Every summer for the past 19 years, the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City has prayed a “novena of novenas” for justice, peace, and the care of creation. I recently stumbled upon their novena while looking for prayer resources online. This discovery got me thinking: if we all agree that the United States is on the wrong track; that injustice, racism, and violence still permeate our society; that today we are as far from the Beloved Community as we were when Dr. Martin Luther King first invoked that Josiah Royce phrase; that the racial divide is deepening; and that the presidential choices facing Americans today are deeply disappointing; then we really should be praying more. And praying specifically for justice, peace, and racial reconciliation.
So, I’ve taken the idea of the Romero Catholic Worker novena and written a new novena, the Novena for Peace, Justice, and Racial Reconciliation in the United States. (Thanks to Bob Waldrip and the Romero Catholic Worker for letting me borrow their idea.) We’re going to begin praying on August 20 and continue through Election Day, November 8, which also happens to be the birthday of our patron, Dorothy Day (and my own!).
It will be 81 days of prayer and action in nine cycles, with themes like:
- August 20-28: For an End to the Injustice of Poverty
- August 29-September 6: For an End to the Injustice of Exploitation
- September 7-15: For an End to the Injustice of Exclusion
- September 16-24: For an End to War and Terrorism
- September 25-October 3: For an End to Violence Against the Vulnerable
- October 4-12: For an End to Violence in American Society
- October 13-21: For Racial Reconciliation in the United States
- October 22-30: For Racial Reconciliation in our Churches
- October 31-November 8: For the Building of the Beloved Community
I don’t believe it’s an accident that the 2016 presidential election coincides with the Jubilee Year of Mercy. We in the United States must find a way to deal with each other and the rest of the world in a spirit of mercy: nonviolently, justly, and with hearts open to reconciliation.
As Dr. King said, “The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”
Join us as we pray for miracles in 2016.
NB: The Novena for Peace is my personal project. It is not a program of Solidarity Hall, and SH is not responsible for its content.