Moving Towards Oneness

Moving Towards Oneness 

OUR BACKGROUND 

It is only by eliminating the barriers created by the sin of racism that as people we can begin to  create the loving and just community to which we are called by Christ. 

With this command in our hearts, it is essential that we, as members of the community of greater  Louisville, begin to address the quality of our relationship to God and to one another by  understanding persons different than ourselves. 

In 1988, the Office of African American Catholic Ministries initiated the Moving Towards  Oneness process as a tool to dismantle racism. Previously, in 1979, African American Catholic  Ministries offices across the United States were charged with the responsibilities by their local  constituents to address the Sin of Racism. It would be the work initiated by our African  American Catholic Bishops, National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, National Black Catholic  Sisters Conference and founding members of the National Association of Black Catholic  Administrators that the platform for addressing racism would find its way to the national agenda.  Ethnic Ministry offices would collaborate with Peace and Justice offices to develop local  responses to this age-old problem. 

Even with all this attention to the issue of racism, it appears that little change is occurring. It  would be the death of Brendon K. Glenn, Samuel Vincent DuBose, India Kager, Jamar O’Neal  Clark, Alton Sterling, Phlando Castile, Deborah Danner, Dennis Plowden, Stephon Alonzo  Clark, Bijan Ghaisar, Antwon Rose Jr., Bothom Shem Jean, Gregory Lloyd Edwards, Javier  Ambler, Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, William Howards Green, Elijah McClain, Sincere Pierce,  Carlos Carson, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd that ultimately brought our church and society  at large to take a step back and to try to find the true meaning of life and human dignity. 

Some questions: If there were no protesters, would our society be engaged in conversations to  undue the wrong? Would employers, institutions and churches have Implicit Bias Training  taking place? Would there be a need for developing a Plan of Action for Combating Racism?  While some would say, “we do not have a race issue,” others would say, “it was just a matter of  time.” Outcry for racial justice was inevitable, propelling our national community to address its  role in Systemic Racism. Today, it is essential to focus on the history of racism and the  mechanisms that allow for its existence today. We must address how racism impacts the lives of  human beings and develop action plans to eradicate it. 

OUR MODEL 

There are many ways and techniques for addressing racism. The format we are using is a five week group model. The group consists of: 

  • Facilitators – they are expected to have a good understanding of racism. Equal representation from diverse racial groups and geographical locations. (e.g., 10  Whites and 10 African Americans; suburbs and urban areas or rural communities).

Moving Towards Oneness 

A Sample Session Format: 

  • Unity Meal 
  • Welcome / Prayer 
  • Ice Breaker 
  • Large Group Sharing from one of the teams 
  • Part I - “Self-Identity” Session 

The Importance of Knowing Your Story 

  • Small Group Breakout 

Sharing of Self Identity Sheet 

  • Part II - Large Group Sharing (DVD) 
  • Large Group Input 
  • Summary 
  • Prayer 

It is critical to remember that this process is ongoing. It is a beginning, not an end. It is designed  to provide participants with an in-dept view of racism and how they might become more actively  engaged in developing a plan to combat racism. 

This process consists of five stages of development and appropriate exercises to work through  each stage. The steps of the Five Stage Process include: 

  1. Lay the foundation for participants to better understand racism. 
  2. Probe the layers of racism part I 

III. Probe the layers of racism part II 

  1. Assist participants with sorting through some of the feelings and reactions with  regards to racism 
  2. Assist participants in developing specific action strategies to combat racism 

At the end of the process, participants will be able to: 

Name and clearly define concepts related to racism 

Describe and examine racism in its systematic, cultural, and individual forms Identify and articulate personal feelings and fears related to racism 

Develop a specific plan of action to combat racism 

As a result of the sharing which occurs during Moving Towards Oneness, we are hopeful that a  process of collaboration between faith communities can begin in a number of ways. There can be  many expressions of working and playing together and thereby growing in our knowledge and  respect of one another.

Moving Towards Oneness 

WHO ARE THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROCESS? 

It is our desire to involve 3 racially diverse faith communities. We are pairing parishes from the  West End, East End, and South / Southwest End of Louisville. 

WHAT ARE THE ASPECTS OF THIS PROCESS? 

The process involves sharing which includes: 

  1. Sharing our cultural background and stories. 
  2. Sharing our attributes about others and the barriers we would like to dismantle. 3. Efforts to change our level of awareness of the experience of others. 
  3. Sharing concrete ways to make changes. 

WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN THIS? 

  • Our parish will be paired with a group from the Cathedral and a group from Saint  Augustine. 
  • We are looking for 6-8 volunteers who will commit to 5 in-person meetings with the  larger group. Everyone 18 to 100 years of age is welcome. We will be joining in a  separate Youth Session for interested 13 years to 16 years of age. 
  • Our meetings will be from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm on 5 consecutive Wednesday evenings  starting on August 18th and ending on September 15th
  • These sessions are guided by leaders from the parishes and each attendee will be  provided a workbook. Deacon Ted will be working with leaders from the other parishes  in our group to facilitate the process. 
  • At the end of the process, our parishes will have created a 6-month plan of action to  address an aspect of racism within our community, working together to bring about  positive changes. However, the goal is also to build relationships with other catholic  communities in our city and to foster ongoing communion. 

All that is required of you, besides the time commitment, is Grace. Grace to listen to another  person’s story, learn from their experience, and share your own experiences. Grace to offer your  own feeling about topics that can be challenging to discuss, and to do so without pointing fingers  or blaming others. Grace to accept our own challenges, our own failures, and our own  responsibilities. 

This Grace is being asked of ALL participants. We are one Body of Christ. We share one faith.  We seek communion and unity by identifying the current situation faced by each of us,  recognizing the past (good and bad), and focusing on our shared future.

Moving Towards Oneness 

If you are interested, please call the Parish Office at 502-239-5178 to leave a message for Deacon Ted Marks and you will be contacted. If you have questions that were not addressed here, please feel free to email Deacon  Ted at [email protected]