February a month of celebration


By Howard W. Roberts and Aziza A. Cooper of the Archdiocesan Office of African American Ministries

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

On Feb. 2, St. Bernardine Church in Baltimore will sponsor a fundraiser to benefit the Oblate Sisters of Providence. A “Motown Journey” musical celebration is set for 1 p.m. at Seton Keough High School. Admission is $20 and tickets can be obtained by calling the church office at St. Bernardine, 410-362-8664.

The first Sunday of the month, Feb. 3, will mark a celebration of the 131st anniversary of the death of Mother Mary Lange. The National Guild of Directors for the cause of canonization of Mother Lange, along with the entire congregation of the Oblate Sisters, will host a liturgical celebration at 2 p.m., with Archbishop William E. Lori as main celebrant.

The Mass will be held at Mount Providence Convent, 701 Gun Road, Catonsville. All are welcome to join in prayer and to ask almighty God to bless Mother Lange by lifting her to the high altar of sainthood.

While we are bent down in prayer for the cause of Mother Lange we will also pray for the strengthening of families. Throughout the United States, we will celebrate African American Catholic parishes and families.

This first week of February will also bring the 16th Mother Mary Lange, O.S.P, Awards Banquet. The Office and Board of African American Catholic Ministries of the Archdiocese of Baltimore will host what is often referred to as “a large black Catholic family reunion” on Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. at Martin’s West on Dogwood Road in Woodlawn.

The purpose of the banquet is to affirm and celebrate the service and ministry rendered by African American Catholics in the archdiocese. African American parishes celebrate our leadership, service and youths in our community, as 50 honorees will be acknowledged from 16 parishes.

Coming in Black History Month, it is an opportunity to make and acknowledge some history of our own within our parishes.

The designated areas of ministry include leadership, service through the corporal works of mercy and youths who illustrate both service and leadership within their parish and the archdiocese at large.

In addition to this specific goal, Bishop Denis J. Madden will acknowledge the longstanding contributions of Therese Wilson Favors, former director of the Office of African American Catholic Ministries who was profiled in the Nov. 15, 2012, issue of the Catholic Review. For more than 40 years, Favors has served this archdiocese as a school teacher, catechist, director of evangelization, National Black Catholic Congress leader and director/coordinator in various archdiocesan offices.

This banquet of affirmation and celebration is named for Mother Lange, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, as her life and ministry provided great example and Christian witness of leadership and service. Her desire to please God was ignited in her heart and soul in her youth. Thus, the categories celebrated at the Mother Lange Banquet are worthy characteristics of Mother Lange for all generations to follow.

Katie Washington, a Johns Hopkins medical student and the first African American valedictorian at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in 2010, will be the Mistress of Ceremonies. Bishop Madden, head of the St. John Neumann Vicariate in the archdiocese, will give remarks. Sister Mary Alexis Fisher, superior general of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, will be present to give greetings and promote the sharing of Mother Lange’s story and mission.

For Mother Lange Banquet ticket information, contact the Office of African American Catholic Ministries at 410-625-8472 or email AACM@archbalt.org

Copyright (c) Jan. 25, 2013 CatholicReview.org

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.