On June 8, 2020, nearly 200 Catholics – including bishops, priests, women and men religious, and laypeople – gathered outside of Lafayette Park in Washington, DC for a prayer service and march, organized by Fr. Cornelius Ejiogu SSJ. The prayer service emphasized that racism is a pro-life issue, and Fr. Ejiogu emphasized that the lives of young people of color who die at the hands of police violence, “are snuffed out at the prime of their lives … I believe we should speak out about it.” Monsignor Ray East, pastor of St. Teresa of Avila, preached a short sermon emphasizing that our faith is fundamentally about love – it is love that bids us to stand in solidarity with our black sisters and brothers and affirm that their lives matter.
I was able to represent the Society of Mary at the prayer service and march and was moved by the spirit of joy, song, and prayer present at the service and march. Marists, in our concern for self-emptying, always seek to understand the Gospel from the viewpoint of another. Being present with so many leaders of the Black Catholic Community here in Washington, DC, was not only a way of witnessing to the dire need for racial justice, but also of trying to enter into the Gospel from the viewpoint of another in the hopes of building a Marian Church where all truly do feel welcome.