Black History Month Mass to be Celebrated at Newark’s Cathedral Basilica, Sunday, Feb. 25

Newark, N.J. – The Archdiocese of Newark will celebrate its annual Black History Month Mass on Sunday, February 25, at 2:30 p.m. in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This year’s liturgy will feature guest celebrant Father Anthony Bozeman, SSJ, a prolific evangelist who also serves as the academic dean of St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, D.C.; assistant vocations director for the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart; and administrator of Our Lady of Grace Church in Reserve, La.

In line with this year’s national Black History Month theme of “African Americans and the Arts,” Father Bozeman will highlight in his homily how art has aided the Black community from a faith perspective. Specifically, he sees art as a medium through which God has blessed African Americans. He aims for this Mass to encourage Catholics of all backgrounds to learn more about this unique aspect of their faith and past.

“There’s so much rich history and intricacies that we’re not aware of when it comes to Black history,” Father Bozeman said. “This Mass is an opportunity to learn about something we know very little about while giving thanks to God for bringing us to this point and getting us where we need to go next. It’s a chance to celebrate the victories of the past and the promise of the future.”

Father Bozeman also plans to stress the importance of sharing Black history as a whole during his homily. At a time when 44 states have taken steps to restrict or limit the discussion of race in schools, according to a 2023 Education Week analysis, Father Bozeman plans to emphasize the Black community’s contributions to society and their impact on the nation.

Additionally, the Black History Month Mass will feature four choirs singing hymns in different African dialects and rhythms alongside large banners honoring Black candidates for sainthood. Priests from the local Black community and beyond may attend, as well. All are encouraged to wear attire representing African or Caribbean cultures.

“If you’ve never joined our Black History Month Mass, please come to this one,” said Rahsaan Garlin, associate director of the archdiocesan African American, African, & Caribbean Apostolate. “Father Bozeman is a powerful speaker who shares the truth you might not want to hear but need to hear. And we welcome all people — not just African Americans, Africans, and Caribbeans — because we want everyone to have this experience. We want everybody to sing with us and celebrate with us. Black history is American history and, ultimately, salvation history.”

According to the most recent statistics published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2016, there are an estimated 34,000 Black Catholics within the Archdiocese of Newark. The African American, African, & Caribbean Apostolate of the Archdiocese serves this community by sharing and strengthening the Catholic faith, encouraging Black youth to embrace faith and their cultural identity, and promoting faith leadership in the Black community, among other activities. To learn more about the Apostolate, visit its webpage at www.rcan.org/aaaca/.

About Father Anthony Bozeman, SSJ
Father Anthony Bozeman, SSJ, a priest with the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Josephite Community), is a native of Philadelphia who resides in Washington, D.C. After serving 16 years in the U.S. military on active and Air National Guard Reserve duty, Father Bozeman felt a calling to the priesthood and was ordained to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on May 20, 2000. Since then, he has pastored parishes in Philadelphia, Houston, Louisiana, and Los Angeles while becoming a highly sought-after speaker for events, retreats, and revivals throughout the world. Father Bozeman believes to whom much is given, much is required.

About the Archdiocese of Newark
The Archdiocese of Newark serves 1.3 million Catholics throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. It includes 212 parishes, 73 Catholic schools, and many missions and ministries. Hundreds of Masses are celebrated in more than a dozen languages each week. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., the sixth archbishop of Newark, leads the Archdiocese with four auxiliary bishops. Together, they serve the northern New Jersey community through faith, education, and social services. For more information, visit www.rcan.org.

 

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