SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Roman Catholic Bishop Mitchell Rozanski says that he is saddened by recent incidents of discrimination and vandalism in the week following the presidential election, and is calling on local Catholics to stand up against these acts.
Rozanski issued a letter on Saturday afternoon that is to be distributed to the faithful across the diocese. In it, the bishop said that he wants to show solidarity with others in the faith community, following acts of intolerance.
“While we may think these problems only occur elsewhere, the local news from the past week reporting on anti-Jewish graffiti at Mt. Tom, as well as a lesser reported but no less threatening incident at the West Springfield mosque in which a group of young people recently went to this sacred space, breaking bottles of alcohol outside the mosque, serve as sad reminders that the trouble is much closer to home,” Rozanski wrote.
He called such incidents a “stain against the whole of our civilized society,” and is telling local Catholics to join people of other faiths in prayer and solidarity.
“As a people of faith, we have a moral obligation to speak out and reject such divisive actions and not remain silent. Parents have a special and unique obligation to speak with their children about the harm such actions can cause,” the bishop wrote.
A group of interfaith leaders is holding a prayer vigil at Mount Tom on Saturday to deal with the subject of hateful incidents. Diocesan spokesperson Mark Dupont told 22News that Rozanski could not attend the vigil due to a previous commitment, but wanted to issue the letter to area Catholics in a show of support and solidarity.