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NewsChristians in Britain and Ireland mark Racial Justice Sunday - Vatican News

Christians in Britain and Ireland mark Racial Justice Sunday – Vatican News

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Persecuted christians - Conference at the European Parliament about the persecution of Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa (Credit: MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen)

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By Susy Hodges

Racial Justice Sunday is an ecumenical observance which began in Britain and Ireland in 1995 following the brutal murder two years earlier of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager in South London.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales said the chosen theme for 2022 builds on that of last year’s Racial Justice Sunday, “A Time to Act”, which reflected on the importance of everyone recognizing themselves, their race, their culture and their history in the life of the Church. It said their aim in 2022 was to continue these conversations about how we see others in the “Image and Likeness of God.”

Images to reflect God

The Bishops Conference produced PDF posters for individuals or parishes to download, featuring Our Lady and the Child Jesus from a diverse cross-section of countries and cultures.

Although by no means exhaustive, the Bishops said they hoped this series highlights the rich diversity of our Catholic community and encourages reflection on how we are all made in the image of God.

The posters also carry a prayer taken from Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti, in which he writes that we are all important and necessary different faces of the one humanity that God so loves.

The main message of that encyclical was a reflection on how fraternity and social friendship are the keys to building a better, more just and peaceful world with the contribution of all.

Constant battle against racial injustice

A special Mass celebrating Racial Justice Sunday was held in Southwark’s Catholic Cathedral in south-east London to reflect on the importance of racial justice and recognize the ethnic and cultural diversity of the local Catholic community.

Surveys in Britain have shown that, while great strides have been made in the battle against racial injustice in recent decades, there is still much work to do. 

A recent report said too many people’s lives in the UK are blighted by discrimination and inequality with black and Asian children more than twice as likely to grow up in persistent poverty as white children.

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