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Faithful asked to observe day of prayer for racial reconciliation

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is calling on all people of faith in Southwestern Pennsylvania to pray and fast Wednesday for racial reconciliation.

“In solidarity with all people who suffer from discrimination and violence due to their race, I join my brother bishops nationwide in asking everyone to pray and work for racial justice and reconciliation,” Bishop David Zubik said in a news release Friday.

Wednesday is the memorial day of St. Peter Claver, patron of interracial justice.

St. Claver was a Jesuit priest from Spain who ministered to enslaved Africans in the 17th century.

“May God use this opportunity to inspire change, first in our own hearts and then by showing us what we can do as individuals, parishes and communities to build bridges of understanding and true friendship across racial lines,” Zubik said.

Zubik is also asking people to observe the day for St. Katharine Drexel, who once lived in Pittsburgh.

Drexel, who died in 1955, founded a religious order to educate black and indigenous Americans and to oppose racism.

She lived and studied with the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh.

“The example and prayers of St. Katherine should inspire us to work as deliberately (as) she did for justice and to speak up and take action whenever we encounter racism,” Zubik said. “Let the memory of her presence on our streets move us to follow in her footsteps.”