Bishop Burbidge Celebrates Mass to Mark Black Catholic History Month
November is Black Catholic History Month in the United States, a celebration that began in 1990 to recognize the achievements and customs of Black Catholics born in the United States and immigrants coming to the U.S. from African nations. The Diocese of Raleigh marks the occasion with a Day of Reflection and Renewal, sponsored by the Diocesan Office of African Ancestry Ministry and Evangelization (AAMEN).
This year, the day-long event was held at Saint Michael the Archangel Church in Cary, home of the largest AAMEN chapter in the Diocese. The day featured prayer and sessions for adults, teens and youth. It ended with Mass celebrated by Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge. In his homily, Bishop Burbidge spoke of the poor widow in the Gospel and how Jesus cited her as an example of how precious everyone is in the sight of God. Noting the unjust treatment of African Americans and Africans in U.S. history, the Bishop said, “There have always been in our Church and our community heroic men and women who courageously stood up for and defended the dignity of each and every human person,” adding “such courageous witness is still required in our day and age....”
Bishop Burbidge noted that the charity displayed by the widow is similar to the charity modeled by Saint Martin de Porres, whose feast day, the Church celebrates on November 3. In closing the Bishop said, “We pray also for ourselves that with God’s grace we will treat all persons with reverence and respect...and that like Saint Martin we will be known for our charity recognizing that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do for the Lord our God....”
Above: Members of the Knights of Peter Claver and the Ladies Auxiliary, who took part in the Day of Reflection and Renewal and Mass commemorating Black Catholic History Month.
Below: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrating Mass, with Father Roger Malonda, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Parochial Vicar at Saint Mary, Mother of the Church in Garner, and Msgr. Tim O’Connor, Pastor of Saint Michael Church in Cary.