Statement of USCCB Chairmen in Wake of Death of George Floyd and National Protests

May 29, 2020
WASHINGTON – Seven U.S. bishop chairmen of committees within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued a statement in the wake of the death of Mr. George Floyd and the protests which have broken out in Minneapolis and in other cities in the United States.

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; and Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, chairman of the Subcommittee on African American Affairs have issued the following statement:

We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes. What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion.

Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on. As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference. We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.

While it is expected that we will plead for peaceful non-violent protests, and we certainly do, we also stand in passionate support of communities that are understandably outraged. Too many communities around this country feel their voices are not being heard, their complaints about racist treatment are unheeded, and we are not doing enough to point out that this deadly treatment is antithetical to the Gospel of Life.

As we said eighteen months ago in our most recent pastoral letter against racism, Open Wide Our Hearts, for people of color some interactions with police can be fraught with fear and even danger. People of good conscience must never turn a blind eye when citizens are being deprived of their human dignity and even their lives. Indifference is not an option. “As bishops, we unequivocally state that racism is a life issue.”

We join Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis in praying for the repose of the soul of Mr. George Floyd and all others who have lost their lives in a similar manner. We plead for an end to the violence in the wake of this tragedy and for the victims of the rioting. We pray for comfort for grieving families and friends. We pray for peace across the United States, particularly in Minnesota, while the legal process moves forward. We also anticipate a full investigation that results in rightful accountability and actual justice.

We join our brother bishops to challenge everyone to come together, particularly with those who are from different cultural backgrounds. In this encounter, let us all seek greater understanding amongst God’s people. So many people who historically have been disenfranchised continue to experience sadness and pain, yet they endeavor to persevere and remain people of great faith. We encourage our pastors to encounter and more authentically accompany them, listen to their stories, and learn from them, finding substantive ways to enact systemic change. Such encounters will start to bring about the needed transformation of our understanding of true life, charity, and justice in the United States. Hopefully, then there will be many voices speaking out and seeking healing against the evil of racism in our land.

As we anticipate the Solemnity of Pentecost this weekend, we call upon all Catholics to pray and work toward a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for a supernatural desire to rid ourselves of the harm that bias and prejudice cause. We call upon Catholics to pray to the Holy Spirit for the Spirit of Truth to touch the hearts of all in the United States and to come down upon our criminal justice and law enforcement systems. Finally, let each and every Catholic, regardless of their ethnicity, beg God to heal our deeply broken view of each other, as well as our deeply broken society.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop David G. O’Connell, Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Subcommittee on African American Affairs, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.


Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

Statement of Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez Regarding the Death of George Floyd

May 29, 2020
The hearts of Americans across the country are joined together in collective mourning following the tragic, disturbing, and unnecessary death of George Floyd. In the name of the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I express my prayerful condolences and join with all who are struggling to cope with this heavy burden of sorrow and grief.

Recent events in Minneapolis are a stark reminder that the vile evil of racism has not been stamped out in this country. Rather, it has been resurgent in communities throughout our land for the last several years with old wounds being painfully ripped open time and again.

Racial hatred has no place in our world, including here in the United States, or in the hearts of people. Every life is a precious gift from God. Racism is a mortal sin and an attack on that gift. All of share a responsibility to bring an end to this evil and to do so in a way that seeks justice and peace. The perpetual cycle of pain and anguish must end.

May God give all of us courage and solace as we work together for social justice and to preserve our land as one of equality and opportunity for every citizen. May He bring peace to Minneapolis and to our Philadelphia region and may He rekindle within each of our hearts true love and respect for our fellow human beings.

+Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez
Archbishop of Philadelphia

Contact: Kenneth A. Gavin
Chief Communications Officer
215-587-3747 (office)

© 2020 Arch

MUST READ! The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has released a set of directives for re-opening the churches of the diocese

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has released a set of directives for re-opening the churches of the diocese (obviously including Holy Cross). The information is attached here.

I’m going to recommend that you tune in to a recorded edition of a webinar hosted by our Office for Divine Worship here, for a very fine presentation of the details in the document. Or just check it out right below.

You can be forewarned: the webinar session is about 90 minutes long; but you can view it in pieces obviously as you have the time, or fast-forward through the bits you already have in hand.
An Important Clarification
Our first impressions regarding the limit on the maximum number of people who can gather is wrong!
The document attached below here indicates that the maximum number of people who can assemble must be no more than 50% of total occupancy (see the top of page 4 of the document). A link to this document is included on this Commonwealth of Pennsylvania web site, under the heading of Work and Congregate Settings Restrictions in the Yellow Phase — most of the way to the bottom of the web page. Click on the link that says “Follow Business and Building Safety Orders”.
The total occupancy of our church is 550 people; one-half of that is 275.
Don’t get your hopes up too high, though. In order to meet the standards for social distancing, we have cordoned off every other pew in church. This leaves 15 pairs of pews available (15 pews on the BVM side; 15 pews on the St. Joseph side). It’s hard to imagine accommodating any more than three individuals in each pew (family groups count as a single individual) while maintaining the standard for social-distancing (one person in the middle, and one at each end). This means that our new allowable limit in the “Yellow Phase” is 90 people.
Things are changing fast around us, and the rules for how to deal with the changes are changing, also. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you to pay very careful attention to new information coming from reliable sources in order to stay connected.
I hope you’ll pass this word around (maybe simply by forwarding the whole email) as broadly as you can. Make sure you don’t miss anyone.
I’ll see you soon. How ’bout that!

Sent by Rev. William E. Grogan

Holy Cross Parish Re-Opening on Weekend of June 6th & 7th

I know that you have heard by now that this is the last weekend of our exile. We’re moving forward with plans to re-open on the weekend of June 6 & 7. We anticipate that our part of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania will enter the “Yellow” stage at midnight on June 5, and we will be back — with restrictions described here (you’ll need to scroll about halfway down the page).

In this in-between moment, we’re trying to discern all the practical needs we’ll experience at that point. Meanwhile, have a look at pew restrictions that we’ll need for the time being. (This is also the last look you’ll have at missalettes for some time.)

Clearly, everyone coming to church will need to be wearing a face covering of some sort. We will have disposable masks on hand, but I must recommend that, if you haven’t done so already, please secure a face covering for yourself quickly.

We have a strategy in hand for disinfecting the church, with special attention to most-commonly-touched surfaces, after each gathering.

Still trying to construe the most effective and least hurtful way to limit the congregation size to 25 people. Conversations are ongoing; and I know that we’ll arrive at a solution we can all live with.

You’ll need to keep watching this space for the next couple of days as more specific plans develop around as many of the concerns we can anticipate; and you’ll need to tell us when we’re missing pieces that are important to you.

We’re caught, aren’t we, between the longing to return to church (among other things that we sorely miss), and the fear that the risk to personal health and safety is still too great. I share with you the longing as well as the fear; and I have been convinced, as you are, that now is the time more than ever to act as if we really are “our brothers’ keepers” — which of course means that all the concerns for our own safety must be concerns for the safety of each other. No one stands alone.

FlockNote: Sent by Rev. William E. Grogan