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Franciscans Urge Country to Renew Struggle for Equality, Inclusivity

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications
JThomas@hnp.org

NEW YORK — June 30, 2015 — As the nation mourns the deaths of the nine people killed this month in Charleston, S.C., the leadership of Holy Name Province, the largest community of Franciscan friars in the United States, released a message expressing its desire for peace. The friars urge all people to examine their attitudes about race and to promote actions that bring about acceptance and equality. The statement was authored in part by members of the province’s long-standing African Ancestry Committee.

The Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province stand in prayerful solidarity with our sisters and brothers of Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. We pray that God will continue to heal this remarkable congregation that inspires us by its spirit of forgiveness toward the perpetrator of a horrendous act of hatred. This tragic event underscores once again the fact that vestiges of racism continue to affect our national life. It silences the claim that racism — our nation’s “original sin” — has been eliminated.  

As we decry this latest act of racially motivated violence — on this occasion, in a house of prayer — we Franciscans examine our own consciences with regard to racial discrimination. As followers of St. Francis of Assisi, we have a tradition of respect and love for all human beings, indeed of all creation.  We know that God is a God of life, not death, and that all life matters. For that reason, in the face of the tragedy in Charleston and similar acts of inhumanity in our nation, we pledge ourselves and urge our country to acknowledge elements of racism still present in us and to renew our struggle for equality and inclusivity.

Again, we declare our solidarity with the congregation of Mother Emmanuel AME Church and with all who suffer acts of discrimination of any kind. Our greeting to them remains that of our founder St. Francis: “Pace e Bene” (Peace and All Good).

About the Province
Holy Name Province is the largest of seven provinces in the United States that belong to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its more than 300 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social ministries, as well as in overseas missions.

The Order, founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi, commemorated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Today, St. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, remains one of the most widely known saints, revered for his affection for nature and desire for respect of all people.

Information about Holy Name Province can be found on www.hnp.org. News about the friars and their ministries can be found on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.

Questions and photo requests should be directed to Jocelyn Thomas, HNP director of communications, at 646-473-0265 ext. 321 or jthomas@hnp.org.

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