The Archbishop of Washington celebrated a Mass of Peace and Justice Friday to mark 57 years since the historic March on Washington and unveiled a new anti-racism effort.
Speaking at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in D.C., Archbishop Wilton Gregory said people of different faiths came together during the 1963 march.
“People from a wide variety of religious traditions were united in a prayerful moment for our nation. The existing social order was clearly challenged by people of faith. That is exactly what we need today,” Gregory said.
“Our country is suffering,” Gregory said. “Needless violence in our cities, numerous deaths of African Americans at the hands of police, hate crimes and discrimination against immigrants and people of various religious traditions, and a pandemic, the likes of which our world has never seen.”
He urged people to unify once again, around the cause of racial justice.
“Ours is the task and the privilege of advancing the goals that were so eloquently expressed 57 years ago by such distinguished voices on that day. Men and women, young and old, people of every racial and ethnic background are needed in this effort,” Gregory said. “Believers and non-believers, sports stars and corporate giants, small-town residents and urban dwellers must all engage in the work of reconciliation and unity-building; so that our common future will be better and more secure than in the past. We must take heart and not be dissuaded or intimidated by voices that seek division and hatred because we shall overcome.”
At the end of the mass, Gregory introduced something new.
“In light of current events in our country and the need for ongoing work in the fight against racial injustice everywhere, I am announcing the new Archdiocese of Washington initiative, ‘Made in God’s Image: Pray and Work to End the Sin of Racism,'” he said. The effort will involve a variety of activities.
You can watch the mass below.