The mission of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) is to support and strengthen those who accompany young people as they encounter and follow Jesus Christ.


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Open Wide Our Hearts Webinar Series

How to Apply "Open Wide Our Hearts: A Pastoral Letter Against Racism" in a Ministry Context

Open Wide Our Hearts: A Pastoral Letter Against Racism

Breaking open the letter and exploring how to apply it in a ministry context


This webinar series has been a collaborative effort by:
Catholic Mobilizing Network
National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM)
United States Catholic Mission Association (USCMA)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

Session 1: Empowering Church Leaders to Address Racism

The bishops of the United States of America, at their November 2018 meeting, approved “Open Wide Our Hearts, the Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism.” The purpose of this webinar is threefold:

  1. Introduce the main themes of the pastoral letter
  2. Consider how to implement the pastoral letter from the perspective of restorative justice, youth ministry, and mission
  3. Begin a conversation about racism and our personal and collective response


Presented on May 14, 2019
Featuring Donna Grimes, Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Darius Villalobos, and Dr. Donald R. McCrabb
Moderator: Michael Theisen

View Session 1 Recording

Session 2: Empowering Church Leaders to Address Racism: Continuing the Conversation

Addresses the key themes from the many questions that surfaced during the first collaborative webinar “Empowering Church Leaders to Address Racism.” The panel defines basic, but important terms for discussing racism, explores processes and practices that can help us engage in critical conversations in our ministries, and shares recommendations for practical resources that can assist in confronting racism in our communities.


Presented on July 11, 2019
Featuring Danielle M. Brown Esq., Donna Grimes, Dr. Donald McCrabb, Krisanne Villaincourt Murphy, and Darius Villalobos
Moderator: Michael Theisen

View Session 2 Recording

Session 3: The Sin of Jesuit Slave Holding: Continuing the Conversation on Racism

This webinar features the story of the Jesuits who owned slaves. They sold 272 slaves in 1838 to save the financially distressed Georgetown University. Hear this remarkable story and the efforts towards truth, racial healing, and transformation from two people on this journey together. This is the third webinar in a series on implementing the USCCB Pastoral Letter – Open Wide Our Hearts.


Presented on November 15, 2019
Featuring Cheryllyn M. Branche and Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki
Moderators: Michael Theisen and Darius Villalobos

View Session 3 Recording

Session 4: Just Mercy: An Opportunity for Church Leaders to Address Racism

Catholic ministry leaders converse about the new film Just Mercy, and the ways in which it can inspire action among Catholics to address the sin of racism. Just Mercy tells the stunning true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making fight to exonerate Walter McMillian, a black man convicted and sentenced to death in Alabama for a crime he did not commit.


Presented on February 12, 2020
Featuring Dr. Ansel Augustine, Danielle Brown, Dr. Donald McCrabb, Deacon Art Miller, Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Darius Villalobos
Moderator: Michael Theisen

View Session 4 Recording

View more resources to aid conversations about Just Mercy


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