Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Annual Black History Mass Celebrated by Bishop Senior

Full of life, full of passion, the annual Black History Mass was celebrated by Bishop Timothy Senior at St. Joseph Church in York on February 11, as part of Black History Month which occurs in the month of February. The bishop was also joined by eight concelebrating African American priests for the Holy Mass.

The Mass featured its usual rousing musical celebration by the Diocesan Swahili choir, which performed liturgical music in both Swahili and English for the more than 400 faithful in attendance from around the Diocese as well as visitors from dioceses in Maryland and Delaware. The Diocesan Black Catholic Apostolate sponsors the annual Mass, and Father Deogratias Rwegasira is the chaplain for the ministry that is looking to grow their numbers. Father Kyle Sahd, pastor, and Father Peter Rettig, parochial vicar, of St. Joseph’s, were the hosting clergy.

After Mass, the faithful attended a social in St. Joseph’s School gym, where the Diocesan Hispanic Apostolate graciously and generously provided the diverse cuisine. Some 15 volunteers for the Hispanic Apostolate prepared the food and served those gathered as part as a cooperative outreach effort so that the members of the Black Catholic Apostolate could partake in the Holy Mass and social without the responsibility of preparing the social food and serving duties. The social also featured lively music by members of the Hispanic Charismatic group. Dancing and singing by the faithful provided for a festive, cooperative atmosphere.

In his homily, Bishop Senior noted that “We human beings tend to separate and isolate others based on culture, accent, skin color or religion… and we consider those different as the others…. Black History Month makes us mindful that things have not always been easy, given our country’s original sin, which is racism.”

The bishop also encouraged the faithful to be “instruments of unity and peace in our culture and recognize the goodness in each person we encounter. We are to be witnesses of peace and ask ourselves: Who is the other?”

(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)

By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness

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