SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — In a letter to a leading rabbi, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento stressed the need to “purposefully remember” the Holocaust to ensure that “never again will such dark evil prevail.”
The bishop addressed his letter to Rabbi Reuven Taff, president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Sacramento, to mark the upcoming May 1-8 Days of Remembrance for Holocaust victims.
The eight-day period was designated by the U.S. Congress for civic commemorations and special educational programs that help people remember and draw lessons from the Holocaust. It occurs annually on the Sunday before the Jewish observance of Holocaust Memorial Day, which commemorates the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, and continues through the following Sunday.
The United Nations designated another date, Jan. 27, to commemorate Holocaust victims. Called International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the date commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, the largest Nazi concentration camp.
“Thinking of the Holocaust, the soul shudders, remembering the horror of the Shoah,” Bishop Soto wrote in his letter, dated April 13.
He said the commemoration of the Holocaust not only recalled the “multitude of innocent victims” but also served as a reminder to “remain ever vigilant against the possibility of genocide.”
The bishop noted that Jews and Christians “share an immense spiritual patrimony” and said that the “righteous voices from the centuries of religious witness demand that we never tire of the ceaseless task to overcome evil with good. Only a world at peace, with justice for all, can avoid repeating the mistakes and terrible sins of the past.”
Bishop Soto said he wanted to assure the Jewish people that the Catholic community is “saddened and shamed by the acts of hatred, persecution and anti–Semitism directed against Jews by Christians at any time or place.”
He stressed the need to “build a future in which there will be no more anti–Jewish feeling among Christians or anti–Christian feeling among Jews, but rather the mutual respect required of those who adore the one creator and Lord, with Abraham as our common father in faith.”