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Catholic Voice
CURRENT ISSUE:  January 23, 2012
VOL. 50, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Eminent thought leaders consider professions in light of Vatican II
Exhibit recounts the role of women religious
St. Benedict’s lends a ‘helping hand’ to orphans
Parishes plan events
for Black History Month

Although no diocesanwide commemoration is planned, many African-American Catholics in the Oakland diocese are taking the time to remember and celebrate the contributions that black Americans and people of African descent have made in U.S. history and culture.

“Glory, Honor and Praise: What We Inherited,” is the theme of this year’s Black History Month celebration at St. Benedict Parish in Oakland. The parish will host a two-day program on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 11 at 11 a.m.

Participants will focus on what it was like for their ancestors when they called on God for strength. Questions such as “Is this spiritual tradition still being passed down to our children?” “Should it be?” and what is it like for Black people today when they “call on God for strength?” will be examined and discussed.

Participants will consist predominately of youth and young adults being assisted and directed by seasoned mentors. The gathering will give youth and adults the opportunity to experience and demonstrate their ancestor’s way of glorifying, honoring, and praising God.

The parish’s own Julie Hadnot and Dionne Cola are guest speakers. The program also includes praise dancers prepared by Ariana Catherine, youth minister at St. Benedict, and guest praise dancers from Carla Service Dance-A-Vision will perform.

Music, chosen by choir director Leonard Pete, will reflect the rich history of Gospel music, with selections of music that inspires, uplifts and motivates. Invited youth and young adults will speak, perform spoken word, sing or a combination of either that reflects the “Glory, Honor and Praise” theme.

Meanwhile St. Columba Parish in the northern part of the city will host its annual African American Celebrations with the theme, “Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ for My Journey Now.” The celebration, now in its 30th year, began on Jan. 15 with reflections from “guest preacher” Social Service Sister Eva Marie Lumas. The program will continue with guest speakers and other events each Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. Mass to Feb. 19. All are invited to “come and be blessed.” For updated information contact the parish at 510-654-7600 or visit www.stcolumba-oak.com.

Black History Month can be traced back to 1915 when Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian, and Jesse Moorland, a prominent preacher, founded an organization called the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History that searched for and shone a light on the achievements of black Americans and people of African descent. In 1926, the organization sponsored a national Negro History week and chose the second week of February for the commemoration because the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass occurred during that week. In the decades that followed, word about the Negro History Week and the inspiration and pride it fostered spread to cities across the country. By the 1960s the commemoration of Negro History Week evolved into Black History Month.

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