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Performance by award-winning artist W. Clifford Petty to kick off Black Catholic History Month in Denver

By Kateri Joda Williams

The Archdiocesan Committee for Racial Equality and Justice (ACREJ) is proud to present, “The Healing Power of Love: An Evening of Song and Reflection with W. Clifford Petty,” on Friday, November 3rd at 7 p.m. Best described as an “educational musical extravaganza,” this free event will be held at Most Precious Blood parish.

Bringing Mr. Petty to the community of the Archdiocese of Denver has been the dream of Bishop Jorge Rodríguez, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese, and other committee members since 2019 when they had the chance to hear him while on pilgrimage in Montgomery, Alabama. They were there to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the Lynching Museum, and the Resurrection Catholic Mission of the South, Inc. Upon their return, with the blessing of Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, the committee was formally established to educate others about the issue of racism in our church and the broader community.

W. Clifford Petty, the Pastoral Musician and Artist in Residence at Resurrection Catholic Church in Montgomery, Alabama, is an award-winning recording artist and composer for World Library Publications, a division of GIA Publications, Inc. His music has been showcased at the American Guild of Organists Convention, the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and the National Pastoral Musicians Convention. Some of Mr. Petty’s works were featured in the Liturgy Training Publication Sourcebook: An Almanac for Parish Liturgy. Several of his published works are also included in the Voices as One: Contemporary Hymnal, One in Faith Hymnal, Lead Me Guide Me Vol. 2, Gather Hymnal and GIA’s newest ecumenical hymnal, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.

Mr. Petty’s solo debut CD entitled “In Spirit and Truth” earned him the nomination for new male vocalist of the year during the “2006 Unity Awards” presented by the United Catholic Music and Video Association. Furthermore, he was commissioned to write the theme song for the 2008 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, which is the largest annual gathering of Catholics in the United States with roughly 45,000 people attending. Petty was the first African American to receive this honor.

A member of the Knights of Peter Claver, Mr. Petty is associated with several organizations including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

The Office of Black Catholic Ministry is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this event. Scheduling the event on the feast day of St. Martin de Porres, the patron of race relations, was intentional. November is officially National Black Catholic History Month, and there is no better way to begin than to invite individuals of all races and ethnicities to come together and enjoy the phenomenal music of W. Clifford Petty. All are welcome!


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