July 21, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters issued the following statement in solidarity with the people of Detroit.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters join with our brothers and sisters in Detroit in “looking back to move forward” on this 50th anniversary of the four-day uprising that began on July 23, 1967. We recognize that much remains to be done to end the institutional racism that gave rise to the rebellion 50 years ago that tragically left 43 dead and 342 injured – and that continues to do violence to people of color in Detroit and other parts of our nation today.
As Catholic Sisters of predominantly white Euro-American heritage, we acknowledge our own complicity in the sin of institutional racism, which privileges some and dehumanizes others. We pledge our lives and resources – through our literacy centers and individual ministries in social and environmental justice, non-violent peacemaking, education, and local parishes – to do all we can to help build the “beloved community” that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of and Jesus modeled.
July 20, 2017, Orlando, Florida – Sister Lorene Heck, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Dominican West Chapter, was one of 4,500 Catholic leaders invited to attend the July 1-4, 2017, Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America. Sister Lorene represented Region XV of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).
The U.S. Bishops convened the convocation in response to Pope Francis’ call in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) “to embark on a new chapter of evangelization marked by the joy of the Gospel” and to form others as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. The bishops invited key leaders from dioceses, apostolates, movements, and Catholic organizations such as the LCWR.
“I was grateful for the opportunity to attend,” Sister Lorene said. “I became more aware of the numerous Catholic organizations and movements and gained an increased awareness of the wide range of viewpoints within the Church in the United States.”
Sister Lorene said key objectives of the convocation were to equip and re-energize leaders to share the Gospel as missionary disciples and to provide leaders with key insights from their participation in a strategic conversation about the U.S. Catholic Church’s current challenges and opportunities. The pope is calling Catholics to go beyond “mere administration” to a missionary conversation, she said.
The convocation considered four key questions:
The convocation helped participants to answer those questions during plenary sessions around the themes of unity, landscape and renewal, work and witness, and a Spirit of Mission. Some 22 breakout sessions helped participants to go deeper into exploring these themes, and panel discussions provided the opportunity for delegates to set the context and guide the conversation. Sister Lorene attended a gathering of LCWR delegates, as well as breakout sessions on International Solidarity, Living in the Margins in our Country and our World, and Missionary Disciples in Solidarity with the Suffering Church.
Sister Lorene said she was especially excited to note that the vast majority of delegates were lay leaders in the Church, “dedicated, committed disciples.” She believes the greatest challenge for the delegates is “to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by the joy of the Gospel – to become ever more, and to form others as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Submitted by Sister Lorene Heck, OP