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Though he has a century’s worth of memories to choose from, one that will always get a chuckle out of 99-year-old Emile Adams Jr. starts with him receiving a rather frantic phone call from his daughter, Lillian. “The power had gone out in my house,” she said. “I had six children, three boys in the bath, a baby down in the crib, two girls running around and [husband] Frank was at work. I couldn’t figure out the fuse box, so I called my dad and he was over in minutes. “The moment he walks in the house, he puts his arms over his head and says, ‘Let there be light!’ And the lights went on! We all just stared at him for a moment and then my daughter Robyn said to her sister Renee, ‘See Renee, I told you Papa was God.’ ” (We assume Renee nodded knowingly.) Read More
Clavers on the Move: The Board of Directors of the Sr. Thea Bowman Black Catholic Educational Foundation announced the appointment of a Catholic educator who has empowered inner-city youth with the gift of Catholic education to serve as its next executive director. Sir Knight Joseph T. Barker II, Assembly #43 of Atlanta, will assume his new position effective today, March 1, following the retirement of Mary Lou Jennings who established the Foundation with the late Sr. Thea Bowman 32 years ago. Read More
Friends who are not Black Catholics have asked me if they’re eligible to join the Knights of Peter Claver. My enthusiastic answer is: ¡Si se puede! You can even do it now, online. For those interested or who have never heard of the organization, I am honored to have the opportunity to share my knowledge, perspective, and experience with the Knights at the invitation of Where Peter Is. While I am actively involved in recruiting for my local community, I do not hold an official position with the Knights and my endorsement here is solely my own. Founded nearly 112 years ago, the Knights of Peter Claver is a wonderful community rooted in Black Catholic life and experience. We respond in a unique way to the desire of Black Catholics to participate in our Church as “fully functioning” members—to borrow a line from Sister Thea Bowman. This means that for those seeking to work for social justice in the Church, the Knights provide a platform, program, and opportunity for action to do s Read More
Catholics advocating in the public square tend to use the phrase “counter-cultural” to describe their way of life. Now I understand the point being made. There is a “culture of death,” and we oppose it. But I think that the “counter” terminology is not helpful. After all, Christianity is not defined as being against X, but by being for Christ. As Pope Benedict XVI explained, faith is saying yes to God: “Faith, then, is an assent with which our mind and our heart say their ‘yes’ to God, confessing that Jesus is Lord.” Of course, saying yes to Christ necessitates saying no to certain behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs—but it is a positive reality. By focusing on the “counter” aspect of the Christian life, we are in danger of losing a key point—we are building and preserving a culture. We are not against a culture, but are living and developing a beautiful culture in relationship with Christ by saying “yes” to him. As Pope Benedict XVI argues, “This ‘yes’ transforms life, unfolds the path toward fullness of meaning, thereby making it new, rich in joy and trustworthy hope.” Read More
“Science has made my faith stronger,” she said. “The DNA structure is amazing. It is beautiful and is evidence of what God can do and has done. Look around you, it is just wonderful!” Women from her generation are underrepresented in the field of science. Jewell would like to see more African American females enter the field of science. She speaks at schools and brings her sea creatures to show the students hoping to spark an interest within them. “My faith has been an important part of how I persisted and persevered. I can’t imagine how I could have done it without my faith,” she said. Jewell still comes home often to be with family and together they attend Mass at St. Augustine Church in South Memphis." Read More
Black Catholic nuns have made manifold contributions to the Church in the United States, and theirs is a story that needs to be told, one historian says. Generations of black Catholic women “fought against racism in order to answer God’s call in their lives.” said Dr. Shannen Dee Williams of Villanova University, at a virtual Wednesday event hosted by the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Read More
Bishop Edward K. Braxton, bishop emeritus of Belleville, Illinois, says that today’s society uses the word racism too freely. It is used to refer to anything from inadvertent racial biases to the physical lynching of human beings, and its widespread and frequent use in the media, by religious communities, and by individuals means that it has lost preciseness and power. Instead, Braxton says, it’s more accurate to talk about the racial divide: a broader expression of oppression that encompasses everything from overt racism to racial biases and prejudices. Read More
As the Church begins the holy season of Lent, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for Ash Wednesday, with the blessing and imposition of ashes. In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on Lent as a journey of return to God and as an opportunity to deepen our love of our brothers and sisters. God, said the Pope, is appealing to our hearts and our entire being, inviting us to Him. Read More