Dear colleagues in ministry,
The USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry (NATYAM) is committed to racial justice and the work of dismantling racism in all its forms.
Inspired by Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the social Gospel and in response to the events of this past year, we stand in solidarity with the bishops of the United States, who noted in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the national protests that followed:
Racism is not a thing of the past… It is a real and present danger that must be met head on…We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life…Too many communities around this country feel their voices are not being heard, their complaints about racist treatment are unheeded, and we are not doing enough to point out that this deadly treatment is antithetical to the Gospel of Life. (USCCB Statement, May 29, 2020)
As advocates for the Church’s pastoral care of young adults, we also affirm that black lives matter, that immigrants must be treated with the full dignity demanded by Catholic social doctrine, and that we stand with the young people who protest the killing of black persons and work to dismantle systemic racism and advance the cause of justice. We likewise affirm that racism must be addressed in all of its iterations, including both individual and structural discrimination towards black, brown, indigenous, and persons of color. Moreover, we recognize that violence, oppression, and prejudice towards these individuals is not an historical artifact, but a lived experience of structural sin that we must ceaselessly endeavor to eliminate.
The NATYAM serves as nationwide network, resource group, and consulting body to the USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (LMFLY) on young adults and the Catholic Church's pastoral ministry with them.
Recognizing how racism is impacting younger generations, our advisory team is committed to curating and providing those who accompany young adults with the resources they need to help to address systemic racism and injustice. Working with a resource group of dedicated ministry leaders, we are embarking on this journey together, but cannot do the work alone.
As this is an ongoing task and commitment by the NATYAM and knowing that we need the collective wisdom of the field in this effort, we invite you to share what you have seen and heard that has proven effective in this important area. We are also interested in knowing what resources you would find helpful in addressing the issue of racism in ministry with young adults.
What, specifically, are we seeking?
We would be grateful to receive any resources you have discovered or created such as workshops, trainings, listening sessions, websites, and other materials that can help young adults and ministry leaders combat the sin of racism in our country and on identifying and seeking out initiatives and processes of reconciliation. By collecting this, we want to provide the Church with tools to have those challenging, yet necessary, conversations on race, culture, and faith –to help break the silence and create safe and brave spaces for young adults to discuss these issues. We also want to lift up the voices of young adult “protagonists” (cf. Christus Vivit 174) who can help lead our Catholic community in addressing and dismantling white supremacy, systemic racism, and injustice.
You can send your ideas, requests, and resources to the NATYAM through this online form: https://forms.gle/mdmwyPNEqFid7Nvo8. We invite you to provide these submissions no later than Tuesday, November 3, the feast of St. Martin de Porres, so that we can share them with the field soon thereafter. If you have any questions, you can reach us at email@example.com.
“In this way, by learning from one another” Pope Francis said, “we can better reflect that wonderful multifaceted reality that Christ’s Church is meant to be.” (Christus Vivit 207) We echo the Holy Father’s sentiment and look forward to learning from you and others across the country.
Thank you in advance for considering this request and please know of our pastoral solidarity, synodal support, and heartfelt prayers.
USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry
Ms. Diana Hancharenko, Chairperson
Dr. Tracey Lamont, Vice Chair for Resources
Mr. Michal Horace, Vice Chair for Communications
Mr. Paul Jarzembowski, USCCB Staff Liaison