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The Office of Black Catholic Ministry for the Diocese of Providence has announced a Strategic Pastoral Plan of Action for fostering pastoral care and evangelization of black Catholic communities throughout Rhode Island. In response to Pope Francis’ “Call for the Conversion of the Church in our Time,” the Office of Black Catholic Ministry and its Advisory Board developed the “Strategic Plan of Action for the Pastoral Care and Evangelization to the Diaspora of the Black Catholic Community,” offering suggested guidelines for priests, lay ministers and parish assistants in fostering pastoral care to the varied ethnic communities within many unique parishes throughout Rhode Island. Read More
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz told a gathering of more than 200 African American Catholics Nov. 9, that this year — which marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slave in the U.S. — was an “especially important” year to gather. The gathering was the 34th annual African American Catholic Day of Reflection, which took place on the campus of St. Martin de Porres Church on West Broadway. The event was sponsored by the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry and Family Ministries, two of the agencies supported by the Catholic Services Appeal. The offices collaborated for the first time to present the annual day of reflection. Read More
Fr. Harvey is a member of Fr. George Conboy Council #128. When it comes to giving homilies, you might call Father Jeffrey Harvey, CM, something of an expert. A nationally recognized preacher, not to mention an experienced pastor, the 54-year-old Vincentian priest’s missionary vocation has taken him from Phoenix to New Orleans and even to the Solomon Islands. On a recent Saturday in November, it took him to St. Odilia Church in South LA, still recognized as the “Mother Church” for Black Catholics in Los Angeles nearly a century after Bishop John Cantwell designated the house of worship at 5222 Hooper Avenue the “Negro National Church of Los Angeles” in 1926. Read More
Advent confronts people of faith with a question: How do we prepare ourselves for the birth of Christ, what Pope Francis describes as "his historic coming in the humility of the human condition?" Preparing to enter the "humility of the human condition," I suggest, means dwelling in the "manger-like" conditions in which the Black Christ is born, to draw upon Kelly Brown Douglas' apt description in The Black Chris Read More
According to the Mother Lange Guild, Lange was living in Baltimore by 1813, and soon after realized that the children of her fellow refugees were in desperate need of education, something that was hard to come by for black children in pre-Civil War America. Together with a friend, Marie Magdelaine Balas, Lange began offering free education to children of color from her home. In 1828, Lange was approached by a priest, Reverend James Hector Joubert, S.S., about officially founding a Catholic school for girls of color. Lange told the priest that she had been wanting to dedicate her life to God, and that she wanted to start not only the school but also a religious order of sisters for women of color. Permission was granted, and in 1829, Lange and three other women (including Balas) took their first vows as Oblate Sisters of Providence. Lange, who became the superior of the order, took the religious name of Mary, and became known as Mother Mary Lange. Read More
If canonized, Lange, the founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, would become the first black American saint. Lange immigrated to Baltimore in the early 19th century and opened a school for black children in her small home in Baltimore’s Fells Point section. Read More
Whenever Shaniqua Wilson brings The Voices of Praise Ensemble or Ecclesia Dance Ministry to Mass, she inevitably gets asked, “Are they Catholic?” The Gospel choir-like singing strikes people as out of place in a Catholic church, and liturgical dance is unfamiliar to many. But Wilson said the groups that led the faithful in worship at the Diocese of Brooklyn’s National Black Catholic History Month Mass at St. Therese of Lisieux, Flatbush, on Nov. 17 are indeed Catholic. “It is a result of everything that John Paul II asked us to do in the early ’80s and bring our authentic blackness to the church and bring all of our gifts to the church,” she said. Black Catholic History Month in the United States in November dates back to 1990, when the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States started the custom to honor pioneers of the faith from Africa, including Sts. Augustine, born Nov. 13, and Martin de Porres, whose feast day is Nov. 3. Read More
Where are the black Catholic students at Notre Dame? I find myself asking this question often. I myself am an African American Catholic and I understand the challenge. But, as a member of the committee that has been for the last three years helping the University to celebrate Black Catholic History Month, it can be profoundly frustrating when so few Catholic students of African descent show up to programming. Read More