SAMUELS: Through His death and resurrection, we are united to the Father

May 14, 2019

In his letter to the Corinthian community, the Apostle Paul highlights two central elements of Christian discipleship in which we are fundamentally bound to Christ: Baptism and the Cross of Christ. Our vocation is the proclamation of the Gospel to which we have responded in faith and joy. Our mission as disciples is to share the message of the good news with the world.

In the recently released document “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love — A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” developed by the committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, states that “Through His cross and resurrection, Christ united the one human race to the Father. However, even though Christ’s victory over sin and death is complete, we still live in a world affected by them.”

As the vicar of Catholics of African Descent, I am called to carry out the mandate of Mother Church to reach out to not only Catholics of African Descent but to all Catholics and Christians in prayer, dialogue, and service and to promote understanding and cooperation.

The vicar of Catholics of African Descent, as designated by Cardinal DiNardo, represents the Archdiocese at a variety of events and programs that promote cultural awareness inside and outside the walls of the Church. The office also serves as a resource to African, African-American communities, parishes, schools, groups and individuals within the Archdiocese to further the mission of the Church.

The position works to foster unity of Catholics of African Descent, to build leadership in the Church and community, and to nurture faith and collaboration in Church affairs.

I would encourage every Catholic to become familiar with the extensive Church documents on cultural diversity and the issues that the Church and its people face in regards to race in the Church and community. There also can be found a wealth of resources from the many Catholic offices such as the Pontifical Commission Justice and Peace.

The Pontifical Commissions’ document, “The Church and Racism:Toward a More Fraternal Society” serves as a mandate for collaboration and understanding. The document states: “Respect for every person and every race is respect for basic rights, dignity and fundamental equality. This does not mean erasing cultural differences. Instead it is important to educate to a positive appreciation of the complementary diversity of peoples.”

The documents of the Church serves a mandates for all of us. Christ gives us the grace to move forward and we are all called to established friendships and cooperation within the Christian family in order to seek the good of every person and of the Church for the glory of God.

Father Reginald Samuels is the vicar of Catholics of African Descent.