Renewing Our Commitment to Heal
By CCF-LA Board Member
Bishop David G. O'Connell
These last weeks of protests and looting have reminded me of what happened in Los Angeles 28 years ago in 1992 when over a three-day period 60 people were murdered and hundreds of businesses were destroyed and burned to the ground during the Rodney King riots. This was a very, very sad time for all of us, but I am proud of the fact that in the weeks and months afterwards
the parishioners of our South L.A. parishes
renewed our commitment that we would work to the best of our ability to bring healing and hope to a city that was hurting so much.
We understood that the first challenge was to
build a culture of trust
among neighbors in our community. At that time, the people of South L.A. were a hurting Black population and very poor immigrants mostly from Mexico and many Central Americans who had fled terrible violence in their countries. We began to organize novenas of prayer for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the neighborhoods around the parishes. We asked the parishioners themselves to invite their neighbors to their little homes or backyards to pray the rosary and to
listen and talk to each other.
It was beautiful to see that as people talked to each other about their lives and prayed together they began to build some trust. We also began to bring people together to read the Gospel and to share with each other how the Gospel connects with their own experiences and stories. People would leave these sessions
feeling more connected to each other and less isolated in their suffering.
They were being united together by the Word of God and by Our Blessed Mother.