Bloomfield Church to Celebrate Black History Month with Mass and Listening Session

The African American, African, and Caribbean Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Newark will celebrate Black History Month with four special Masses and synod listening sessions throughout February.

Although the Archdiocese traditionally commemorates Black History Month with a high mass celebrated by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Newark , this year the apostolate has decided to hold four smaller masses. in local parishes to make the celebration more accessible and personal for parishioners. A Mass will be held in each of the four counties overseen by the Archdiocese – Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union – under the presidency of the bishop of the county. All are welcome to attend so they can honor black culture and its impact on American history.

“These Masses are an opportunity to pay homage to the many often unrecognized contributions of black people and to celebrate the heritage of our brothers and sisters in the intimate and spiritual settings of our local churches,” said Fr. Emeka Okwuosa, SDV, coordinator of the Afro-American, African and Caribbean apostolate. “I hope everyone will join and honor our community, our ancestors and all that they have done for the good of society.”

Msgr. Anselm Nwaorgu, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Union, attends the 2021 Black History Month Mass for the Archdiocese of Newark at Christ the King Church in Jersey City. (Photo by Archdiocese of Newark/Alexandra Pais)

Here is the Mass schedule for Black History Month:

Bergen County

Sunday 6 February, at 3 p.m.

St. Anastasia Church in Teaneck

with Bishop Michael A. Saporito

Essex County

Sunday February 13, at 12 p.m.

St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Bloomfield

with Bishop Manuel A. Cruz, DD

Hudson County

Sunday February 20, at 1 p.m.

St. Aedan’s: St. Peter’s College Church in Jersey City

with Bishop Gregory J. Studerus

Union County

Sunday 27 February, at 12 p.m.

Saint-Joseph le Charpentier church in Roselle

with Bishop Elias R. Lorenzo, OSB

Parishioners are encouraged to participate in post-Mass listening sessions where they can share their thoughts and suggestions on how to improve the Catholic Church. These sessions are part of the “Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church”, a process initiated by Pope Francis in October 2021 that urges Catholics around the world to meet and discuss how the Church can better connect with 21st century congregations. The results of all local listening sessions around the world will ultimately be consolidated into reports for discussion between the world’s bishops and the Vatican to help guide Pope Francis on decisions about how the Church should proceed with the ‘to come up.

“Our brothers and sisters in the black community really love this Church,” Fr. Emeka said. “They really care about this Church. But, unfortunately, some believe they have not felt the same kind of love from the Church. So my prayer is that during these listening sessions they can express what they think about the Church, and I pray that their opinions will help the Church listen to its children who feel neglected.

There are about 34,000 black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Newark in 2016, according to statistics from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ V Encuentro initiative. The Archdiocese’s African American, African, and Caribbean Apostolate serves parishioners by sharing and strengthening the Catholic faith, working to eradicate racism and oppression, encouraging black youth to embrace their cultural identity, and promoting leadership in the black community, among other activities. To learn more about the African American, African and Caribbean apostolate, visit www.rcan.org.

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Martha J. Finley