Racial Justice Sunday 2024Friday 26th January 2024
This weekend, we mark Racial Justice Sunday – a day on which Christians unite in prayer for an end to racism and racial inequality in our world today.
This year, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has chosen the theme “Seeing one another in the life of the Church”. Through this year’s theme, we are invited to reflect and celebrate people around the world who have led holy and exemplary lives by exploring a little more about saints from different backgrounds.
Introducing the theme, Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Racial Justice, says:
“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.”
To mark Racial Justice Sunday this year, the Bishops’ Conference has shared a number of resources to help us pray and reflect. Resources include prayers for individuals at home and parish communities during Mass, resources for schools, and a fabulous series celebrating the many saints of colour in the Catholic Church.
Click here to access these resources.
We also invite you to join us in prayer this weekend with the following words shared by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales:
God of light and truth, you call all men and women to live lives of holiness and justice.
Help us to see in one another: a heart which is tender, a mind which is humble and a care for our brothers and sisters, so that together we may build up the Body of Christ as a sign of hope and mercy for all.
We make this prayer through Jesus our Lord.