National Day of Mourning and Lament
Our nation has passed a grievous point in history: 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. As people of faith, we cannot allow this grim number to go unnoticed. Always and everywhere, it is the duty of religious communities to remember the dead and mourn their passing. From generation to generation, we have been given this task: to speak their names and honor their lives. As people of faith, we cannot let this moment pass unnoticed.
The nation must be given the chance to mourn, lament, and remember the dead.
The rapid spread of the disease, the scope of its impact, and the mitigation through “social distancing” has prevented the time and space for us to grieve. To meet this need, religious communities across faiths are acting with unprecedented unity. People of faith and others of good will gather together to mourn, memorialize, and remember the dead both in our diverse faith traditions and in our public squares.
Together, we will pray for the healing of our nation.
On May 29, 30, and 31 — Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — America’s religious communities will gather for the first time following this grim 100,000 marker. Each in keeping with their own traditions and practices will mourn our American dead and pray for the healing of our nation. Muslims on Friday, the Jewish community on Saturday. On Pentecost Sunday, we will name, honor, lament, and offer tributes to the lives of those who have died across our Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American traditions and communities.
But religious communities do not act alone. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents over 1400 cities and towns, is supporting this call for a time of collective prayer with a Day of Mourning and Lament on Monday June 1 at noon local times with interfaith clergy.
COVID is also revealing longstanding inequities and difficult truths. Our democracy is broken. We are suffering unequally across racial, ethnic, and generational lines and we must commit to transforming these disparities if we are to truly heal our nation.
We invite you to join with religious and civic leaders across the country as we take a moment on Monday, June 1 at noon to pause and join together in collective mourning and lament. We also hope you will share this video with others and post your own prayers or tributes to your loved ones lost to this pandemic on social media on this day.