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As Adrienne Curry prepares to take on a new role as director of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Office of Black Catholic Ministries, she hopes to apply her extensive background in the social justice movement and her pastoral experience to support the Black Catholic community in Maryland. “The bishops said that racism is a sin and it’s an affront to the dignity of the human person,” said Curry, a Chicago native who most recently served as the social action director for the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, “but, as they say, Catholic social teaching is our best-kept secret. So part of my job will be to educate people on the principles of Catholic social teaching and apply it to everyday life. So, definitely, eradicating racism is part of that.” Read More
“Lift Every Voice and Sing, ” the hymn referred to as the Black National Anthem, was the rousing gathering song for the inaugural Juneteenth Mass for The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington on June 19. Its lyrics celebrating liberty, hope and faith after a dark, bloody past gave an apt framing for the Mass at St. Joseph Church in Largo, Maryland. The mostly full church, with a predominantly Black congregation, was a joyful community, with many worshippers wearing colorful outfits, with some whole families in bright, matching fabrics. Read More
In 2016, Bishop Edward K. Braxton, now the retired bishop of Belleville, Illinois, wrote a pastoral letter “The Catholic Church and the Black Lives Matter Movement: The Racial Divide in the United States Revisited,” where he acknowledges the conflict between the church and the Black Lives Matter movement in terms of church teaching on abortion, sexuality, gender identity and more. He stressed in an interview with Catholic News Service that the Second Vatican Council urges dialogue with people and organizations of divergent views. When it comes to Catholic engagement with Black Lives Matter, there’s a consensus among some leaders that distinguishing between the broader movement and problematic organizations that bear the name is a key place to start. Read More
When Joseph Geeter, St. Barbara Council #326, retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and moved to suburban Philadelphia 20 years ago, he attended Mass at a few different Catholic churches with predominately white congregations near his new home and was met with an unwelcoming reception. Read More
Jon Batiste came out on top at the 64th Grammy Awards on Sunday night, taking home five trophies—the most by any artist this year—including the most prestigious, Album of the Year, for his groundbreaking “WE ARE” release. Batiste’s own roots were also on display throughout awards season, as he is a proud New Orleans native and graduate of the Josephites’ St Augustine High, a Black Catholic school whose headline-making marching band was featured on the “WE ARE” album’s title track. Batiste’s religious upbringing is no mystery, with Christian themes sprinkled throughout his music over his 24-year career. He was raised Catholic in one of New Orleans’ most historic jazz families—some of whom were involved with “WE ARE”. They were thanked, alongside God, during his AOTY acceptance speech. Read More
In a new study looking at the spirituality of young Catholics ages 13-25, Springtide Research Institute found that 39% of young Black Catholics say they’re “flourishing a lot” in their faith lives, compared to just 21% of young white Catholics. In fact, young Black Catholics say they’re flourishing in every area of their lives (e.g. mental health, friendships, home, finances) more than their Catholic peers of other racial groups. The study also found young Black Catholics are more traditionally religious than their Catholic peers of other racial groups. They’re more likely to trust organized religion, attend religious services and youth groups, pray daily and study Scripture, consider themselves to be a religious or spiritual person, and carry their spiritual beliefs into their daily lives. Furthermore, young Black Catholics are far more likely than young white or Hispanic Catholics to seek help from their faith community when they are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do about something — and less likely to turn to friends or family. Read More