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Fr. Alonzo Cox and Deacon Rachid Murad are newly initiated members of the recently re-established St. Martin de Porres, Council 229. "Two miracles are required in order to be declared a saint. But instead of focusing on miracles, Ralph Moore said the church should recognize the hardships African American Catholics have endured over the years—being expected to sit in the back of the church or receiving Communion only after white Catholics had done so. “African Americans and brown people, particularly in this country, have endured enslavement, have endured segregation even within churches, have endured mass incarceration and mass poverty, and yet we have remained faithful,” Ralph Moore said. “Martin Luther King used to say that unearned suffering is redemptive, and we think we’ve had unearned suffering in this country, in this church, and that should be enough,” he added." Read More
"in the face of Jesus who makes himself our neighbour, let us also learn to make ourselves "next"; next to others: to family members, friends, peers, those in need". - Pope Francis Read More
LIMURU, KENYA — Along a busy junction in this cold central Kenyan town, a tiny blue metallic booth struggles to stand out, obscured by shops and passenger service vehicles. Inside is 26-year-old Mary Wanjiku, a graduate of Limuru Cheshire Home. She proudly displays her collection of beaded napkin holders, bracelets and necklaces that she sells to passersby and the community. "Disability is not inability," Wanjiku says, gesturing to her shop christened Beads and Arts Center. Her self-empowerment journey began six years ago when a group of good Samaritans rescued her from the streets of her hometown in Kabuku, a village in central Kenya, and sought her admission at the Limuru Cheshire Home, a charitable center for girls living with physical and intellectual disabilities. The center that is managed by the nuns from the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi was started almost 50 years ago by a World War II veteran, Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire. The center is among the four facilities under the Cheshire Disability Services Kenya, a nongovernmental organization in Kenya that "focuses on the rehabilitation of children and youths with disabilities through corrective surgeries, different kinds of therapies and provision of various assistive devices," according to the institution's mission statement. Read More
Raphael Civil, a third-year student at St. John’s University, wasn’t aware of Black Catholic History Month until very recently but he became a quick study. After reading up on the subject, Civil stepped up to help school administrators organize the campus celebration. “I personally didn’t realize that it was a big thing before I was told about it,” he said. “But now I see how important it is and why we should celebrate it. Blacks have had an impact on the church. I think it’s important just to bring that awareness to people.” Black Catholic History Month, celebrated nationwide every November, was initiated by the National Back Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States in 1990. Read More
In 1956, 17-year-old Sr. Cora Marie Billings of Philadelphia entered the Sisters of Mercy in Merion, Pennsylvania, becoming the first Black member of the Philadelphia community. Catholicism has always been a part of Billings' life, coming from a devout Black Catholic family who fought against racial barriers to fully participate in the Roman Catholic faith and tradition. Her great-grandfather was enslaved by the Jesuits at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Read More
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The racial divide in American society and within the Catholic Church is one that needs to be bridged so that healing and progress can take place, said retired Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Illinois. “My hope is to move some people to make realistic efforts to bridge the racial divide. This can only come about by deep interior conversion of hearts and minds,” Bishop Braxton said Oct. 8. He made the comments in an address, “The Catholic Church and the Racial Divide in the United States,” for Department of Africana Studies’ Colloquy on Black Church Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. “This is a high and distant goal,” he added. His address came during the 31st annual meeting of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium Oct. 7-9 at the university. Bishop Braxton said he prefers to use the term “racial divide” as a broad description, from which he singled out racism as “the most damning and most egregious example.” The racial divide, he said, began with slavery “to provide free laborers … by working as beasts of burden” on plantations. The divide, Bishop Braxton added, includes time in U.S. history spanned by the Civil War, “the Lost Cause era” and the Dred Scott decision. Read More
The title “Servant of God” is given by the church to a sainthood candidate when his or her cause is officially opened. The first step in the process after that is the declaration of a person’s heroic virtues, after which the church bestows the title “Venerable.” The second step is beatification, after which he or she is called “Blessed.” The third step is canonization. In general, for beatification one miracle needs to be accepted by the church as having occurred through the intercession of the prospective saint and a second such verified miracle is needed for canonization. Following the procession, Auxiliary Bishop Bruce A. Lewandowski of Baltimore, the archdiocese’s urban vicar, celebrated a Mass for the feast of All Saints. Nearly 200 people were present. The Mass was organized by a national campaign made up of members of three Baltimore parishes, St. Ann, St. Francis Xavier and St. Wenceslaus, as well as longtime members of St. Ann’s social justice committee. The purpose was to create awareness and educate the American people about the stories of these six candidates for sainthood. Members of the campaign are collecting signatures in a letter to Pope Francis asking him to expedite their canonization. Read More
Face to face at the Vatican, President Joe Biden held extended and highly personal talks with Pope Francis on Friday and came away saying the pontiff told him he was a “good Catholic” and should keep receiving Communion, although conservatives have called for him to be denied the sacrament because of his support for abortion rights. Read More