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Josephites celebrate 125 years of ministry with Mass at Baltimore Basilica

Over the weekend of November 16th, hundreds of people came to Baltimore to celebrate The Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, The Josephites, 125 years of ministry in the African American Community.

The Mass and Banquet were joyous events with Josephite priests and brothers, religious sisters, and dedicated men and women who serve in this important ministry.

With the help of our generous donors, we have built churches and schools, provided formation for priests and brothers and collaborated with other religious communities and lay leaders to share the Good News.

Read the homily that was given by Father Michael Thompson, SSJ. And, see all the photos from the Mass and the Banquet.

If you would like to donate to support the Josephites’ mission, please do so here.

Donate Today

The Josephites are dedicated to work, live, give and share – in the African American community – all that God has taught through His Church and the life of his Son, Jesus Christ. We need your support to continue this important mission. Please consider donating to the Josephites today.

2019 Josephite African-American History and Heritage Calendar

The Josephite Calendar is an evangelistic and educational tool as well as an excellent resource for important dates and events.
Each month is represented by a Sacred Scripture verse and art work of African-American influence.

Black Catholic History Month Called Chance to Learn, Share Rich History

A woman and man pray during Mass Feb. 5 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. November is National Black Catholic History Month, a time the U. S. Catholic Church sets aside to recall the rich history of black Catholicism and the many and important contributions African-Americans have made to the church. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) See BLACK-CATHOLIC-HISTORY Nov. 6, 2017.

Black Catholic History Month was initiated in 1990 by the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States. November was chosen because it holds two commemorative dates for prominent African Catholics: St. Augustine of Hippo, whose birthday is Nov. 13; and St. Martin de Porres, whose feast day is Nov. 3.

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Sister Roberta Fulton, principal of St. Martin de Porres School in Columbia, gets excited every year about National Black Catholic History Month.

She said that during the November celebration, she looks for ways to share how black Catholics have helped make the church what it is today.

The principal, a member of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur of Buffalo, New York, is from Kingstree and noted that as the only black religious sister from the state of South Carolina, she is a living example of what the month is all about.

Black Catholic History Month was initiated in 1990 by the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States. November was chosen because it holds two commemorative dates for prominent African Catholics: St. Augustine of Hippo, whose birthday is Nov. 13; and St. Martin de Porres, whose feast day is Nov. 3.

Every year, St. Martin de Porres School kicks off the month by celebrating the feast of the school’s patron. The well-known saint is followed by lessons on lesser known figures, such as the three African popes – Sts. Victor I, Melchiades and Gelasius I – who led the early church through much turmoil.

Several dozen saints fill the pages of history, from Monica and Augustine of Hippo to Perpetua and Felicitas.

There also are many new names of black Catholic church figures up for canonization, including religious from the Oblate Sisters of Providence and Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary. Both of these orders have served in the Diocese of Charleston.

Fulton said the schoolteachers evangelize while they teach, making it fun through trivia, spelling bees, bingo and more.

“I get so excited,” she told The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the statewide Diocese of Charleston. “It’s a big celebration for us. We try to open people to the richness of the history.”

The Charleston Diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries offers the following ideas for celebrating the month:

– Read “The History of Black Catholics in the United States” by Benedictine Father Cyprian Davis, who was known as the top chronicler of black Catholic history; “Oblate Sisters of Providence: A Pictorial History” by Sharon C. Knecht; and/or “Father Augustus Tolton: The First Recognized Black Catholic Priest in America” by Corinna Laughlin and Maria Laughlin.

– Talk about “What We Have Seen and Heard: A Reflection and Dialogue on Peace,” a pastoral letter written by Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Illinois.

– Involve youth in discussion using the new African American Catholic Youth Bible.

– Hold a music night on “Negro Spirituals.”

– Show the movie “Bakhita: From Slave to Saint,” about St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped at age 6 by Arab slave traders. Treated brutally, she was sold and resold five times. Sold to an Italian diplomat when she was still a teen, she met the Canossian Sisters. She was baptized in 1890, was freed and professed vows in the order in 1896. She died in 1947 and was canonized in 2000.

– Display the pictorial exhibit of the “History of Black Catholics in the Diocese of Charleston.”

– Give copies of “My Little Black Catholic History Book” to children.

Black Catholic history dates back to the Acts of the Apostles with the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch by St. Philip the Evangelist.

The National Black Catholic Congress notes the importance of the text from Acts for several reasons. It chronicles the conversion of the first black African in recorded Christian history. The text suggests that the man was a wealthy, literate and powerful emissary of the Nubian queen and also a faithful, practicing Jew prior to his baptism and that his conversion takes place before that of St. Paul’s.

Taylor is a reporter at The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the Diocese of Charleston.

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MAY HE REST IN PEACE

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2018 Josephite African-American History and Heritage Calendar

The Josephite Calendar is an evangelistic and educational tool as well as an excellent resource for important dates and events. Celebrate and learn about African-American history and heritage everyday of the year.

Subscribe to the Harvest

Renew Your Subscription Today!

Thank you for subscribing to The Josephite Harvest. As a reader, you are supporting Catholic ministry in the African American community. We are now asking you to renew your subscription.

For nearly 150 years, we Josephite priests and brothers have been serving in the African American community. We have a proud history that started shortly after the Civil War. From the East Coast to the West Coast, we are serving in parishes and schools and special ministries.

Why should you renew your subscription to The Josephite Harvest?

The Josephite Harvest is the oldest Catholic mission magazine in continuous publication in the United States. Established in 1888, the The Josephite Harvest is published quarterly to keep its readers current and aware of the work in the Josephite apostolate. The Josephite Harvest:

  • Encourages devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and our patron, St. Joseph.
  • Fosters racial and cultural understanding and reconciliation.
  • Makes known the achievements of African Americans influenced by the Catholic Faith.
  • Recognizes the labors of clergy and lay persons evangelizing African Americans.

You can renew now for the incredibly low price of $10.

By renewing now, you help promote the evangelizing ministry of St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart.
Your subscription continues an enduring bond with Josephite benefactors and friends who support
African American ministry
. When you subscribe you are united with more than 100,000 Josephite Harvest readers.

Stay connected to the Josephite mission and the African American community.
Thank you for renewing your subscription to The Josephite Harvest today.

Yours in Christ,

Father Michael Thompson, SSJ
Superior General & Publisher

The Josephite Pastoral Center

The Josephite Pastoral Center provides resources and services fostering positive attitudes and appreciation toward race, particularly blackness. Our goal is to make concrete what Pope Paul VI stated, “The gift of blackness must enrich the Church.”

It has been our experience that not only is there a need to appreciate blackness, but understanding and appreciation of all diversity is crucial so that the true pluralism of society can be celebrated and the richness of creation recognized.

The Winter Harvest is here!

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Open this edition of The Harvest to follow the Christmas journey.

Take a look at the Josephite archives on display in the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.

“My sense of the value of the Josephites’ service to the church goes way back.” Hear Cardinal Daniel DiNardo’s long history with our society.

Click here to read the full issue of the Josephite Harvest.

We Moved!

Josephite postcard-01

The Josephites now have new phone numbers and a new address! Please update your records!

Thank you!