This Sunday, The Fourth Sunday of the Year, is Racial Justice Sunday 2024, a day kept by other Christians too. An optional Second Collection may be taken this weekend for the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ). Here is a message from Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Racial Justice explaining the theme and offering some suggestions to mark the day.
“Hello. My name is Bishop Paul McAleenan. The theme of Racial Justice Sunday in England and Wales in 2024 is ‘Seeing one another in the life of the Church’. There are different ways that the theme could be approached. I would like to suggest one particular way. In the history of the Church, there have been those who looked at the society in which they lived, and responded to what they saw. They looked, made a decision based on what they saw, and acted. Alert and sensitive as they were to the commandments of Christ, when they saw justice being denied to someone because of their racial origin or colour, they were prompted to act. Their actions of opposing racism, promoting equality and justice, became their life’s work. Following this path, sometimes they encountered hostility, rejection, and attempts to overturn what they were doing. However, they persevered and became instruments of change, agents of progress, and some are acknowledged as saints of the Church. There are many, many saints in the Church. Each is different. Each chose to follow a particular aspect of the person of Jesus. Some saw Jesus as a teacher and devoted their lives to teaching. Some followed Jesus as one who loved the sick and opened hospices and hospitals. Others saw Jesus as the friend of the poor and gave witness to that. Among the saints are those who remembered the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right. They shall be satisfied.” And then they spent their lives working that everyone would be treated justly, with fairness and without discrimination.
“For Racial Justice Sunday this year, can I suggest that you explore the lives of those great men and women – those who devoted their lives to the pursuit of racial justice, those who emulated God’s passion for justice, which we read about in the scriptures. They will inspire us, teach us, and make us sensitive to the importance of racial justice and why we work for it. May we too, like them, see one another in the life of the Church.”