anyone as a racist. It is not a “test” to see how racist you are or not. It is offered in all charity and humility as an opportunity to reflect on our daily lives and how we may be unaware of the impact that our everyday decisions have on ourselves, members of our community, nation, and world.

Research shows that many of us act toward others based on implicit, or unknown, bias. Most of us believe in the equality of all people and assume that such a belief is enough.

From We Are Salt & Light

Statement of Purpose for Racial Justice Initiative

St. Thomas the Apostle unites with the Universal Church in ensuring that all who love God, also love their brothers and sisters (1 Jn 4:21). Through a purposeful focus on racial justice, we are challenged to discern ways in which we, individually and as community, can grow into and act upon our calling to be disciples of Christ and the gospel mission.

Racial Justice Team

Prayers

Helpful Terminology

Stations of the Cross: Overcoming Racism

This Stations of the Cross resource on overcoming racism, provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), can help you, your family and your friends reflect on the bishops’ pastoral letter against racism, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love. A rich Lenten reflection, this prayer resource can help open our hearts to the persistent nature of racism and the call to help overcome it.

21-Day Racial Equity Challenge

On her website, racial justice educator and writer Debby Irving states, “Creating effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of power, privilege, supremacy and leadership is like any lifestyle change. Setting our intentions and adjusting what we spend our time doing is essential. It’s all about building new habits. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.”

Spring is a great opportunity to start. We take our cue from the new growth emerging from the earth to remind ourselves that hearts and minds need to grow too and offer the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge.

St. Thomas Reads: Just Mercy

“We are all more than the worst thing we have ever done.” 
– Bryan Stevenson, Author of Just Mercy

The Faith and Spiritual Formation Commission invited parishioners to read Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson and then discuss the book and challenging issues surrounding the justice system in America. Sessions were held in the fall and then again during Lent.

White Fragility

The St. Thomas Solidarity Coalition Ministry is periodically providing chapter summaries of the book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo. We encourage you to purchase the book and follow along with us as we, as the author states, “challenge racism.” It is a challenging book, and not always an “easy read.” It might challenge your beliefs. That is a good thing in these times.

10 Ways to Fight Hate

The “10 Ways to Fight Hate” flyers were originally provided in 2018-2019 and were a collaborative effort among the St. Thomas Immigration/Refugee Initiative, Pax Christi, and Solidarity Coalition ministries. Each flyer provides information, scripture, song, Catholic Social Teaching and suggestions to put each of the “10 Ways” into action.

Past Initiatives

Examination of Conscience

  1. Have I taken the time to listen to the voices of others who don’t look like me or have a different background or life experience than me?
  2. Do I dismiss the concerns or observations of others as simply being “overly sensitive” or “PC?”
  3. Do I ask someone who I am an acquaintance of in social or professional settings to speak for their entire culture?
  4. 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?
  5. Have I ever said “I’m not racist, but…?”
  6. Have I prayed earnestly and regularly for an end to racism and an increase in the understanding of the equal dignity of all those created in the image of God?
  7. Do I pray that those in positions of power may have the will and the courage to change the systems that oppress others?
  8. Do I set a good example in my own family, respecting the dignity of all people, especially those unlike myself?