When I was young and attending school with the Holy Faith Sisters, I was taught to pray as if everything depends on God and to work as if everything depends on me. Later in life I realised that the sisters were paraphrasing James 2:14-18 so our young minds could grasp the meaning. ‘What good is it if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or a sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and one of you says to them ‘’Go, in peace, keep warm and eat well” but do not give them necessities of the body, what good is it?’
For four years we have faithfully prayed the Family Prayer for an end to violence, murder and racism in our community (New Orleans). Yet acts of violence, murder and racism persist. This does not mean our prayers are not being answered but, perhaps, we must work harder to bring about God’s reign of peace. So, what can we do?
The Archdioese of New Orleans offers us many opportunities to grow in understanding and love of our brothers and sisters and to build loving relationships. We are beginning our third year of facilitated discussion on ‘made in the image and Likeness of God, A Pastoral Letter on Racial Harmony by retired Archbishop Alfred Hughes and our seventh year of workshops on racial sobriety. Both these activities help us overcome our fear of talking about race and racism and offer a safe environment to begin these conversations.
On the last Tuesday of each month, there is a Prayer Walk in response to Pope Francis’s call to go out to the community to meet and dialogue with others to promote peace. As we walk the neighbourhoods, we pray that God, who hears the cry of the poor will bless our work and grant us the peace to pray at sad sites where crimes have been committed and help us to offer comfort to the families of the victims.
You can find out more by emailing Sr Teresa at firstname.lastname@example.org
[This is an extract from a slightly longer article by Sr Teresa Rooney published, I October 2016, in Clarion Herald, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.]