Category: Josephite News

St. Francis Xavier Parish turned 100

On Dec. 30, St. Francis Xavier, Baton Rouge area’s first black Catholic church celebrated its centennial. The Mass and Gala had a “Through trials and tribulations, by God’s grace, we triumph” theme. See photos from the celebrations here…

Centennial Mass

Centennial Gala

The Josephites 2018 Christmas Message

Father Michael L. Thompson, Superior General of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers, shares Christmas wishes! “The Joy of Christmas encourages the spirit of love and giving. Jesus was God’s gift to us.”

 

Requiescat in Pace Father John Joseph McBrearty

Father John Joseph McBrearty

The Josephite parishioners of St. Therese of Lisieux parish in Gulfport, MS, were saddened by the sudden death of their pastor, Father John Joseph McBrearty, on the afternoon of December 1, 2018.  At 87, he was the oldest active Josephite pastor. He is survived by a dear Sister-in Law, Evelyn McBrearty, of Donegal, Ireland. Three loving nieces, Noleen and Carmel, of Donegal, Ireland, and Rosemary of Sussex, England. A host loving of cousins in New York City.

Father McBrearty was born in Kilkar County, Donegal, Ireland on March 23, 1931.  After being educated in Ireland, he migrated to Chicago, IL and worked there for four years.  In 1958, he felt a vocation call to study for the priesthood with the St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart, and entered Epiphany Apostolic College in Newburgh, New York. Upon completion of his studies, John continued through the novitiate year and then priestly formation at St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, DC. On June 1, 1968, he was ordained a Josephite priest by Patrick Cardinal O. Boyle in Holy Comforter/St. Cyprian Church in Washington.

Fr. John’s first two priestly years were spent as an associate pastor at St. Vincent DePaul parish in Washington, DC.  Six years after this assignment he served as associate pastor at Church of the Epiphany parish in New Orleans.  He returned in 1974 to minister for three years as associate in Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Washington, DC.

Fr. John McBrearty received his first assignment as pastor in 1977, to Immaculate Conception parish in Lebeau, LA. After a brief stay he was assigned to Houston, TX, to pastor Our Lady Star of the Sea Church.  Four years later he did a two-year pastorate at Prince of Peace parish in Mobile, AL, followed by a six-year pastoral ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Church at Breaux Bridge, LA. In 1986 he served for one year at St. Joseph parish in Wilmington, DE, as pastor.

During the next sixteen years, Fr. McBrearty served as pastor at Sacred Heart, Raywood, TX (3 years), St. Joseph, Alexandria, VA (5 years) and St. Augustine, New Roads, LA (8 years).  He recently completed a renovation of the 80-year-old parish church at Gulfport, Mississippi.

A Funeral Mass for Fr. McBrearty will be held at 6:00 pm at St. Therese of Lisieux Church on Thursday, December 6, 2018.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 7, 2018 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  Burial will follow in the parish cemetery.

May he be at peace in his 50th year as a priest.

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.

Requiescat in Pace Father John Edward O’Hallaran, S.S.J.

Father John E. O’Hallaran, 80, of Long Branch, New Jersey, passed away Sept. 2nd.

 

He was born Nov. 24, 1937 in Jersey City to the late John and Harriet (nee: Fitzgerald) O’Hallaran.

 

Father John was a 1956 graduate of Red Bank Catholic High School and started his evangelical ministry as a teenager where he lived and was raised in Asbury Park, NJ. In 1961 he entered the brotherhood of the St. Joseph Society of the Sacred Heart. In May of 1985, he entered the priesthood in the St. Joseph Society.

 

He served as pastor of multiple parishes throughout Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi

 

Father John retired in 2016 and lived at St. Joseph’s Manor in Maryland before returning home to New Jersey in 2018.

 

He is predeceased by his “embraced” family members, Mildred and Jose Rodriguez. He is survived by many cousins and his “embraced” family: Dominga, Evelyn-Sophia, Iris, Maribel, and Edwin Rodriquez.

 

A life celebration will be held Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 from 9-10 a.m. at the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank, New Jersey, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. at St. James Church, 94 Broad Street, Red Bank, New Jersey. Interment will follow at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Clayton, Delaware.

 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Father O’Hallaran’s name can be made to the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, 1097c West Lake Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210.

Requiescat in Pace Father Charles Patrick Moffatt, S.S.J.

Father Charles Patrick Moffatt, S.S.J.

Josephite Father Charles Patrick Moffatt died at Stella Maris Nursing Home in Baltimore, MD on August 7. He had been a patient there for the last three months. He was 92 years old and a priest for 61 years.

A proud native of Detroit, Michigan, he was born June 14, 1926, baptized in Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church and educated in its parish school. Charles attended St. Anthony High School and University of Detroit, in the Motor City. He served seven months in Germany with the U.S. Army Infantry during World War II, as a Corporal and received an ETO, Rhineland Campaign medal. Upon completing college, Charles worked as an Investigator with the Detroit Welfare Dept. He entered St. Joseph’s Seminary in 1951 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1957.

Fr. Moffatt’s first assigned as an assistant at St. Francis Xavier parish in Baltimore and two years later was sent as an assistant at Our Mother of Mercy Church in Beaumont, Texas where he served for five years. He was assigned to Epiphany Church in New Orleans for another two years when he was appointed to his first pastorate at St. Philip Church, also in the Crescent City.

After overseeing the building of a new church at St. Philip’s following the destruction of Hurricane Betsy, Fr. Moffatt was assigned in 1968 as pastor of the only Josephite parish in his native Detroit at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church. In 1973 he was assigned back in New Orleans to St. Raymond Church where he administered the building of a new church, he left in 1981 for further studies at the University of Notre Dame.

In 1982 he served one year at St. Joseph’s in Welch, LA, and then was assigned to an eight-year term as pastor at Our Mother of Mercy parish in Houston, TX. He was then assigned an eight-year term as pastor in 1991 to Most Pure Heart of Mary parish in Mobile, Alabama.

Fr. Charles served in the vocation department, then in 2005 another four-year ministry as pastor of St. Luke Catholic Church in Washington, DC.

Fr. Moffatt’s final active five years served as clergy fill-in, while residing at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Failing health brought him to St. Joseph Manor in 2014.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 1501 Oliver Street, Baltimore, MD 21213, on Tuesday, August 14 at 11 a.m. with viewing beginning at 9 a.m. until Mass time. Burial will follow at New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore.

Preceded in death were Fr. Moffatt’s parents Patrick and Christina, his sister Maureen (Bill) Mott and his brother Gerald Moffatt.

Surviving are his sister Gertrude White, nephews Mark (Teri) White and Brian White, Peter (Carol) Mott, Kevin (Kathy) Mott, Bill (Nadine) Mott Jr., Tom (Pam) Mott, Michael (Jill) Mott and David (Heather) Mott. Also survived by his niece Kathleen (Ken) Mott-Crossman, 29 great nephews and nieces and several great -great nephews and nieces.

The newest Josephite priest; Reverend Father Kingsley Ogbuji, SSJ Ordained Saturday 19th May 2018.

Congratulations Reverend Father Kingsley Ogbuji, SSJ

Ordination day of Fr. Kingsley with the ordaining bishop Ricard. Saturday 19th May 2018.

First Black Catholic Priest On His Way To Sainthood

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The first black Catholic priest ordained for the United States, who served in Chicago for several years, is one step closer to being named a “saint.”

The story of Fr. Augustus Tolton has been officially examined and approved by a historical commission at the Vatican which Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry describes as a “significant hurdle” to get over on the road to sainthood.

Bishop Perry believes that, by virtue of the approval of that historcal record, the “positio,” Tolton eventually will reach sainthood.

It still will literally take at least one, possibly two miracles.

“A lot of that depends, of course, if we can find an intervention of God for someone for which medicine cannot explain, a turnaround in health. We sent two candidates for that over and we’re hoping that at least one of them might be approved,” Bishop Perry said.

A theological commission will now examine the way Fr. Tolton led his life and another panel will seek to confirm miracles said to have happened because of people praying to Fr. Tolton. Bishop Perry says two possible miracles have been presented.  The bishop did not want to identify the people to whom those possible miracles occurred.

“It all depends on that miracle,” he said.

Fr. Tolton started St. Monica Church on the South Side in 1889 and died in Chicago in 1897 at the age of 43.

Bishop Perry said the Archdiocese of Chicago sent to Rome in 2014, 2,000 pages worth of documents on the life of Fr. Tolton.

To get to the point they are today, the bishop said six historical consultants looked at all of that material issued as a “heavily referenced” official story of Fr. Tolton’s life.  The archdiocese was told March 8 that the historical commission had approved the records sent from Chicago.

Bishop Perry said that, what makes Fr. Tolton a good candidate for sainthood, in his view, is that, “a lot of his life has to do with perseverance in a rather difficult time socially, the division among the races and the condition of American blacks, freed slaves, escaped slaves, people of color.”

The bishop said Fr. Tolton “was something of a pioneer in things like integration, bringing people together in a Christian community for which society, the Church just were not ready for.”

Bishop Perry said that, right now, the Vatican is examining 35 or 36 candidates for sainthood from the United States.

Learn more about Fr. Tolton in the book from the Josephite Pastoral Center.

Archbishop Gregory: Catholics must stand against race and gender injustices

Fifty years since the U.S. civil rights movement, racism, sexism, discrimination based on sexual orientation and a host of other societal challenges “continue to hold us captive,” Archbishop Wilton Gregory told a group of U.S. priests gathered in Chicago on April 26.

The Atlanta archbishop, who is a former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that “many collective social injustices have not greatly improved over the past half-century and in some situations, a few may have even grown worse.”

Among the persistent ills that must be addressed, he said, is racism, which he described as “more subtle perhaps” today than in generations past but “no less degrading,” as well as “unabashed economic injustice from which certain classes can never fully escape.” He said criminal justice challenges remain, noting that U.S. prisons are “overflowing with inmates disproportionately representing people of color” and said body cameras worn by some police officers reveal occasional “violence against unarmed people much like that which others suffered in 1968.”

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Martin Luther King’s legacy: faith, hope and sacrifice

Washington D.C., (CNA/EWTN News).- Fifty years after the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Catholics can still learn much from his legacy, said a leader in the largest predominantly black Catholic organization in the U.S.

“Dr. King’s legacy is one of faith and overcoming external forces working against you. His life, work, and ultimate sacrifice illustrate that we are called to work for the greater good,” Percy Marchand, associate director of the Knights of Peter Claver, told CNA April 3. “Dr. King’s legacy is a shining example of self-deprecation and personal sacrifice for one’s fellow man.”

“Dr. King would not want us to look upon this day in sadness,” Marchand continued. “He would want us to look at it with inspiration and rededication; with hope and commitment; with love and compassion – even for our enemies or those who don’t love us.”

The Knights of Peter Claver is a New Orleans-based Catholic fraternal order present in about 39 states and in South America. Its membership is significantly African-American but open to all practicing Catholics without regard to race or ethnicity. Many of its members played a role in the U.S. civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, in which King, a Baptist minister, was the most prominent leader.

On Wednesday, the order joined in observing the 50th anniversary of the 1968 assassination of King in Memphis, Tenn. Catholic Bishop of Memphis Martin D. Holley led celebrations of two Masses and a “Walk of Faith” from a Catholic church to the National Civil Rights Museum in time for a program and a moment of silence.

Knights of Peter Claver Supreme Knight James Ellis and executive director Grant Jones were among those in attendance at the Memphis events.

“Dr. King was just a young man when he accepted the challenge that would ultimately lead him to being one of the most influential and powerful leaders in our history,” Marchand told CNA. “He wasn’t a millionaire. He wasn’t famous. He hadn’t ‘made it.’ We must each look at our lives and ask what we are doing to lead, to serve, to positively impact the world in which we live.”

“Our Catholic faith is rooted in humanity and teaches us that we were created in the image and likeness of God,” he continued. “Therefore, we have no room for promotion or tolerance of racism.”

While many Catholics were involved in the civil rights movement from the start, “there were many more who were actively fighting against civil rights and still more who stood silent,” Marchand noted, stressing that Catholics must be “strong in our faith” and must live out Catholic social teaching.

“We must directly face the evils that tend to divide us or negatively impact others,” he said. “This is what our Teacher, Jesus Christ, illustrated through His own life.”

“Dr. King taught us to be principled and genuine in our faith and actions. He taught us not to lower ourselves or compromise our values. He taught us to have faith and be obedient to our Heavenly Father rather than dwell on worldly problems,” said Marchand, adding that King “allowed God to lead his path and ultimately, his message prevailed.”

Marchand suggested many Catholics needs to improve their efforts to truly understand diversity and inclusion.

“The Church must be bold and purpose-driven when it comes to standing up for what is right and just – for all people,” he said.

Historically, some in the Catholic Church failed to stand up against segregation and racism, Marchand said.

“While the Church has certainly become more diverse in the years since the civil rights movement, Catholics in the South who had known slavery and segregation as a way of life, looked at those systemic issues as natural.”

As Church leaders started to take a stronger stance in rejecting segregation, Catholics were called by their faith to “turn away from hate and divisiveness,” he said, and the Church allowed many Catholics to “come together and begin the process of healing.”

In Marchand’s view, race relations within the Church have significantly improved since King’s day.

“In culturally diverse parishes across the country social interactions in various ministries have provided opportunities for all Catholics to learn and understand each other better,” he said. “Divisions remain in the Church to this day. We still have what are considered ‘White parishes’ and ‘Black parishes’ but the differences tend to be more about worship style and comfort rather than exclusion and hate.”

The Knights of Peter Claver were founded in Mobile, Ala. in 1909 by four Josephite priests and three Catholic laymen to serve African-Americans and other racial minorities. Its founders were concerned the Catholic Church would lose black Catholics to fraternal and secular organizations, at a time when racism in some parts of the South sometimes curtailed participation in parish life and Catholic associations.

In their opposition to segregation, the Knights of Peter Claver worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Urban League. One of its leading officers, civil rights attorney A.P. Tureaud, worked with future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to help overturn segregation laws. The order’s New Orleans headquarters hosted early meetings that led to the launch of the civil rights movement.

The order has six divisions, including the Ladies of Peter Claver and two separate junior divisions for young men and young women.

A Knights of Peter Claver spokesman told CNA that many local units of the organization would hold their own commemorations of King.