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The Diocese of Cleveland to host a racial justice listening session

Press Releases

September 10, 2019

Catholics will come together during September to have open dialogue on racial awareness at a diocesan event that focus communities on overcoming modern racism. “Open Wide Our Hearts – Moving Towards a World of Racial Justice,” is a one-day listening session and conversation that the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland and Catholic Charities will co-host from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 on the campus of John Carroll University.

Centered on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pastoral letter, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” this event provides guided discussions on how Catholics may respond to the increase in rhetoric about race and explore personal convictions about cultural diversity in America and in the Church. The 32-page letter is the first time since 1978 that U.S. bishops have collectively commented on race issues.

“This is a pivotal time in our nation,” said Cary Dabney, director of the office of ministry to African American Catholics at the Diocese of Cleveland. “With this program we hope to enlighten attendees with an understanding of Church teaching and hear from one another how this moral and spiritual crisis is hitting locally in Northeast Ohio.”

Led by bishops, pastors, cultural ministers and young Catholic adult leaders of color, dioceses will share key concepts outlined by the USCCB in breakout sessions that incorporate theology, interfaith collaboration and cultural advocacy.

The Cleveland event will begin with the Diocesan Gospel Choir performing at the opening prayer service followed by a keynote address by Cleveland Bishop Nelson J. Perez.

Bishop Perez also serves as the chair of the Committee on Cultural Diversity for the USCCB. He will be a part of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee panel on racism at the 10:30 a.m. breakout listening session.

Attendees may choose two breakout sessions to attend of the eight offered. Sessions include advocacy, institutional racism, forsakenness theology, understanding personal bias and more.

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