By Ralph E. Moore Jr.,
Special to the AFRO
The Social Justice Committee of St. Ann Catholic Church has been working on a letter writing campaign to Pope Francis for a year. Our initiative, which began on November 1, 2021 (All Saints Day and the first day of Black Catholic History Month) urged individuals to sign letters to the Pope strongly urging him to immediately name the first six African-American saints in Catholic Church history. They are Mother Mary Lange, Mother Henriette Delille, Father Augustus Tolton, Ms. Julia Greeley, Mr. Pierre Toussaint and Sister Thea Bowman.
Social Justice Committee members: Delores Moore, Mary Sewell and I left Baltimore at 6 a.m., August 6, for the Pax Christi, USA 50th Anniversary Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Pax Christi, an international organization that advocates for non-violence peace and racial justice, invited us to have a free exhibit table during their 3-day conference on August 5, 6 and 7, 2022. We chose to go down for Saturday, the full day.
It was a sensational trip.
We filled Mary’s car trunk with blank copies of our letter to Pope Francis, newspaper and magazine articles, copies of the prayer for beatification for each of the six, Black Lives Matter buttons, a poster featuring colorful pictures of the Saintly Six and much more. We had a great day!
While there we met and got copies of “Subversive Habits” signed by the author, Dr. Shannon D. Williams. The book is a well-researched accounting of the brutal struggles of Black and Brown women entering religious life. Williams is a tremendous historian and a very warm and friendly person. We were able to talk with her and we feel we made a good connection with her.
Bob Cooke and Michelle Sherman, among other Pax Christi staff, were exceedingly nice to us. They encouraged the folks assembled to sign our letter to Pope Francis. We did.
We were invited to say a few words at the start of some of the workshops. We did.
Delores, Mary and I exchanged lots of contact information. Some will help us connect with the powers that be at the Vatican. We will be in touch with them soon, yes very soon.
We plan to take our case for racial justice in person to the Pope and/or the Cardinals in the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood. We are looking for funders and seeking appointments, if not an audience. We have sent 3,000 letters signed from people all over the world to the Pope, so far.
Anyway, we had a great day! Pax Christi, USA of Pax Christi, International is a great Catholic witness organization for non-violence, peace and racial justice in the world. Chuck Michaels runs Pax Christi, Baltimore.
We promised to stay in touch with our hosts. We will.
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