In response to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) recent pastoral letter, Open Wide our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love  and Archbishop William E. Lori’s pastoral letter on racism, The Journey to Racial Justice, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has created a Racism Workgroup to implement the concrete actions outlined in Archbishop Lori’s pastoral letter.  Those actions include:

  • Organizing training and resources for conducting forums throughout our institutions to discuss and address the issue of racism;
  • Examining the diversity of our institutions, including archdiocesan leadership, seminaries, clergy, parishes, schools and social service programs, and enhance efforts to further diversify our institutions where needed;
  • Strengthening existing efforts to attract new members of the church and candidates for priesthood and religious life from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds;
  • Identifying archdiocesan staff responsible for carrying out these identified goals.

To launch these efforts, the Archdiocese, in conjunction with the USCCB and Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU), recently hosted a listening session on racism on Monday, April 29 at NDMU (see program here).  The listening panel included Most Rev. Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana; Most Rev. John H. Ricard, S.S. J., Bishop Emeritus of Pensacola-Tallahassee; Most Rev. William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore; and the three auxiliary bishops of Baltimore, Most Rev. Mark E. Brennan, Most Rev. Denis J. Madden, and Most Rev. Adam J. Parker.  Invited speakers, representing the broad diversity of the Archdiocese, shared their experiences of encountering racism in the Catholic Church in a prayerful setting, and audience participants were invited to provide written comments at the end of the program. 

Those who were unable to complete their response card are welcome to share their thoughts online using this form. (All are welcome to respond, regardless of whether or not you attended the session.) 

Based on input from the listening session and online comments, the archdiocesan Racism Workgroup will develop a series of guided dialogues on racism to be held throughout the Archdiocese next year, and will also develop a strategic plan for implementing the other concrete steps outlined in Archbishop Lori’s pastoral letter.

         For more information about the efforts of the Racism Workgroup, contact
Mary Ellen Russell, Director of Community Affairs, at mrussell@archbalt.org.