Illinois Bishop Delivers Keynote on MLK Day

The speech was the second in a series of three events designed by the Philadelphia Office of Black Catholics to inspire people to stand up against racism.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Saint Joseph’s University has partnered with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Black Catholics (OBC) to host two events in a three-part series meant to educate and inspire people to stand up against racism.

On Monday, January 21, Bishop Edward K. Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, delivered a keynote address in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The speech was preceded by a musical prelude.

The series, which began in December with a lecture at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary by Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, was developed by the OBC in response to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral initiative against racism, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love.” In a pastoral letter approved at its November 2018 meeting, the conference noted that “some may believe that racism is no longer a major affliction of our society … but racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart.”

Bishop Braxton is a respected scholar whose writings, which cover a wide range of theological and societal issues, have appeared in the Harvard Theological Review, The New York TimesAmerica, Commonweal and The National Catholic Reporter, among many other publications. He is the author of numerous articles on African American Catholics, many of which have been published in multiple languages.

The series will conclude with a listening session on racism on Monday, February 25, also in the Chapel of St. Joseph. The event will be moderated by Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana.

For more information on the series, contact Father Richard Owens of the Office for Black Catholics at 215-587-3541 or

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