Black Catholic History is Catholic History!

Amy Bryer Brumley

Black Catholics have had a huge impact on the history and traditions of Christianity. The National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month 30 years ago to celebrate the long history and proud heritage of black Catholics.

Two commemorative dates fall within this month, St. Martin de Porres’ Feast Day on Nov. 3 and St. Augustine’s Birthday on Nov. 13.

Denver Celebrates First African American Cardinal

Just in time to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of National Black Catholic History Month, Pope Francis announced the first African American will be appointed to the College of Cardinals on Nov. 28.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., will be elevated to the highest governing body in the Catholic Church. This is an exciting action taken by the Holy Father who has not named an American to the College of Cardinals since 2016.

Kateri Williams, director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Denver states that the news is exhilarating to hear. She had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal-elect Gregory in Georgia during his service as Archbishop of Atlanta.

“He has an especially warm place in the hearts of many black Catholics in the Denver area,” Williams said.  “This historic moment is a call for celebration for all Catholics in our universal Church.”

Deacon Clarence McDavid from Cure’D’Ars Catholic parish recollects that as a child growing up in Denver it was not his experience to see a Catholic priest or religious who was African American.

In the late 1990’s, Gregory served as the keynote speaker for the Black Catholics’ Annual Faith and Unity Weekend and celebrated Mass at Denver’s St. Ignatius Loyola parish.

Margaret Wright, a parishioner in attendance, remarked that it has always been a pleasure to attend any of Archbishop’s Gregory’s liturgies and presentations.

“His words are powerful and very thoughtful,” Wright said.

“Such a gifted and holy man,” Shermita West from St. Jude parish in Lakewood said. “I am grateful that Pope Francis recognized Archbishop Gregory’s accomplishments, and his love of the Church and its people.”

With so much to celebrate in November, Williams hopes all Denver Catholics will take special reflection of the contributions of their black Catholic brothers and sisters.

“Black Catholic History is Catholic History!” Williams said.

All Are Invited!

Cardinal-elect Gregory is a featured speaker in a program sponsored by the archdiocese office on Saturday, Nov. 14.

To participate with the zoom event, you will need to register for the Tolton’s Legacy: A Road Map to Unity- 2020 Vision.

REGISTER FOR ZOOM EVENT

COMING UP: Preparing your Home and Heart for the Advent Season

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The Advent season is a time of preparation for our hearts and minds for the Lord’s birth on Christmas.  It extends over the four Sundays before Christmas.  Try some of these Ideas to celebrate Advent in your home by decorating, cooking, singing, and reading your way to Christmas. Some of the best ideas are the simplest.

Special thanks to Patty Lunder for putting this together!

Advent Crafts

Handprint Advent Wreath for Children 
Bring the meaning of Advent into your home by having your kids make this fun and easy Advent wreath.

Materials
Pink and purple construction paper
– Yellow tissue or construction paper (to make a flame)
– One piece of red construction paper cut into 15 small circles
– Scissors
– Glue
– Two colors of green construction paper
– One paper plate
– 2 empty paper towel tubes

1. Take the two shades of green construction paper and cut out several of your child’s (Children’s) handprints. Glue the handprints to the rim of a paper plate with the center cut out.

2. Roll one of the paper towels tubes in purple construction paper and glue in place.

3. Take the second paper towel and roll half in pink construction paper and half in purple construction and glue in place.

4. Cut the covered paper towel tubes in half.

5. Cut 15 small circles from the red construction paper. Take three circles and glue two next to each other and a third below to make berries. Do this next to each candle until all circles are used.

6. Cut 4 rain drop shapes (to make a flame) from the yellow construction paper. Each week glue the yellow construction paper to the candle to make a flame. On the first week light the purple candle, the second week light the second purple candle, the third week light the pink candle and on the fourth week light the final purple candle.

A Meal to Share during the Advent Season

Slow-Cooker Barley & Bean Soup 

Make Sunday dinner during Advent into a special family gathering with a simple, easy dinner. Growing up in a large family, we knew everyone would be together for a family dinner after Mass on Sunday. Let the smells and aromas of a slow stress-free dinner fill your house and heart during the Advent Season. Choose a member of the family to lead grace and enjoy an evening together. This is the perfect setting to light the candles on your Advent wreath and invite all to join in a special prayer for that week.

Ingredients:
– 1 cup dried multi-bean mix or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
– 1/2 cup pearl barley (Instant works great, I cook separate and add at end when soup is done)
– 3 cloves garlic, smashed
– 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
– 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
– 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
– 1 bay leaf
– Salt to taste
– 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend (basil, oregano)
– Freshly ground black pepper
– One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
– 3 cups cleaned baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
– 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra for garnish

1. Put 6 cups water, the beans, barley, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, 1 tablespoons salt, herb blend, some pepper in a slow cooker. Squeeze the tomatoes through your hands over the pot to break them down and add their juices. Cover and cook on high until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours. 

2. Add the spinach and cheese, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve with a baguette.