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Parishes celebrating Black History Month

February 9, 2017
Tom Burke
Catholic San Francisco

Black History Month has been celebrated each February in the United States for more than 40 years with similar tributes to the African-American heritage going back more than 90 years. Parishes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, including San Francisco’s Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Boniface and St. Paul of the Shipwreck, keep the time close to their hearts and have announced special events in commemoration of Black History Month.

L. Rob Robinson has been a parishioner of St. Boniface Parish for seven years. His first visit to the parish’s Sunday Mass with its Gospel Choir “led me to make it my parish of choice,” Robinson told Catholic San Francisco. For the last year or so Robinson has been director of the Sacred Heart Gospel Choir at St. Boniface, an ensemble originally of the now-closed Sacred Heart Parish in San Francisco’s Western Addition. “The choir started 44 years ago at the former Sacred Heart Parish, and the choir and many of the parishioners from there moved to St. Boniface,” Robinson said.

St. Boniface marks
new Teresa Moore 100x125St. Boniface marks Black History Month Feb. 12. Mass with Gospel Choir begins the day at 9 a.m. followed by a soul food luncheon in the school cafeteria with guest speaker Teresa Moore, associate professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco.

“Professor Moore specializes in communications,” Robinson said. “Given the current question in our country regarding the veracity of information, we have asked simply that she address the question that Jesus posed to Pilate: ‘What is truth?’”

“St. Boniface is possibly the most ethnically diverse parish anywhere,” Robinson said. Masses each Sunday are celebrated in English, Tagalog, Spanish and Vietnamese. Major ethnic holidays and traditions are observed during the year with special programs. The Mass with Gospel Choir attracts an amazing diversity of Catholics from around San Francisco, Marin and the East Bay.

St. Boniface is also home to a unit of the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies’ Auxiliary, an historically African-American order of Catholics.

“We hope that this year we can reach out to interested persons throughout the archdiocese,” Robinson said, noting African-American priests from parishes in the archdiocese will celebrate Mass at St. Boniface during the month.

“This event serves to maintain and enrich the African-American Catholic tradition here in San Francisco, and to bring that tradition to a wider audience,” he said.

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
new Father George Quickley, SJ 100x125Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, San Francisco and All Hallows Chapel, will celebrate Black History Month with its annual revival beginning with Mass and potluck lunch Feb. 12 at 10:30 a.m., and continuing Feb. 13, 14, 15 at 7 p.m. Jesuit Father George Quickley, pastor, St. Patrick Parish, Oakland, is revivalist. Father Quickley served as a seminarian at Our Lady of Lourdes some 40 years ago and is still remembered by the Our Lady of Lourdes community, Father Dan Carter, pastor, said. Father Carter celebrates his 12th year as Our Lady of Lourdes pastor in February and his 40th year as a priest in 2019.

St. Paul of the Shipwreck Parish
In an email to Catholic San Francisco, St. Paul of the Shipwreck Parish told Catholic San Francisco, “Honoring and celebrating Black History Month gives an opportunity for African-American parishioners to highlight our story and our song – one that is as fraught with tribulation as it is bright with gifts and promise. …

“It is important for the parishioners of St. Paul of the Shipwreck to contribute to the ongoing national conversation about the underlying issues which have existed for too long including racism, poverty and violence,” the parish said. “Utilizing Black History Month as a natural platform for thinking about and praying about these concerns gives us extra opportunities to reflect together on these realities and to commit ourselves to being part of the solutions.”

These San Francisco parishes are among those celebrating Black History Month.

St. Boniface: Feb. 12, 9 a.m., Gospel Choir followed by luncheon and talk by USF professor Teresa Moore.

Our Lady of Lourdes: With All Hallows Chapel, Feb. 12, 9:30 a.m., annual revival beginning with Mass and potluck lunch; Feb. 13, 14, 15, Jesuit Father George Quickley, revivalist.

St. Paul of the Shipwreck: Celebration began Feb. 5 with the National Day of Prayer for the African-American and African Family. The parish said it is important to contribute to the national conversation on such issues as racism, poverty and violence.

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