Becoming a New Creation in the New Year – our 2018 commitment to Racial Justice

January 5, 2018


New Year – New Creation
We must address racism because of this simple fact: Almost every social justice challenge that faces us in the United States is entangled with or exacerbated by racism against persons of color, and African-Americans in particular. No matter what issue you bring to the table, whether it be health care access, immigration, mass incarceration, educational disparity, living wages, justice for women, pro-life, poverty or L.G.B.T.Q. issues, they are all entangled with and enmeshed in racism. If you want to deal with educational access, or immigration, or care for the environment, or poverty, and you do not deal with race, you are on a bridge to nowhere. You cannot get justice right if you do not get racism right.

Yet when we try to have an honest adult conversation about race in this country, we have to overcome three obstacles: We do not know what we are talking about; we do not know how to talk about it; and we do not really want to talk about it.” – Bryan Massingale in America Magazine*, Racism is a Sickness of the Soul.  Can Jesuit Spirituality help us heal?

As we enter into this New Year, can we make a renewed commitment to overcoming the obstacle that Fr. Bryan lays out:

  1. To continue to EDUCATE ourselves on racism in our country – including how we are personally affected by systemic racism and implicit bias?
  2. To make a commitment to LEARNING HOW to talk about racism in our homes, schools, workplaces, and social lives?
  3. To be willing TO ENGAGE on the issue of racism: to learn how to be uncomfortable, to be willing to sit in difficult questions, to be open to making and learning from mistakes in the quest for living in the freedom of the New Creation that God has in mind for us?

Prayer for Centering
Unity of All – Hanto Yo (Hanto Yo means “clear the way” in the Lakota language of the North American Plains.)

God of surprises,
you call us
from the narrowness of our traditions
to new ways of being church,
from the captivities of our culture to
creative witness for justice,
from the smallness of our horizons
to the bigness of your vision.

Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might call others to freedom
and renewed faith.

Jesus, wounded healer,
you call us
from preoccupation with our own histories and hurts
to daily tasks of peacemaking,
from privilege and protocol
to partnership and pilgrimage,
from isolation and insularity
to inclusive community.

Clear the way in us, your people,
That we might call others to
wholeness and integrity.

Holy, transforming Spirit,
you call us
from fear to faithfulness,
from clutter to clarity,
from a desire to control to deeper trust,
from the refusal to love to a readiness to risk.

Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might all know the beauty and power
and danger of the gospel.


—Gwyn Cashmore and Joan Puls, From One Race the Human Race: Racial Justice Sunday 2003, published by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland: Churches Commission for Racial Justice, London

Invitation to Silence
New Creation

Closing Prayer
The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
Father, forgive.
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
Father, forgive.
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Father, forgive.
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Father, forgive.
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
Father, forgive.
The lust which dishonors the bodies of men, women and children,
Father, forgive.
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Father, forgive.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.


  1. How does the article* by Fr. Bryan Massingale sit with you – what are you affirmed by and what are you challenged by? What do you want to know more about or explore more deeply?
  2. Reach out to one person in your own life that you can trust to have a honest and meaningful conversation about your reflections on this article and the work for racial justice. Ask that person if they will help you identify and be held accountable to your own 2018 goals to grow in commitment and action to racial justice.

*Link to Massingale article in America:

Join us in person at the Cathedral Fridays at 12:15 PM for this 30 minute communal contemplative prayer with the intention of reconciling and healing racism in our city.

Feel free to pray privately wherever you are in solidarity with those gathered at the Cathedral if you are not able to join in person.

Brought to you by:
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Three Holy Women, Our Lady of Divine Providence, Old St. Mary’s, Saints Peter and Paul Human Concerns/Social Justice Commissions
Urban Ministry of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

For more information, please contact:
Anne Haines, Respect Life Director for Urban Ministry
Andrew Musgrave, Director of Social Justice at Three Holy Women, Old St. Mary’s, Our Lady of Divine Providence and Saints Peter and Paul Parishes
Shelly Roder, Director of Outreach Ministries at
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

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