POSITRACTION: African American Catholics kept their faith alive



McNamara’s Blog Celebrates Black History Month
February 1, 2019 by Pat McNamara

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In 1854, James Healy became the first Black priest ordained in the United States, but racism forced him to keep his background a secret. He served as Bishop of Portland, Maine, from 1875 to 1900. Although November is officially Black Catholic History Month, I didn’t return to Patheos until its end. So McNamara’s Blog will highlight the African American Catholic experience during Black History Month of 2019. As I’ve shared here before, this is a topic which has interested me for a long time.

Growing up in 1980’s Queens, I assumed Catholics were either Irish, Italian, German, or Polish. Any African Americans I did know belonged to Protestant churches. Furthermore, I never saw a Black person in a Catholic church. Not until my senior year at Cathedral Prep Seminary did I have any classmates of African descent.

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But the story of a people is more than just numbers. African American Catholics kept their faith alive in the face of discrimination and racism, and passed it on to the next generation. They showed other Catholics that it’s a Church for all people. This month at McNamara’s Blog, then, lay women and men, bishops, priests, and religious from the Black community are all featured here. Their stories, better than any statistic, bring alive the true meaning of the word Catholic: “universal.”

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I found this interesting.  I’ve never seen that many “Black Catholics” either.

But today, given the state of the “Catholic Church”, it’s hard to to tell the CINOs from the real ones.

Interesting that maybe the current anti-Catholic anti-Christian mood of the USA’s political society could lead to a “house cleaning” of the leadership and a rebirth of the soul?

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