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Reading, Praying, Living The US Bishops' Open Wide Our Hearts

A Faith Formation Guide
Alison Mearns Benders

ISBN: 9780814665015, 6501
Details: 104 pgs , 5 3/8 X 8 1/4
Publication Date: 02/27/2020


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In 2018, for the first time in nearly forty years, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter against racism. Open Wide Our Hearts is a call to a humble and expansive love that respects human dignity and unites us all in Christ. Now, in Reading, Praying, Living The US Bishops' Open Wide Our Hearts, Alison Benders offers a resource designed to help parishes, RCIA programs, campus ministries, and Catholic readers unpack and grapple with this important document.

Benders provides background on the social doctrine that grounds the document, describes why it's so timely, and offers a plan for studying the letter, personally or as a group. In an engaging and accessible way, she walks readers through the scriptural, theological, and moral guidance needed to form our consciences and convert our hearts. And because the work of racial healing is a journey, not an event, each section of the guide also includes questions for personal reflection and attentive discussion and prayers for spiritual renewal or reconciliation.

Alison M. Benders is associate dean at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. She is the author of the award-winning Just Prayer: A Book of Hours for Peacemakers and Justice Seekers, published by Liturgical Press.

This book provokes the reader to create a more just community through a metanoia-a loving conversion regarding the issue of race. This transformation leads to confronting the structural sin of racism and transforming political, social, and economic structures so that every person can enrich the community with their personal gifts without having to leave their cultural heritage behind as the price of admission. In an age, when some faith traditions seek to retreat from what they see as the threat of a secular relativist public culture, Reading, Praying, Living the US Bishops' Open Wide Our Hearts to the contrary reminds us, at times in uncomfortable ways, that confronting and eliminating the scourge of racism is at the heart, not the periphery of being Christian.
John Francis Burke, PhD, Assistant Professor at Trinity University, Author of Building Bridges, Not Walls: Nourishing Diverse Cultures in Faith