Juneteenth Day Reflection

Sean Lansing, PhD – Director, Mission Integration, Mount Carmel Health System, Columbus

On June 19, 1865 Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced that all previously enslaved people were free. This was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation when Union troops finally made it that far south.

This day has been memorialized in celebration ever since and is now known as the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery. It is commonly known as Juneteenth Day.

For many communities all over the United States of America, Juneteenth Day is a time spent with families and the community reflecting on what freedom means. It is also a day of education about our history as a country and our relationship to slavery and racism. It is an opportunity to look back, so as we look forward, we walk toward a future of emancipation for all people from racism and all that divides us from being one human family.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has written a prayer service for racial healing in our land. The following prayer comes from that prayer service.

God of Heaven and Earth,

You created the one human family and endowed each person with great dignity. Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism.

Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight from our hearts, our communities, our social and civil institutions. Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbor so that we may work with you in healing our land from racial injustice.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.