A Prayer to Commemorate Juneteenth
by Fr. Steven Bell, CSP
Almighty and Ever-Faithful God,
You, whose Word of Liberty was proclaimed by Moses
to free the Israelites from Egyptian enslavement
sent that same Word, heralded on Juneteenth in a proclamation of emancipation,
to our African American brothers and sisters
inhumanly bound in American enslavement.
Though our Freedom Journey is far from ended
and the Freedom Proclamation continues to unfold,
we give you thanks and praise for seeing us to this point on our mighty long
Thank you, Lord,
for fortifying our sisters and brothers of ebony skin and stout spirits
whose faithfulness and courage released their calloused hand
from the oppressive yoke of their enslavement
to plow new paths of citizenship and opportunity
for themselves and successive generations.
And, we thank you, Lord,
for the strength and resolve You bestowed
upon the arduous work and fervent prayers of all
who, throughout history, have had to trod stony roads and bear bitter rods
in order to rise up against the pervasive oppressions of unjust racial persecutions and structural racial inequities.
As we come together in this momentous occasion,
we ask for Your Word of Liberty to continue to inform us
and more of Your blessings to aid us
along this toilsome journey towards true justice and equity.
Grant us Your grace
to open the eyes of all who are blinded by the poison of intolerance.
May we all see Your image inscribed within everyone we encounter.
Lend us Your love
to free the hearts of all who are shackled by hatred and guile.
May we dwell within Your love that binds us together as a Sacred Family unified as One
Allot us Your mercy
to expand all minds beyond the confines of prejudice, apathy, fear and discrimination.
May these works of the Evil One flee at the presence of Your light.
With Your Holy Spirit, empower us to be Ministers of Liberty
as we repair, restore, and renovate all that has been broken
by the blight of continued systemic racism and racial oppression.
May Your work in us be our work in the world
that gives glory to Your Holy Name
and inspires us all to be our better selves.
We ask these graces of You as we ask of all things,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.