Africentric

This column features a collection of essays and stories on topics such as Black Catholic history, parish ministry and evangelization, as well as cutting edge issues that impact black life. It has been published for more than a decade in The Catholic Review and is overseen by the Archdiocese of Baltimore's Office of African American Catholic Ministries. The column has many writers that include clergy, religious and lay leaders of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Commentary

A revolution is warranted
Jun 06 2013
It’s a revolutionary thing to go against the grain of a “that’s-the-way-it-is” attitude. When it comes to combating violence and raising awareness of the affects and effects of abortion on our people, a revolution is warranted.

February a month of celebration
Jan 25 2013
February, which is Black History Month, ushers in a host of celebrations within the African American Catholic community.

National Day of Prayer lifts family
Jan 12 2013
One of the most awesome and overwhelming actions of God is the miracle of you. The creation of you was not by happenstance, nor an aimless action. You are the result of God speaking in this world. You came into the world, at just the right time for just the right purpose.

Seeking higher ground
Dec 28 2012
There comes a time in everyone’s life when one faces the sure reality that the situation at hand demands more than what we have. Can we agree, as a church, that today young people travel through an hour of time unlike any other era in human history?

Saints, slaves and freemen in European art
Dec 13 2012
A small, diverse group of Marylanders, invited by Councilman William “Pete” Welch, gathered for a networking reception and sashayed through the halls of the Walters Art Museum Nov. 30. The group included Bishop Denis J. Madden, Father Donald A. Sterling, pastor of New All Saints in Liberty Heights, and yours truly.

The times call for ‘Stepping Out’
Nov 29 2012
A National Black Catholic Men’s Conference was held recently at the Laurel Holiday Inn. I am known as one who does not attend such conferences but something drew me to this one and I am glad that I attended. I am also glad and proud to be a “Black Catholic man.” Can you as a black Catholic man say the same or are you, too, hiding out instead of “Stepping Out.” Where are you my brother?

Honoring St. Edward trailblazers
Nov 15 2012
Muriel Rice talks about the trailblazers at St. Edward's Church in West Baltimore.

Black Catholic History Month in this Year of Faith
Nov 01 2012
The inauguration of this “Year of Faith” surfaced within me some old memories of the blessings given to the people of God during the proceedings of Vatican II 50 years ago. I was young and, believe it or not, still hold some vivid memories of this great moment in church history.

Keeping watch
Oct 18 2012
For more than 180 years, Mother Mary Lange and the Oblate Sisters of Providence have kept watch over the souls who have come their way.

Southern Maryland pilgrimage inspires
Oct 04 2012
The Holy Father has proclaimed that “The Year of Faith” will begin this month. Pope Benedict XVI states, “This will be a good opportunity to usher the whole church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of faith.”

Walking in the light of God
Sep 21 2012
I had the privilege of attending the African Eucharistic Congress last month in Bethesda, representing St. Bernardine Parish and the archdiocesan Office of African American Catholic Ministries. The first day marked the 18th Conference of African Clergy and Religious who live and minister in the United States, a day of unity and support.

Keep on Teaching, transformed
Sep 06 2012
Ready yourself for some groundbreaking news about the 2012 “Keep on Teaching” Forum Sept. 8. In its 22nd year of existence, this forum will undergo a metamorphosis.

Remember past, look to future, live in present
Aug 23 2012
As I travel through this busy world with its many ups and downs, like many others I get so caught up in things of the world that I sometimes forget to take time out for myself.

What Congress XI meant to me
Aug 09 2012
Kyle Taylor talks about his experience seeing thousands of black Catholics come together for National Black Catholic Congress XI in Indianapolis.

Walking tall To Congress XI
Jul 12 2012
See which young adults will represent Baltimore at the 11th National Black Catholic Congress July 19-21.

Father Sylvester Peterka is sent forth
Jun 28 2012
The parishes of Immaculate Conception and St. Cecilia in Baltimore will soon say goodbye to their longtime pastor, leader, spiritual advisor and friend, Vincentian Father Sylvester Peterka.

Stop the violence, right now!
Jun 14 2012
Here it goes again. I hear sadness encircling me with the piercing sobbing of mothers and fathers, crying over the loss of a child.

Africentric: Power of a Catholic education
May 31 2012
Something miraculous happens when children come to learn and pray in our Catholic schools.

Hope soars with installation
May 18 2012
This Africentric column welcomes the new archbishop to an archdiocese filled with a rich black Catholic history.

Follow Daniel Rudd’s lead
May 03 2012
The date was Jan. 4, 1889, the occasion the last day of the of what was the first Black Catholic Lay Congress.

Soul-wrenching prayer provokes soul-filled action
Apr 19 2012
Recently, I walked on a Peace and Prayer Pilgrimage with Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, Spiritan Father Evod Shao and the good and holy people from St. Edward Catholic Church. Nestled behind the sacred edifice of St. Edward’s on Poplar Grove Street was a cacophony of dilapidated and run-down homes that stretched from block to block, and from side to side of the street.

Africentric: St. Frances honoring Bill and Camille Cosby
Mar 30 2012
On April 20, St. Frances Academy will name its community center in honor of Dr. Camille Cosby and Dr. Bill Cosby.

Almsgiving: an opportunity to serve
Mar 22 2012
Here we go again putting God in a box or a bottle.

AFRICENTRIC: Lessons from Simon of Cyrene
Mar 08 2012
Dr. Maurice C. Taylor, of Morgan State University, talks about Simon and carrying the cross of others.

Mother Lange Banquet brings good news
Feb 23 2012
WBAL's Sheldon F. Dutes serves as master of ceremonies for the 15th Mother Mary Lange Awards Banquet.

More matters that matter; ready for Operation Faith Lift?
Feb 09 2012
St. Ambrose "angels" are just one example of how black Catholics take evangelization to heart.

AFRICENTRIC | Matters that matter
Jan 24 2012
As we walk into this new year, new challenges await us. Sometimes when faced with looming challenges, the bountiful blessings given by God often seem to vanish or grow small in our psyché. I would like to share some thoughts on both the challenges and the blessings as “matters that matter.”

As we are now – Reflections of an aging religious
Dec 01 2011
The first week in December is designated as a collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious. Religious vocations have declined in the past few decades, and many who have taught or cared for orphans or worked in hospitals can no longer do so. The collection is also a way of giving back to those who served us for so many years. They were of the Martha’s of past generations.

An amazing grace
Nov 17 2011
Agnes Kane Callum, my mother, is a wonder to behold. Historian, genealogist and researcher, she was born in Baltimore, the fifth child among 12. Her parents were the late Phillip Moten and Mary Kane (nee Gough) of St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland. She was educated in Baltimore public schools, and at age 44 she returned to school and earned her bachelor of arts and master’s degrees from Morgan State University in 1973 and 1975, respectively, while maintaining her full-time job with the United States Postal Service. In 1973, she was designated a Fulbright-Hayes Scholar, which led her to study at the University of Ghana at Legon, Accra. In 2008 she received an honorary doctorate degree in history from St. Mary’s College.

So Proudly Do We Hail … !
Nov 03 2011
November is designated as Black Catholic History Month. As such, it is good for us to recall some of the outstanding deeds done by black Catholics in the past. Some of the names may be familiar from past articles in The Catholic Review, but recalling them is good for the mind, soul and for keeping our history alive.

November Celebrates Black Catholic History
Oct 20 2011
In the world today, there are more than 200 million people of African descent in the Roman Catholic Church. The fastest growing population comes out of the continent of Africa. The second-largest population of Roman Catholic African descendants are in Brazil. In the United States as we enter into this present holy time, we are 3 million strong, with 250 African-American priests, 75 men of African ancestry in the seminary, 450 Deacons, 400 African-American religious women, 50 religious brothers and 798 predominantly African-American parishes. This gives reason for celebration, rejoicing and increased efforts of evangelization.

‘Keep On Teaching’
Aug 18 2011
“Keep on Teaching,” a catechetical ministry established 21 years ago in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, engages catechists who serve in the African-American Catholic community. Its emphasis is to inspire and encourage catechists to factor culture – both black and Catholic – and its deep roots into their catechetical planning and implementation.

‘St. Joseph Altars’ resonate for New Orleans native
Aug 04 2011
According to the dictionary, altars are sacred places. Growing up in New Orleans, altars had a very special place in our young lives. A New Orleans tradition is the erection of the “St. Joseph Altar.” Of course, this altar honors the foster father of Jesus and is a celebration on March 19, his feast. I don’t know how it started, but what I do know is that as long as I can remember, my mother or aunt took the children to visit the St. Joseph altars. These altars were in the homes of various people throughout the city.

When faith, unity prevail
Jul 21 2011
In 1889 Daniel Rudd and delegates of the very first Black Catholic Congress raised concern regarding the need for Catholic education of black youths. Delegates made a motion on the floor to facilitate action to achieve this goal. Today, the sons and daughters of the National Black Catholic Congress movement active in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, through the Office and Board of African American Catholic Ministries, picked up this cause by establishing a Daniel Rudd Scholarship Fund.

Civil War chaplain
Jul 07 2011
The April 14 Catholic Review included an article on Catholic chaplains in the Civil War. It quoted General Benjamin Butler as saying, “I have never seen a Catholic chaplain who has not done his duty.” Several were mentioned. Another priest who served in the Civil War was Redemptorist Father Aegidius Smulders, who ministered right here in Baltimore City and had a special significance to the black Catholic community.

Here we go again
Jun 30 2011
If you pay attention to the scriptural readings from Eastertime to Pentecost and now through Ordinary time, one thing becomes clear – disciples of Jesus must do something to advance the mission of Christ.

So scared, but we can’t stand still
May 19 2011
I’m so scared! I’m so scared when I look at the news and see the faces of those broken down in grief caused by the hand of violence. That was someone’s child, someone’s spouse, someone’s loved one, gunned down – senseless suffering. I’m so scared when the news reports more deaths today than there were yesterday. Someone abducted that young girl, someone drove herself and her children into the river, someone killed that nursing student over a computer game, someone didn’t get paid his or her drug money, so murder, stabbing, shooting and bullying takes the place of concern, compassion and guidance.

Lent: A time for pilgrimage
Mar 03 2011
The world is changing and moving in directions never before seen. We see the world turning and moving forward. Look at what has happened in Egypt and Libya. Many say that it is a political revolution at hand while others may conclude that perhaps a spiritual stirring has visited the people and they have been touched by hope.

Join a season of action, hope and representation
Feb 03 2011
Do you feel you are adequately represented by your Congressperson?

Harambee presses on for 25 years
Nov 25 2009
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once gave an important insight in regard to achievement. “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

Take a look at history while walking forward
Feb 03 2009
On Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. He is the first African-American to earn the highest honor in the United States of America. On Jan. 4, 1899, 120 years ago, black Catholic men from all over the nation convened on Washington, D.C., for a four-day Black Catholic Lay Congress. This was the first Catholic Congress ever held by black Catholic men. It took place at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.

Part two: Black Catholicism has roots in St. Mary’s County
Nov 13 2008
St. Clement in St. Mary’s County holds a unique position in the history of the Catholic religion and the origin of black Catholicism. When the colonists arrived in 1634, St. Clement was known as Heron Island. The newcomers gave it the name of St. Clement. They also gave Point Lookout the name of St. Michael and the Potomac River was known as St. Gregory. The island consisted of about 400 acres of land. After a few weeks on St. Clement, the colonists moved to St. Mary’s City. Father Andrew White, a Jesuit priest, kept a diary of the events that occurred on board the Ark and the Dove. He went about the area evangelizing the Indians and purchasing land from the Indians for the Jesuits. He purchased the land with trinkets, such as looking glasses, beads and other baubles. He also acquired a few slaves.

St. Mary’s County a fertile ground for black Catholics
Nov 06 2008
November is Black Catholic History Month within the United States. In celebration of this month, I offer this story about St. Mary’s County, a fertile ground of faith among African-American Catholics.

Reflections on youth programs
Jul 17 2008
In the forward to “What We Have Seen and Heard: Essays and Stories from Black Catholics in Baltimore,” Cardinal William Keeler opened with a quote from the Acts of the Apostles 4:20, which read, “Peter and John said, ‘It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.’ ”