By Dominique Johnson
Following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minnesota, frustration and anger have been high across the United States. In response to the unrest in the country, Bishop Andrew Bellisario, C.M., asked the faithful of the Diocese of Juneau and the Archdiocese of Anchorage to join him in a livestreamed Holy Hour for Peace from Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage.
In his homily, the bishop said, “We gather here in the presence of the most blessed sacrament to pray for peace.” He acknowledged how this moment in our nation is a difficult one because, for months, we have been dealing with a global pandemic, which has taken the lives of thousands across the country. “In the past week,” the bishop said, “we’ve witnessed hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, peacefully protesting against the tragic and unprovoked killing of George Floyd. The latest in the long line of African American men and women and other people of color who have been killed in encounters with police or while in police custody.”
The bishop then shared how in the aftermath, there has been chaos due to riots in response to George Floyd’s death. The bishop said that Christ calls us to peace, “the peace that Christ offers calls us to repentance and conversion, the peace that begins with the transformation of our hearts and minds.” Quoting James 3:18, the bishop said, “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.”
The bishop concluded his homily saying to those in attendance and watching online that there is much work ahead for everyone to help bring peace and justice to our country. He challenged all people to reflect on the events that had taken place “and to look for ways in which we can come closer together, through prayer for peace and justice for all people, who are truly created in the image and likeness of God.”