Kujenga--Reflection By Thomessia Moore-Lawson
Read a personal reflection about Kujenga, a retreat which noted your status of adulthood in the church through the sacrament of Confirmation, by Thomessia Moore-Lawsonormer Kujenga participant and young adult/youth ministry leader.
Family Affair--Reflection By Donna Grimes, Assistant Director
“Blood is thicker than mud"--Sylvester Stone
During the historic meeting with the Black Catholic Community of New Orleans on September 12, 1987, Saint Pope John Paul II said,
“I am sure that you share with me a special concern for the most basic human community, the family. Your faithful Christian families are a source of comfort in the face of the extraordinary pressures affecting society. Today, you must rediscover the spirit of family life which refuses to be destroyed in the face of even the most oppressive forces. Surely that spirit can be found in exploring your spiritual and cultural heritage. The inspiration you draw from the great men and women of your past will then allow your young people to see the value strong family life. Know that the Pope stands united with the black community as it rises to embrace its full dignity and lofty destiny.”
African American families wrestle with myriad challenge - some endemic to marriage and family life, others emerging from our particular situation. Before tapping out, let’s recognize our families as a prominent source of strength and resiliency. As Andrew and Terri Lyke affirmed, “Black families are holy. Black families matter.” More precisely, “Black families are worthy of the focused attention of the Catholic Church; worthy of the resources; and worthy of a carefully formed, intentional strategy for effective outreach by Catholic Marriage and Family Life ministers. (Read Marriage on A Lampstand: Explorinew Paradigm for Modern Christian Marriage).
Even if the Church at large never offers assistance, the important question concerns whether Black Catholic leaders prioritize marriage and family life ministry; and conceive such through a Black Catholic lens. To echo John Paul II, exploring our spiritual and cultural heritage is a reliable vehicle for rediscovering the spirit of family life. In Amoris Laetitia #79, Pope Francis noted, “[P]astors are to be attentive, by necessity, to how people experience and endure distress because of their condition.” The Subcommittee on African American Affairs (SCAAA) is ramping up efforts in marriage and family life ministry in 2019-2020. Previously, we worked with the junior division of the Knights of Peter Claver, Inc., to understand the perceptions of adolescents and amplify positive images of sacramental marriage. Our 2018 online survey of diocesan liaisons affirmed the need for USCCB and the local church to bolster African American families. Since at least 2002 through a national consultation, Offices of Black Catholics expressed the desire.
In February 2019, SCAAA conducted a focus group on the subject. Ongoing consultations with Arusi Network and others skilled in this ministry will shape a vibrant national campaign that is culturally responsive to the needs of Black Catholic families.