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“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
Dionne Mitchell was born and raised Catholic, attending St. Augustine Church in North Little Rock, one of three historically Black Catholic churches in Arkansas. As a 29-year-old, she has her pick of churches in Central Arkansas, but has always sought out a predominantly Black congregation. “I wanted to be around people that look like me,” she said. “... I didn’t feel excluded (in other parishes). I just always thought it was weird seeing white Jesus in a church.” Read More
As a child I stood, hand on heart, pledging allegiance to the flag and singing about “bombs bursting in air.” I can never remember which lines come first in our national anthem: “gallantly streaming” or “twilight’s last gleaming”? While these patriotic customs may be more contentious these days I find them valuable, especially now as an adult. I worry about losing the rituals of belonging and becoming that shape our vastly varying identities and draw us together. Read More
In his final sermon at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Fr. Tony Anike stood on a fraying patch of carpet and preached an apocalyptic message to the parishioners scattered between the sanctuary’s crumbling walls. “We don’t know what the future holds at Corpus Christi,” he began from his pulpit on Chicago’s South Side. His departure was a matter of routine reassignment, but bleaker changes, he predicted, seemed inevitable soon. “Prepare yourselves, my friends,” he went on. “Because the next year will be interesting in this place.” Though he didn’t admit it outright, the pastor’s warning essentially was that closure could be coming—and he’s not alone in sounding that alarm. Four predominantly Black Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago have shuttered in the past two years, a number that the pandemic seems poised to expand. Read More
Despite the presence of Black Catholics in the United States since the late 17th century, none of the 11 saints associated with the United States are of African descent. An initiative by the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans, the nation’s first historically Black Catholic college, intends to change that. “The canonization of African Americans,” Reynold Verrett, president of Xavier University, told HuffPost, “is a profound and a precious affirmation of God’s love for all mankind and significantly would affirm God’s Black creation.” Here are six possible candidates for sainthood. Read More