| Parishes offer activities
for Black History Month
Two Oakland parishes, St. Columba and St. Benedict, will observe Black History Month with a variety of activities.
"Here I am, Lord," is the theme for the Annual African American Celebration Series — now in its 33rd year — at St. Columba Church in Oakland, Jan. 19 to Feb. 15. The series will include several guest homilists and speakers from around the country.
The series began Jan. 18 with Etchi Juliette Besem Oben, a preacher and theologian from Cameroon and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The series continues Jan. 25 with Father Gregory Chisholm, SJ, pastor at the Church of St. Charles Borromeo and Resurrection, Chapel, Harlem, New York. There will also be a presentation of St. Columba Church's Ugima and Sister Thea Bowman Community Service Awards; on Jan. 31 the St. Columba Gala Dinner and Silent Auction at the Fratellanza Club, to support the African American Series; Feb. 1: National Day of Prayer for African American Families — focus on youth, Therese Wilson Favors, author, editor and teacher at the Institute of Black Catholic Studies, Xavier University, Louisiana; Feb. 8: Father Chester Smith, SVD, Bowman-Francis Ministry Project; Feb. 15: Deacon Douglass Johnson Sr., permanent deacon, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, author.
The Mass Gospel Workshop Choir, now under the leadership of M. Roger Holland, will take place Feb. 11 to 15. Formerly conducted by Rawn Harbor, the Mass Gospel Choir will sing at the 10:30 a.m. Mass, the final day of the series, Feb. 15.
Singers and gospel music lovers are invited to join the Worship Choir. For more information contact St. Columba Church, www.stcolumba-oak.org or call Carla Dillard Smith, 510-352-2827. Alice McGaugh is the choir contact, 510-547-3467. St. Columba Church is at 6401 San Pablo Ave., Oakland.
St. Benedict Church will host its Black History Month program on Sundays during the month of February. The main theme of the program is "Reclaiming the Mission of Christ as the Black Community," and is about Christ and the issues of justice currently facing African Americans. Each week will focus on a sub-theme: Feb. 1: "See You See Me," Feb. 8: "What is Peace?"; Feb. 15: "What Would Christ Say — catechesizing cultural awareness," and on Feb. 22: "Black is Beautiful."
There will be an opportunity to meet and talk to a police officer during a forum. Other issues include distrust and fear of the police in the African American community and how to motivate black youth in positive ways during these troubling times.
For more information contact the parish office at 510-632-1847. St. Benedict Church is at 2245-82nd Ave., Oakland.
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