Bishop Marty Shanahan, Center for Changing Lives, Dept. of Corrections The Pandemics Manifested
Bishop Mary

At the end of February the world was hit with a new virus—the Novell corona virus-Covid19-a virus that has and will continue to reshape and redefine the very fabric of our societies and our world.

In the midst of that catastrophe, the unhealed and uncleansed wounds of Racism were ripped open once again in the murder of Mr. George Floyd, right here in our very own city of Minneapolis.

The combination of those Pandemics….Racism and Covid19…fear, anger, frustration, mystery, destruction, vandalism and opportunistic crimes have bled out of our mutual historical bodies.

Sometimes, and maybe now, one of the fastest routes to healing can come from our bleeding, because we cannot ignore them any longer, thus we are forced to address the realities of our trauma.  Today, throughout the United States, faith leaders of all faiths, Christian, Hindu, Native, Muslim, Jewish and Humanists—all have agreed to stand together in a day of collective mourning and hope.

Mourning for the over 100,000 of our brothers and sisters who have had to die alone because of the Covid19 virus, and their loved ones who have had to stand outside of the intimate circle of death and watch, helpless.  Mourning, also the fact that Racism, has once again ripped open the unhealed wounds and has taken countless lives and has often killed the human spirit of many others.  All of it reminds us that we are truly one, all one!

One human family, one world, one people.  And this day is not only a day of mourning, it is a day of Hope.  A day that I am convinced can be the birthing of the healing we all so desperately need.

Each of us can make a difference; each of us can be instruments of peace and healing; each of us can reach out to our brothers and sisters across the wounds of divisions, real or imagined, and together we can restore our common human connections which have been torn apart.  Together we can begin to weave a new tapestry of hope.

I invite each of you, my colleagues, and all those with whom you work, to join together, not only this day, but in all the days forward to commit ourselves to eradicate injustice, eliminating racism, fostering healing and restoring hope.

As I knelt down on the street at the corner of 38th and Chicago and laid some simple flowers and offered a prayer for Mr. Floyd and the community of the human family, a young African American boy walked up to me holding a sign that said:  When did I move from being “cute” to being “scary”?

Our eyes locked in unity, and against the pandemics of racism and Covid19 we embraced and I said to him: “I hope at least in my eyes you will never be scary.”

And I was reminded of the ancient Celtic Hymn…Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

We, my friends, can change the narrative of our world…if we chose to.  I pray and I hope we do.