Lift Every Voice: A Lenten Journey Toward Racial Justice

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Racial injustice is a gospel issue.

LIFT EVERY VOICE is a Lent 2016 blog addressing America’s original sin of racism through the lens of Ignatian spirituality and the daily readings. From Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday, voices from throughout the Ignatian network will lament racial injustice in our communities and reflect on how the Gospel calls us to repent, pray, and act in solidarity with those affected by an enduring legacy of systemic and personal racial discrimination.

The Resurrection recapitulates the story of Divine Love. It is the story of loving surprise and surprise in love. In today’s gospel, we learn from the most openhearted and passionate and marginalized how to search and receive, how to open our hearts and lives to love.

Tonight’s litany of readings invites us to remember what has mattered to God over the course of humanity’s tumultuous relationship with God: the goodness and beauty of creation; faithfulness to being beloved; liberation for enslaved peoples; hearts softened by tender mercy; trust in the abundance of grace; desire for Wisdom. These things matter to God.

In today’s Gospel, we turn away from Jesus in his hour of need.

“Not all of you are clean,” Jesus tells the disciples gathered before the Last Supper knowing that one of his closest friends would betray him. Reflecting on this vivid Gospel reading and on racial injustice in my community, I identify more easily as one who is not clean.

Racial justice cannot be separated from economic justice.

I really empathize with Peter in today’s Gospel as he makes the bold statement, “I will lay down my life for you.” Like Peter, we are quick to name the things we are doing right. In the case of working toward racial justice, claiming the ways we are not racist is easy. “I don’t use racial slurs.” “I have friends of color.” “I read this in-depth article about racism in our country.”

Do we recognize ourselves in Judas in today’s Gospel?

What if we lingered longer on this day saturated with hope and possibility?

March 17 is a time to watch, yet again, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man, an overly idealized view of 1920s Ireland.

Today’s Mass Readings  In John’s Gospel, directly preceding today’s reading, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Enter our reading. The people in […]

Authors Include:

M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D.

M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D.

Theology Professor, Boston College

Dr. M. Shawn Copeland is Professor of Systematic Theology at Boston College. She is a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), and a former Convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium (BCTS), an interdisciplinary learned association of Black Catholic scholars.

Professor Copeland is a prolific author, with more than 100 publications to her credit, including "Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race and Being and The Subversive Power of Love: The Vision of Henriette Delille." She is the recipient of five honorary degrees as well as the Yves Congar Award for Excellence in Theology from Barry University, Miami, Florida, and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Black Religious Scholars Group of the American Academy of Religion.

Dr. Copeland’s research interests include: 1) shifts in theological understanding of the human person and accords particular attention to body, gender, and race; 2) the African American Catholic experience, and 3) political or praxis based theologies.

Fred Pestello, Ph.D.

Fred Pestello, Ph.D.

President, St. Louis University

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., is the 33rd president of Saint Louis University. The first permanent lay president in the University’s nearly 200-year history, Dr. Pestello officially began his tenure at SLU on July 1, 2014.

Dr. Pestello is Jesuit educated and has spent the entirety of his 30-year career in Catholic higher education. He has been noted for upholding Jesuit values throughout his career, including his commitment to dialogue and inclusion both during and after campus protests at SLU in 2014.

Prior to coming to SLU, Dr. Pestello was the president of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. Dr. Pestello also spent nearly 25 years as a faculty member and provost at the University of Dayton.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Dr. Pestello has three degrees in sociology. He earned his bachelor‘s degree from the Jesuit institution John Carroll University in 1974, his master’s degree from the University of Akron in 1981, and his doctoral degree through a joint program of the University of Akron and Kent State University in 1985.

Maureen O’Connell, Ph.D.

Maureen O’Connell, Ph.D.

Assoc. Professor of Christian Ethics, LaSalle University

Maureen H. O’Connell is Chair of the Department of Religion at LaSalle University, where she is also an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics. She is the author of "Compassion: Loving Our Neighbor in an Age of Globalization" (Orbis, 2009) and "If These Walls Could Talk: Community Muralism and the Beauty of Justice" (Liturgical Press, 2012). Her current research explores racial identity formation, racism, and racial justice in Catholic institutions of higher education.

Dr. O’Connell previously taught for eight years in the Theology Department at Fordham University. She currently serves on the board of the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies and is a member of St. Vincent De Paul parish in Germantown, PA. She is also a member of POWER (Philadelphians Organizing to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild), an interfaith federation of 90 faith communities working to make Philadelphia a city of “just love” through fair wages for workers, funding for public schools, immigration reform, and decarceration.

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Racial injustice is a gospel issue.Join the Ignatian Solidarity Network in reflecting on this reality during Lent."...

Posted by Ignatian Solidarity Network on Friday, January 15, 2016