Cardinal Sean O'Malley is calling for prayers in the aftermath of the deaths of unarmed black men in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri.

The Archdiocese of Boston released a blog post from O'Malley, who says the Christian Advent season is a time to spread hope, peace and compassion.

The cardinal asks the nation to pray for the families of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, and Eric Garner, who died after a white officer placed him in a chokehold.

Grand juries in both cases did not return indictments against the officers, triggering widespread and sometimes violent protests.

O'Malley said in his blog Friday that every person's dignity, regardless of race, "must be respected and protected."

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