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Br. Steve Herro's Blog


Br. Steve HerroBr. Steve Herro, O. Praem., professed solemn vows to the Community of St. Norbert Abbey in 1991. He has served in Catholic social action ministry for St. Norbert Abbey, the Diocese of Green Bay, Catholic Charities USA, and St. Norbert College.

DISCLAIMER: This blog represents Br. Herro's own opinions and experiences. It does not represent an official position or opinion of St. Norbert Abbey or of any individual Norbertine.

July 2015
Entry #41: Archbishop Kurtz, a Charleston massacre, and "Connecting Our Community"

by Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

About six weeks ago, I left my ministry at Catholic Charities USA and residence at Catholic University, Washington, D.C., to return to St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, Wisconsin. I was assured that my monthly blog entry was still welcome, though I would no longer be writing from the perspective of a Norbertine serving in the nation’s capital, influenced by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic University, Georgetown University, and my Pax Christi region. I learned very quickly that change in locale did not eliminate the opportunity to think, reflect, and act on Catholic social action.

I moved from Washington, D.C., a majority minority community (that is, people of color constitute more than 50 percent of the population) to Brown County, in which 14.6 percent of the community is people of color. And what does this have to do with the state of the country and teaching of our Catholic leadership?

In the light of the June 18 murder of nine congregants at a historically African-American Christian church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a young adult white supremacist and the June 20 Juneteenth celebration in Green Bay, I could not help but reflect on the statement of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), on race relations at the U.S. Bishops’ annual Spring General Assembly, June 10, 2015. He suggested concrete responses by socially concerned Catholics in our country:

1.  Pray for peace and healing among all people.


2.  Study the Word of God and the social teaching of the Church in order to gain a deeper appreciation of the dignity of all persons.


3.  Make a sincere effort to encounter more fully people of different racial backgrounds with whom we live, work, and minister.


4.  Pursue ways in which Catholic parishes and neighborhoods can be truly welcoming of families of different racial and religious backgrounds.


5.  Get to know our local law enforcement officers. Let them know of our support and gratitude. And encourage young people to respect all legitimate authority.

My friend David is leading an outreach in greater Green Bay to interview 300 community members, “Connecting Our Community From Many Directions.” As the purpose statement reads:

...the increased migration of Latinos, African-Americans, Southeast Asians and others with different cultures, religions, languages and traditions to Brown County has enriched the diversity of the population... Sharing positive stories that connect will lower barriers, increase cooperation, and open pathways for realizing dreams...

My new home does not possess a majority minority population, but I am proud that David and the Bay Area Community Council are addressing the issue of diversity in my community through the process of appreciative inquiry. And David’s sincere invitation to me to assist in the project is one small way that I can take to heart Archbishop Kurtz’s request of the Church in the U.S. today.


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