Statement from Bishop Gregory Parkes on the Death of George Floyd and Subsequent Protests

Posted inAfrican CatholicBishop ParkesBlack CatholicLife Justice & AdvocacyMulticultural MinistryRacial Harmony

The manner in which George Floyd died is an atrocity to the humanity and dignity that each person has as a child of God. As a Church, we stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters who demand justice and respect for black individuals who have suffered the effects of racism for generations.

As is stated in the 2018 USCCB Pastoral Letter, Open Wide Your Hearts: “Racism arises when—either consciously or unconsciously—a person holds that his or her own race or ethnicity is superior […] When this conviction or attitude leads individuals or groups to exclude, ridicule, mistreat, or unjustly discriminate against persons on the basis of their race or ethnicity, it is sinful. Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of the persons offended, to recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love (Mt 22:39).”

As Bishop of this local Church, with sincere concern for the souls of all within our Diocese, I urge all people of good will to seek peace, unity and just changes that will affirm the dignity of all lives, regardless of color, status, age or stage of life. I also urge an end to violence and destruction that victimizes communities and destroys hope.

Please join me in reflecting on how we, including our institutions and families, can be a part of the solution to end the cycle of racism in our nation. As noted elsewhere in Open Wide Our Hearts, “Racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and it corrupts the souls of those who harbor racist or prejudicial thoughts.”

Asking our Blessed Mother to intercede on our behalf we pray:

Mary, friend and mother to all,
through your Son, God has found a way
to unite himself to every human being,
called to be one people,
sisters and brothers to each other.

We ask for your help in calling on your Son,
seeking forgiveness for the times when
we have failed to love and respect one another.
We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son
the grace we need to overcome the evil of racism
and to build a just society.

We ask for your help in following your Son,
so that prejudice and animosity
will no longer infect our minds or hearts
but will be replaced with a love that respects
the dignity of each person.

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.  Amen.

For a list of resources and prayers to help us on this journey towards peace, justice and unity, visit

May the Lord bless our nation with peace during these turbulent times and always!

Spanish version of statement.