Brooklyn Bishop to Announce New Commission on Social Justice at Special Mass in the Wake of Charlottesville Violence

Carolyn Erstad

Adriana Rodriguez

The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, will announce the establishment of a new diocesan commission for social justice during a special Mass Thursday, August 24 at 7:30 PM. The Mass for Solidarity and Peace is in response to the violent and deadly protests in Charlottesville. The Mass will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, 250 Cathedral Pl, Brooklyn. Bishop DiMarzio will be the main celebrant and Reverend Alonzo Cox, Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns, Coordinator of Ministry for African American Catholics, and the Pastor of St. Martin De Porres Parish, will concelebrate.

The new diocesan commission will address racism in the Church and society at large. It will be named after Monsignor Bernard Quinn, a Diocese of Brooklyn priest targeted by the Klu Klux Klan. The Klan burned down an orphanage Monsignor Quinn built for African American children, not once, but twice in the same year. Monsignor Quinn received numerous death threats. But he did not back down. He stood up to racism and rebuilt. He was valiant, pledging to his parishioners, ‘I would willingly shed to the last drop my life’s blood for the least among you.’ Monsignor Quinn also established the first African American church in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“Monsignor Quinn is our own diocesan hero,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “In his name, we will address the social and religious problems that racism presents.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has also just announced plans to establish the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. According to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the USCCB, the committee “will be wholly dedicated to engaging the Church and our society to work together in unity to challenge the sin of racism, to listen to persons who are suffering under this sin, and to come together in the love of Christ to know one another as brothers and sisters.”

Thursday’s Mass for Solidarity and Peace will remind the faithful of Brooklyn, Queens, and beyond, that we are all created as children of God. Together we will pray for those injured and killed in Charlottesville, for the healing of our nation, and for all those who have allowed the seeds of hatred to grow in their hearts.