Racial Justice Journey and Dialogue

Dear Parishioners,

Like many of you, I have been on a personal journey, an awakening, to the reality and effects of racism in my country, community, church and in my life. My journey started

six years ago as I began intentionally educating myself on the history of racial disparities in our country and joined other parishes in the Archdiocese in their racial justice opportunities. The more I learned the more I realized I could never turn back.

I felt a constant call to act along the way but wasn’t sure what I, an individual white

woman, living in a predominantly white part of Atlanta could do that would make a difference. That desire for action was galvanized last May with the death of George Floyd. As a parish, OLA held a prayer service, presented book and movie discussion groups and a JustFaith Racial Justice curriculum. Through those activities, I met other parishioners that felt the same urgent Gospel call to support those impacted by systemic racism and inequality.

We are fortunate to already be working with other parishes and groups in the Archdiocese. In March of this year, we were invited to join the newly formed Interparish Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Committee hosted by St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Historic West End. This group has its genesis in the St. Anthony of Padua

Anti-Racism Committee formed in June 2020 with the purpose of addressing systemic racism and the impact of COVID-19 in the St. Anthony community.

The Interparish Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Committee is made up of individuals representing fourteen different parishes and Catholic organizations within the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The groups were initially polled on our priority issues in fighting racism and resulted in a two-pronged focus: training and leadership and accountability within the Archdiocese of Atlanta. We meet weekly to pray, discuss and plan as well as form community and are already seeing the fruits of our efforts.

I am excited to announce that we, with Fr. Duffy’s encouragement, are starting a Racial Justice Ministry at OLA. I invite those of you that feel the same call to join us on this very important journey. We will come together monthly to pray, educate ourselves and discern how the Lord is calling us collectively, and individually, to ally with those effected by racism and to work on this anti-racism effort. Our first meeting is

Tuesday, August 31st at 7pm.

If you feel called to join in our efforts, please contact me at beldenbeth@gmail.com.


Beth Belden

OLA Parishioner

"If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue…

The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to. Today we urgently need to engage all the members of society in building 'a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter' and in creating 'a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society'.

- Pope Francis, May 2016