In the wake of racial tensions and tragic moments within some of our communities, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, President of the USCCB, has called for a National Day of Prayer on September 9, the feast of St. Peter Claver. He hopes that this will be one way to “nurture open, honest and civil dialogue in our communities struggling with violence in many forms.”
In addition, Archbishop Kurtz has announced the formation of a special Task Force to promote peace and unity. The members of this Task Force include Archbishop Wilton Gregory (Chair), Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Bishop Shelton Fabre, Bishop John Ricard, and Bishop Jaime Soto.
The USCCB staff has prepared materials which will help dioceses in their local planning. The most immediate event with be the Day of Prayer on September 9 – a gathering for prayer which might serve as a foundation for future dialogue and healing within our communities.
No specific program is prescribed, but the USCCB resources may aid you in your preparations:
1) Prayer Card – It will invoke the intercession of African American candidates for canonization – PierreToussaint, Mary Elizabeth Lange, Henriette Delille, and Fr. Augustus Tolton. .
2) Mass at the Cathedral or a parish in a location experiencing tension or violence
a. A homily which focuses on healing
b. Special readings chosen by local leaders [FDLC suggests MVNO: Mass for Peace and Justice; Lectionary Nos. 887-891 OR MVNO: For Reconciliation; Lectionary Nos. 892-896]
c. Special Prayers of the Faithful will be forthcoming from the USCCB.
d. One might conclude the Mass with the prayer on the prayer card.
3) A reception which includes fellowship and/or a presentation.
4) Special Prayer Service at which the Bishop or his delegate presides
5) An Ecumenical Prayer Service
6) A special rosary for peace within our communities
7) Ringing the church bells at 3:00 EST on September 9 as a sign of solidarity