Friday, June 12, 2020

A Heart for God's People- Resources for Kids on Combating Racism

Hi friends- Over the past few weeks we have certainly seen an explosion of discussion and action surrounding the topic of racism. I have been doing a lot of listening, reading, praying, and reflecting. I'm not here today to write at length, but I did want to share the fruit of some of my prayer and planning as I consider the conversations about social justice that need to be expanded on in my classroom when we return in the fall. In this post I have a few resources for you that maybe will help with the conversations and prayer you are sharing with your kids at home. I also am going to link to a few of the tools that have been meaningful for me and that I am tucking away to use later in my classroom. If you have found any great resources for Catholic kids about the topics of racism, I'd love for you to add them in the comments or send me an email!

***A couple of updates based on some feedback/questions:
-Some of the Saints on the Litany have not always been portrayed as Black in art. The truth is that unless we have a modern photograph of the Saint, we don't know their skin color. But, all of these Saints are either from Africa or have African ancestry, so I believe that they are good patrons to call on for an eradication of racism in the world, even if some of them did not experience racism themselves based on their time/location in history.
-I certainly did not intend for this to be a "one and done" activity or something only relegated to a unit on social justice (I realize it might sound like that in the paragraph above- I meant more all the ways we incorporate Catholic Social Teaching throughout our classroom and school year). I hope that these Saints find their way into your home/classroom's bookshelves, art, and conversations year round.
-I also hope that this list is seen as an opportunity to share the stories of these Saints.They have not been Canonized (or on their way) because of the color of their skin, but because they allowed Jesus to transform their hearts. I am not lifting them up as an example exclusively because they are Black, but because they lived heroic virtue and give us an example to follow.
-I hope that helps! I'm always open for dialogue and offering the best tools I can share. 

First, I think that there is no better prayer right now than to be asking for the mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to fall upon our world. I have been praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart daily and began the Novena this week. It's never too late to join in.
Litany to the Sacred Heart printable
Novena to the Sacred Heart printable
Other Sacred Heart Resources, including a printable Sacred Heart statue

I've also been asking the Black Saints who've gone before us to intercede for our country from Heaven. I created a litany of some of my favorite Black Saints as well as a blank version for you to list your own. This summer would be a great time to choose a few Black Saints to learn more about. I've started working on finding resources especially for our American Black Saints/Blesseds/Venerables/Servants of God and hope to be able to share those with you soon.
Just a note- I think Saints from all eras, locations, and races should be shared with kids all the time- in our books, art, stories, and examples. But just like we call on certain Saints for certain circumstances- like a patron of a particular job or specific illness- I think it only makes sense to ask these holy men and women to be praying for us in light of current events.

Click here for my Litany of Black Saints:
And click here for the blank Litany to fill in yourself:
Meg Hunter-Kilmer is a literal Saint Ninja and has tons of resources on her social media about these brothers and sisters who went before us. Most recently, she has created a beautiful Black Saints Novena on Instagram. I encourage you to go read their stories and then share the stories of how they loved Jesus and lived with heroic virtue.

I also believe that great solace and direction can be found in listening to the truth of Scripture especially when the world around us is so divisive. I chose five passages from throughout the Bible that helped me reflect and pray on the true universality of the Body of Christ. Each page in this printable has one passage to read and a few reflection questions for each step of Lectio Divina, as well as a little room for your child to journal. I think that these Lectio Divina pages would be most powerful for 4th graders and up, but you could certainly read the passages (or a shortened version) with any age and use them as a springboard of conversation about God's love for all His people and the inherent dignity and worth of each person.

Click here to get the five Lectio Divina pages:

The USCCB has resources about racism for every grade level here. I encourage to browse through and pull out any talking points or resources that would help you guide your kids.

Jenna from Lazy Liturgical has this  free God's Colors printable to help start conversations with your young child about diversity.

The book Everyone Belongs from Loyola Press is recommended by the USCCB.

Colors of Creation from TAN books starts with the Creation of the world using the colors green, blue, etc. and concludes with the pinnacle of Creation- humankind, shown with all of the colors of people around the world.

 Lacy from Catholic Icing pulled together a great list of picture books about diversity for kids.

There's also this list: Books about Racism and Social Justice from Common Sense Media.

In the Image and Likeness of God Newsletter for Parents from the National Catholic Education Association

Personally, I have benefited greatly from listening to these videos/podcasts, and know that some of this content would also be helpful to my middle schoolers or high school youth group. They would be worth the listen as a parent or teacher, and them maybe you can listen with your older child.
Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman addresses the USCCB in 1989
Fr. Josh Johnson Rosary for Racial Reconciliation
Fr. John Johnson Podcast Episode Healing the Racial Divide
Catholic Stuff You Should Know Podcast Episode: One Congregation
Beyond the Pew: Talking to Your Kids About Race

We are united together as a Church living out the call written in the Catechism that says:
"The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it: Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design." ~CCC 1935

I will continue to pray, and hope you join me, for a rooting out of the sin of racism in my own heart and in the world around us. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!


  1. Thank you, Katie, for your wonderful resources! These will be useful supplements to the rich and important lessons of acceptance and the beauty of diversity in our world among the people of God.

    1. Thank you! I hope so! A few of these Saints are favorites in my classroom (whether because they are personally favorites of mine so their stories are told more ;) or because they are connected to my students- some of their Confirmation Saints are included here, etc.) I look forward to including more about some of the other Saints throughout the coming school year.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I hope and pray it encourages us all to a change of heart and profound convertion and gives us strength and courage for much needed deep structural changes.

    1. I am praying for that daily, and asking these Saints to join me!

  3. This is wonderful. I am 64 years old and didn’t even realize these saints were Black!!!!

    1. I've been learning a lot too! One distinction I can make is that a few of them (Augustine, Monica, Perpetua, Felicity for example) were from North Africa. Unless we have a photograph, we can't prove their skin tone. So maybe a more accurate title for the Litany would be "Black and African Saint Litany." My intention was to highlight these holy men and women especially as patrons for our diverse church and as stories that are worth telling! :)

  4. Okay, seriously, the Litany of Black Saints is amazing. I just had a discussion with my priest about things like this - how so many churches could do a better job with mentioning Black saints, having Black statues, Black art, etc. My son is Black (we are white) and I asked him about this and he said it has always bothered him that every icon, statue, etc is white. This is so great, thank you!

  5. Thank you for sharing these resources! It is so important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of our BIPOC brothers and sisters. I also want to share the Smithsonian's excellent new resource, "Talking About Race":