Happy Black Catholic History Month! Celebration Plans!
Happy Black Catholic History Month and Happy feast day of St. Martin de Porres!
It’s that great time of year again. It’s November, which means its Black Catholic History Month! It’s the month when the Church in the US celebrates African American Catholicism and its history.
It’s the 29th occurrence of Black Catholic History Month since it began in 1990. Here’s a brief history of how this celebration got started from the Office of Multicultural Ministry of the Diocese of St. Petersburg:
“The National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus (NBCCC) of the United States voted on Tuesday, July 24, 1990 while meeting in convention at Fordham University in New York, to establish November as BLACK CATHOLIC HISTORY MONTH. The reason behind the selection of the month of November was the number of important dates to Catholics of African descent that fell within this month.”
Those dates were:
“Nov. 1 All Saints Day: an opportunity to review the lives of the hundreds of Saints of African descent in the first 300 years of the Church.
Nov. 2 All Souls Day: a time to remember all those African lost to cruel treatment in the Middle Passage crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
Nov. 3 Martin de Porres became the first black American saint. He was canonized by Pope John XXIII on May 16, 1962. Throughout his life, St. Martin de Porres exemplified God’s love for all people, regardless of their level in society.
Nov. 13 The birth of St. Augustine in 354 A.D., the first Doctor of the Church from North Africa.
Nov. 20 The death of Zumbi of Palmares in Brazil, South American founder of a free state for Blacks.”
It went on to state that various cities began the very first celebration of Black Catholic History Month in November 1990 on this very day – the feast day of St. Martin de Porres.
Therefore, I mark this month every year (along with Black History Month in February) as a time for my apostolate to do a little celebration. I do this for two reasons: 1 – it’s “right and just” to do this as a Black Catholic apostolate and 2 – more importantly, to raise awareness of Black Catholic history especially to other African Americans (Catholic and non-Catholic) to let them know we got TWO months to celebrate Black history! Not 28 but 58 days! But of course in reality we got all 365 if you wanna get real, though. And can’t forget about Juneteenth.
The way I celebrate is by tailoring a lot of special content to Black Catholic history. I already have a special category of posts for this called “Special Series: Black History Month (Feb)/Black Catholic Month (Nov),” which also links to content geared towards Black History Month as well that I have posted before. As you can see from the link the website has only seen a celebration of Black History Month. I did celebrate Black Catholic History Month last year, but it was before I officially launched the website so it was done on my social media extensions of Facebook and Twitter. This year is the first celebration of it through my website, and I will carry the celebration through my extensions as well. Below is a picture going up on all my outlets displaying how I will celebrate:
On every Sunday of this month I post about one the Church’s Black/African saints/holy ones through my Black (And Catholic) Like Me article-series. A brief synopsis: I will feature a Black Catholic saint from history (or soon to be one) and tell a little about him/her and what I believe we can all learn from this godly one about holiness. I’m Black and I’m Catholic, and here are some great Catholic examples who were Black as well. Additionally, while canonized people and those on the way to being canonized will be the main focus. More info on this and my other articles-series can be found here.
Then there will be two new things I’m introducing to the website this month for the celebration.
Every Monday this month will feature a new article-series called “Let ’em Speak On It: Notable Quotes From Black Catholics.” I will post a quote said either by or in relation to Black/African Catholics, and on some of them I will offer a brief thought. The quote itself maybe be from a historical figure/document or a current one. This new series will continue on Mondays maybe at least every other Monday here and there after this month. However, it could be every Monday if I can always find quotes, but I still have to see and think about this.
On Thursdays this month I will feature interviews with Black Catholics to showcase how Black Catholic history is being made by the lives of those living today. I have had the idea for this kind of thing in my head for a while, but this will be a sort of test case for a new article-series featuring interviews with Black Catholics that I would like to start in the future (near or distant). It will be a test for me to see how well I can make this type of content and a test of the content itself to see if it goes over well. So I would definitely appreciate your feedback on this one if you would like to see more of these type of interviews in the future.
Finally, whenever I find some cool Black Catholic stuff, especially Black Catholic history stuff, I’ll share it any day during this month.
I will start it all off later today with the first Black saint that will be featured this month on the Black (And Catholic) Like Me article-series.
And there goes that. Let the celebration begin!
Jesus resurrected from the dead, have mercy on us!
St. Joseph pray for us!
Ven. Fr. Augustus Tolton pray for us!
St. Martin de Porres, pray for us on your feast day!
Have a great Black Catholic History Month everyone!