RACIAL JUSTICE COMMISSION

DIOCESE OF CAMDEN

“Racism is a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father…It mocks the words of Jesus: “Treat others the way you would have them treat you”…it is a denial of the truth of the dignity of each human being revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation.”

“Brothers and Sisters to Us” Pastoral Letter on racism by the USCCB

The mission of the Camden Diocesan Racial Justice Commission (RJC), which should reflect the racial and cultural diversity of the Diocese, is to serve as a catalyst for identifying and eradicating the sin of racism, both personal and structural, from our diocese and society. The Commission also exists to foster appreciation for the ethnic and cultural differences within our Church and to encourage our Church to focus on God’s love for each of us and on God’s call for each of us to love one another.
The RJC will be an agent of transformation that explicitly and consistently affirms our God-given dignity and our human right to be free from racial domination and will lead the Diocese of Camden to embrace the Gospel vision and Catholic social teaching that all races are equal.
Since November of 2000, the Camden Diocese has organized efforts to increase the awareness of the problem of racism in the diocese. The Racial Justice Committee was formed at that time. In order to elevate the importance and visibility of this body, Bishop Joseph Galante replaced the Racial Justice Committee with the Racial Justice Commission.

Given the multi-cultural makeup of the diocese, the RJC recognizes that the issue of racial and ethnic discrimination is a serious problem that affects many groups in the Diocese including those of African, Hispanic, and Asian descent, as well as recent immigrants.

“Brothers and Sisters to Us” is a pastoral letter which was written by the U.S. bishops. It is a foundational document of the Church that explains Catholic social teaching on racial justice. This pastoral letter can be found at http://www.uscatholic.org/church/2008/07/brothers-and-sisters-us

 

The RJC sponsors workshops on racial and ethnic sensitivity and engages in initiatives and projects that foster and promote cultural diversity and harmony.

Many Faces In God’s House–This training that was developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for parishes to use to foster appreciation for cultural differences. While the training booklet is printed in English and Spanish, the material is appropriate for when bringing diverse cultures together. Training for parishes, schools, and diocesan organizations can be developed and delivered by the Racial Justice Commission.
Under the Many Faces in God’s House initiative, the Racial Justice Commission supports the USCCB’s position on immigration reform.
The Racial Justice Commission supports the efforts of the Catholic Jewish Commission, the Catholic Muslim Commission, and the Jewish Catholic Muslim Interfaith Dialogue that raise awareness and promote harmony among our brothers and sisters of different faith traditions.
In the 2010-2011 school year, The Racial Justice Commission piloted a program entitled, “Pen Pals, which involved the fifth and sixth grade students of two Catholic schools (one predominately white suburban and the other predominately minority and urban) writing to pen pals of the other school. At the end of the school year, the students got together at picnic in the park, where they prayed, sang, ate and played together.

The Commission would like to expand this initiative. (Catholic Star Herald Pen Pals article)

The Racial Justice Commission recognizes individuals and groups who make extraordinary efforts to promote cultural awareness, peace, andharmony. These efforts are recognized each year in the Many Faces in God’s House award. This award is presented at the Annual Racial Justice Award Dinner.