In honor of Black Catholic History Month, the Diocese of Rochester will host special rosary services in November to commemorate the people and events important to Catholics of African descent.
The rosary services are being sponsored by the Diocese of Rochester’s Office of Cultural Ministries and the Black Catholic Leadership Commission, a diocesan committee that aims for Catholics of African descent to fully participate in the life of the church.
“We are blessed in our diocese with the gift of many cultures. As we celebrate Black Catholic History Month, it is primordial to honor and recognize the rich heritage of black Catholics in our local churches,” said Bernard Grizard, diocesan director of the Department of Pastoral Services, which oversees the Office of Cultural Ministries.
The rosary prayer services will take place at 6 p.m. on the first three Thursdays of November. The Nov. 7 service take place at Immaculate Conception Church, 445 Frederick Douglass St., Rochester; the Nov. 14 service will be at Guardian Angels Church, 2061 E. Henrietta Road, Henrietta; and the final service is slated for Nov. 21 at St. Rita Church, 1008 Maple Drive, Webster.
According to Ramona Moor, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Church and a member of the Black Catholic Leadership Commission, participants in the services will pray the Black Catholic History Rosary which highlights important events in Black Catholic history.
Moor said the Joyful Mysteries will reflect on issues of education, social justice and economic justice. The Sorrowful Mysteries will highlight historical documents from and about black Catholics, and the Glorious Mysteries will recall how black Catholics responded to those documents. The Luminous Mysteries will focus on the anniversaries of civil-rights causes.
She noted that Black Catholic History Month has been celebrated in the U.S. every November since being established by the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus in 1990. According to Moor, the caucus — which serves as a fraternity for black Catholic clergy and religious — wanted to inform the faithful that the Catholic Church has had black members since an Ethiopian eunuch was converted by Philip the Deacon, an event that is recorded in Acts 8:26-40 and resulted in the spread of Christianity in Africa.
Today, more than 200 million people of African descent are members of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world, according to the National Black Catholic Congress.