St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church - Naperville, IL

St. Thomas Racial Justice Focus

Last weekend, Fr. Danaher announced a parish-wide focus on racial justice. In last week’s bulletin article announcing the focus, each parishioner was 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

Racial 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?

Commitment/Pledge

We pledge to examine our own biases and positions of privilege through self-reflection and earnestly work to resolve them.

We pledge to live by compassion and be consciously inclusive of all individuals.

We pledge to affirm the value of diversity.

We pledge to promote understanding, inclusion, and mutual respect, and thus build community within all races, ethnicities and cultures.

We pledge to transform our institutions in authentically anti-racist and anti-oppressive communities of action.

We pledge to advocate for justice, demand equal opportunity for all and so help create a beloved community for everyone to share.

And so, we pray

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 and worth of every human being.

Open our minds to understand that we are all 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 bias, and to their passionate appeals for change.

Fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven, and establish peace and equality for all in our communities. 

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.