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JAMAICA ESTATES — Heritage and faith were celebrated in unison on Sunday, Feb. 25, as the Diocese of Brooklyn recognized its diversity during the Mass of Thanksgiving for Black History Month. Energized Catholics of all cultures filled the pews of Immaculate Conception Church for the service, organized by the Vicariate Office of Black Catholic Concerns. “I’m always here for a good Mass, for good music, for a good homily, and I like to sing, so it was awesome,” said Trinidadian native Gail Edwards. With the diversity of the diocese, Bishop Brennan recognizes it is “not all that easy” for all people to feel heard and recognized, but that listening to those of all races is crucial to the Church. As the people of Brooklyn and Queens reflect on the past during Black History Month, he reminds them that “we also are writing the history now.” Read More
Over its nearly 100-year history, Xavier University of Louisiana has long ranked as one of the top universities in the nation for graduating pharmacists, doctors, federal judges, lawyers, university professors, and even United States Congress members. One of the university’s most well-known leaders responsible for paving the way for those graduates and being a pioneer in higher education – Dr. Norman C. Francis – was honored this past Saturday with the unveiling of his statue, recognizing a half century of his leadership as XULA President from 1968-2015. The unveiling ceremony took place Feb. 24 in Xavier’s Convocation Center. Read More
The Knights of Peter Claver is the oldest Black Catholic lay-led organization still in existence. This Black History Month, Charlie Camosy spoke with Gregory Herr, who helped establish the first Knights of Peter Claver Council in Orange County, Calif., in 2022, domiciled at Christ Cathedral. Herr spoke about the history behind the group, why Catholics from all backgrounds should consider joining and the issues it addresses, including infrastructural racism Read More
ATLANTA—Leighton Batiste, when a student at Morehouse College, faced skepticism and disapproval from classmates when he mentioned he was Catholic. Being Black and Catholic was considered suspect by his classmates. Undeterred, Batiste is exploring his religious heritage as a leader with the Knights of St. Peter Claver, an African American fraternal organization that has been around for more than a century. His newfound knowledge that his grandfather was a knight in Louisiana increased its appeal. “So, what drew me was that I always wanted to figure out, where do we fit in this universal church?” asked Batiste, sipping a cup of espresso at a West End coffee shop. Instead of giving in to the prejudice faced in the classroom, Batiste leads the effort so others can see their place in it. “When I heard of the Knights, it kind of created an extra layer of commitment to the church and to my faith,” he said. The Lyke House is home to a new Knights of St. Peter Claver council. In the fall, it inaugurated its leaders from men and women attending the four historically Black colleges and universities in the Atlanta University Center, as well as Georgia State University. Read More
Washington, D.C.—Ansel Joseph Augustine, D.Min., has been appointed Assistant Director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In this capacity, Dr. Augustine will staff the Bishops’ Subcommittee on African American Affairs, and assist the Secretariat’s efforts to promote intercultural competence in ministry and the pastoral care of many diverse Catholic communities. He will join the Bishop’s Conference starting April 2, 2024. Up until now, Dr. Augustine has been the Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, where previously he served also as the Associate Director/Coordinator of Black Youth & Young Adult Ministry for the CYO Youth & Young Adult Ministry Office. He also is the former Executive Director of Cultural Diversity and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Washington. Read More
Jeremy Alexander, an iconographer and second-year theology teacher at Detroit Cristo Rey High School, completed a mural featuring 37 saints, sainthood candidates and role models in the southwest Detroit school's small chapel in October. The mural, which received input from students and teachers, is meant to inspire members of the school community with a diverse representation of figures that reflects the school's own makeup and values. (Photos by Steven Stechschulte | Special to Detroit Catholic) Read More
When Fr. Andrew McNair first visited Phoenix 16 years ago to preach the homily at the Diocese of Phoenix’s Martin Luther King Mass, he didn’t know that he would one day call the city his home. When visiting the church building that was then called St. Pius X, he told his host — then director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry Kit Marshall — that as a courtesy he’d like to introduce himself to the pastor. “We don’t have a pastor,” Marshall told Fr. McNair, explaining that his role was to find a priest to celebrate Mass for the community once a month, to which the priest responded, “Well, I hope you have a pastor one day.” That “one day” came Dec. 31, 2023, when Bishop John P. Dolan canonically installed, Fr. McNair as the pastor of the now renamed St. Josephine Bakhita Mission Parish located near downtown Phoenix at 809 S. Seventh Ave. “I had no idea what God was thinking,” recalled Fr. McNair in his homily that day. “My brothers and sisters, today, God has answered our prayers.” Read More
From BlackCatholicMessenger.com: Dr. Valerie Lewis-Mosley and Nate Tinner-Williams discuss with Manns the historic meeting in Rome that left her energized about synodality and the future of the Church. Read More