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 Police officers attend a July 17 vigil at a Louisiana Catholic church for the fatal attack on policemen in Baton Rouge. Three law enforcement offi

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US bishops: Sept. 9 to be national day of prayer
July 25th, 2016
By US Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON -- In light of recent incidents of violence and racial tension in communities across the United States, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited all dioceses across the country to unite in a Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities. He has also appointed a special task force to support bishops in marking that Day of Prayer, and more broadly, in promoting peace and healing during this time of great strain on civil society.


On July 8, in his initial and immediate response to the racially-related shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, noted the need to look at ways the Catholic Church can walk with and help these suffering communities. The initiatives announced today begin to address that need.


"I have stressed the need to look toward additional ways of nurturing an open, honest and civil dialogue on issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity, and addressing the question of pervasive gun violence," Archbishop Kurtz said. "The Day of Prayer and special task force will help us advance in that direction. By stepping forward to embrace the suffering, through unified, concrete action animated by the love of Christ, we hope to nurture peace and build bridges of communication and mutual aid in our own communities."


The Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities will be celebrated on the feast of St. Peter Claver, Sept. 9, and will serve as a focal point for the work of the task force.


Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, former USCCB president, will chair the task force. 


The purpose of the task force is to help bishops engage the challenging problems directly, by various means: gathering and disseminating supportive resources and "best practices"; actively listening to the concerns of members in troubled communities and law enforcement; and building strong relationships to help prevent and resolve conflicts. The task force will conclude its work with a report on its activities and recommendations for future work to the November General Assembly.


"I am honored to lead this task force which will assist my brother bishops, individually and as a group, to accompany suffering communities on the path toward peace and reconciliation," said Archbishop Gregory. "We are one body in Christ, so we must walk with our brothers and sisters and renew our commitment to promote healing. The suffering is not somewhere else, or someone else's; it is our own, in our very dioceses."


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