January 2021: More on Respecting the Dignity
of Every Human Person
Next week, America honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and inaugurates the 46th President of the United States, Mr. Joseph R. Biden, Jr.. Please use the resources below to pray for an end to the sins of racism and violence that trample on human dignity and too often result in loss of human life.
In his statement to mark the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 20, 2021, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote:
"Let us commit ourselves once more to building his ‘beloved community,’ an America where all men and women are treated as children of God, made in his image and endowed with dignity, equality, and rights that can never be denied, no matter the color of their skin, the language they speak, or the place they were born."
Pro-life ministry calls us as individuals, as communities, and as a nation to respect and protect the lives of every human person, at every stage and in every circumstance of life.
Sincerely in Christ,
Respect Life Office
Honor the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pray for an End to Racism
"Racism and all its demeaning expressions must be eliminated, not only because they harm our neighbor, but because they violate how God has created us to be." - Bishop Anthony Taylor
Read and prayerfully consider Bishop Taylor's June 2020 Statement on Racism. Read the Statement in Spanish.
Take action and learn more: Read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
“Racism is a sin that denies the truth about God and his creation, and it is a scandal that disfigures the beauty of America’s founding vision. In our 2018 pastoral letter on racism, my brother bishops and I stated: ‘What is needed, and what we are calling for, is a genuine conversion of heart, a conversion that will compel change and the reform of our institutions and society.’ - Archbishop José H. Gomez
Please read and prayerfully consider the full statement by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Get this statement in Spanish.
Learn more and take action: Study the Bishops' pastoral letter against racism Open Wide Our Hearts: An Enduring Call to Love. Read the letter in Spanish.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Masses will be celebrated in the Diocese of Little Rock at St. Bartholomew Church in Little Rock at 8:30 am and at St. Augustine Church in North Little Rock at 10:30am. Fr. Warren Harvey will be the featured speaker at both Masses. For more information about MLK Masses in our diocese please read this article on our DOLR webpage.
Pray more! Pray this Novena for Racial Justice. Pray this Novena in Spanish.
Do more! MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. Join the work, find out more here.
"The bottom line is that we as a nation need to remove those things that continue to harm our neighbor. Racism will only end when everyone has — and feels like they have — equal protection under the law, a just wage, decent housing and true access to health care, among other basic human rights." - Bishop Taylor, Statement on Racism
Prayer on the Occasion of the Inauguration of a Public Official
This prayer, from the U.S. edition of the Book of Blessings (no. 1965), is an adaptation of the prayer for the Church and for civil authorities which was composed by Archbishop John Carroll for use on the occasion of the inauguration of George Washington in 1789. This prayer, or particular sections of it, especially section 2, could be used at gatherings for prayer outside Mass. Within Mass, it could be used at the conclusion of the Universal Prayer.
- Almighty and eternal God,
you have revealed your glory to all nations.
God of power and might, wisdom and justice,
through you authority is rightly administered,
laws are enacted, and judgment is decreed.
- For the President:
Assist with your spirit of counsel and fortitude
the President of these United States,
that his/her administration may be conducted in righteousness,
and be eminently useful to your people over whom he/she presides.
May he/she encourage due respect for virtue and religion.
May he/she execute the laws with justice and mercy.
May he/she seek to restrain crime, vice, and immorality.
- For the members of Congress:
Let the light of your divine wisdom
direct the deliberations of Congress, (and especially of N.,)
and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed
for our rule and government.
May they seek to preserve peace, promote national happiness,
and continue to bring us the blessings of liberty and equality.
- For state and local officials:
We pray for N., the governor of this state (commonwealth, dominion),
for the members of the legislature, (especially, N.,)
for judges, elected civil officials, (especially, N.,)
and all others who are entrusted to guard our political welfare.
May they be enabled, by your powerful protection,
to discharge their duties with honesty and ability.
- We likewise commend to your unbounded mercy
all citizens of the United States,
that we be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of your holy law.
May we be preserved in union and that peace which the world cannot give;
and, after enjoying the blessings of this life,
be admitted to those which are eternal.
We pray to you, who are Lord and God,
for ever and ever.