The US bishops chose to break from tradition during this year’s autumn assembly by celebrating Mass at the church known as the ‘Mother Church’ of black Catholics in West Baltimore instead of the usual venue: Baltimore’s historic basilica.
“I pray our presence will convey the Church’s solidarity with you,” said the Archbishop of Baltimore, William E. Lori, in opening remarks to a few dozen parishioners attending the Mass with more than 250 bishops who filled nearly every pew of the small church.
In his homily, the Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, Joseph E. Kurtz, said the bishops came to the church “to be present, to see with our own eyes, so that we might humbly take a step and lead others to do so.”
Archbishop Kurtz, outgoing president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, also said the bishops’ presence was just one part of an effort to bring about healing of racial divides. He acknowledged this effort would involve “more than simply a quick visit on a bus.”
The Mass, which took place on 14th November, and other events around the nation such as prayer services to heal divisions, should “move our hearts to holy dialogue, grounded in respect,” he said, adding that it is something that needs everyone’s dedication.
Picture: Bishops concelebrate Mass at St Peter Claver Church in Baltimore during the annual autumn general assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. (CNS photo/Bob Roller).