Category: Josephite News

Feast Day of St Joseph at the Manor

Each year, Josephites gather on March 19 to remember their patron saint and to share in their ministry. This year, Josephite priests, brothers, seminarians and visitors congregated in the magnificent chapel at St. Joseph’s Manor in Baltimore. The celebration was led by Principal Celebrant William E. Lori, archbishop of Baltimore, who is no stranger to the Josephites, having served at two Josephite parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington.

In his homily, Archbishop Lori gave thanks to God and celebrated the outstanding work the Josephites have continuously done in the African American community. After Mass, the congregation processed out but the celebration continued.

A Feast Day lunch was served and the Josephites thanked Archbishop Lori for his presence and support. Complete with cupcakes that featured a statue of St. Joseph, the Feast Day lunch capped off a festive day of thanksgiving to the protector of the Holy Family – the first missionary and the patron saint of the Josephites – Good Saint Joseph.



‘Walk for the Hungry’ A Huge Success

st-aug-school-walk-for-hungryBy Father Tony Ricard
St. Augustine High School’s participation in the 2015 Walk for the Hungry was an overwhelming success. I am happy to report that 245 members of the Purple Nation participated in the Walk.

The Walk took place on Saturday, March 7, 2015. It followed a four-miles route through uptown New Orleans.

The Walk for the Hungry is sponsored by Bread for the World. The walk is designed to help raise funds to support efforts in our region to provide food for those in need.

Every facet of the Purple Nation was present for the Walk: students, parents, siblings, grandparents, administration, faculty, staff and alumni.

The Marching 100 played for the opening and the closing of the Walk. Our students also led the Opening Prayer Service.

We should all be proud of how well “We Showed Up and Showed Out!”

WalkforHungry4 WalkforHungry3 WalkforHungry2

Feast of Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph was called by God to be the protector of the Holy Family here on Earth.  Even when it wasn’t easy, the foster father of Jesus remained a steadfast servant and loved Jesus as his own.  Each year on March 19, we Josephites celebrate our patron and our protector.

Father Norvel, Superior General of the Josephites talks about the importance of the Feast of Saint Joseph and all that the Josephites have to celebrate this Feast Day of our patron.

Click here to watch the video >>




Pastor Profile: Father John Carroll

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 4.57.02 PMBy David Andrews

For Father John Carroll, SSJ, going to work everyday is hardly a task. For the last 14 years, parishioners at Church of the Incarnation in Washington, D.C., have made Father Carroll’s job full of joy.

“The people of Church of the Incarnation are very loyal and very industrious,” said Father Carroll. “Everyone from the altar ladies to lectors are all volunteers. We could not run if we had to pay these people,” Father Carroll said.

Father Carroll said parishioners also spend a great deal of time volunteering in their community, as many volunteer with the St. Vincent DePaul society procuring and distributing food on the third Friday of each month.

Church of the Incarnation itself was built in 1959 and has an addition that was built in 1987. The parish was a mission of St. Margaret’s Church and became a parish in 1914, which was established canonically as a mission in 1925.

When Church of the Incarnation was just a blueprint, Father Carroll was John Carroll, a young man growing up on the south side of Boston, Massachusetts, before he was ordained in 1966. In the last 49 years, Father Carroll has ministered to five parishes across the country.

He has served at St. Joseph’s in Alexandria, Virginia, Prince of Peace and St. Joseph’s in Mobile, Alabama, and at Star of the Sea in Houston, Texas, before being assigned to Church of the Incarnation in the nation’s capital.

When asked if there was anything to improve within his ministry, Father Carroll playfully said that he’d been at this job for a while, and that there wasn’t much more he could do to improve.

On a more serious note, Father Carroll said that the greatest joy of his job as the pastor of Church of the Incarnation is the atmosphere of peace and cooperation among the parishioners.

Our Lenten Journey


Join us on our 40 days journey throughout the Lenten Season.

Each day of the calendar will include a different reflection for you. Unlock prayers, videos and even recipes. Bookmark this page and come back each day to discover something new!




A Meeting of Families

twofamiliesBy Father Joseph Doyle, SSJ

By now, the whole world knows that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, will attend the Eighth World Meeting of Families to be held in Philadelphia in late September, 2015.

In terms of importance, his address to the attendees of the World Meeting of Families will be much more vital than his address to the U.S. Congress or even to the United Nations. These two entities have not been around as long as the human family, which made its appearance with Adam, Eve and their children.

From the beginning, the family, sometimes extended, sometimes nuclear, became the basic unit of human society everywhere in the world. But today, unfortunately, there are attempts to redefine the nature and function of marriage and the family. The Catholic Church will address these problems in Philadelphia and later on in Rome at a Synod on Marriage and the Family.

But where does one begin to prepare for such a lofty endeavor? An excellent attempt is offered by the book, “Love Is Our Mission. The Family Fully Alive,” published by Our Sunday Visitor under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pontifical Council for the Family.

In the first chapter of “Love Is Our Mission,” we find the starting point for any discussion on the family in the 21st century. It all begins with God, specifically a Trinitarian God. For Christian believers, it is not enough to say that we are made in the image of God. In truth, we must go deeper and say that we are made in the image of God, a Trinity, a communion of Persons, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches.

At the world meeting of families three years ago, Pope Benedict XVI said, “It is love that makes the human person the authentic image of the Blessed Trinity, the image of God.” Thus, “Love Is Our Mission.” And it is love that brings the two Trinities together.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the beautiful painting, “The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities,” attributed to the Circle of Diego Quispe Tito, on display in the Art Department of St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, speaks volumes about the love of the two Trinities.

Contemplate this masterpiece of art. See the love of the Father for the Word who in time became flesh and was known as Jesus, the son of Joseph, the carpenter.

Admire the love of Mary’s two spouses, one heavenly (the Holy Spirit) and one earthly (St. Joseph, true spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

And at the center of the painting, Jesus, love incarnate, calling us to love as he did, and still does, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and his holy parents, Joseph and Mary.

All families, no matter what kind, are called to imitate the love that exists in and from the two Trinities. That is the starting point and end point of the world meeting of families. And just as Jesus is the central figure in the painting, so he should be the central figure in every family – p incarnate love of one member for another.

Father Joseph Doyle is novice director for the Josephites.

A story of six nuns who marched in Selma

KQED to air story of six nuns who marched in Selma

By David DiCerto
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) — In March 1965, hundreds of civil rights marchers, risking imprisonment and injury, led a peaceful procession from Selma, Ala., to the state capital in Montgomery, protesting infringement of voting rights against African-Americans in Selma and the brutal murder of a demonstrator by a state trooper.

Among their number were six Midwestern Catholic nuns. Their participation — as well as the service of other women religious who ministered to Selma’s black community — is remembered in the edifying documentary “Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change.”

It will air in February on public television stations as part of PBS’ Black History Month programming. KQED will air the program on Feb. 25 at 5 p.m.

Several of the nuns interviewed credit the Second Vatican Council with inspiring them to become involved in the civil rights movement.

Sister Mary Leoline of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary remembers how she was responding to Pope John XXIII’s encouragement to “go where the need is.”

That need led her and the other Sisters to Selma, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was organizing the Montgomery march after an earlier attempt had ended in the “Bloody Sunday” tragedy, when demonstrators were turned back at the Edmund Pettus Bridge by mounted police with batons and tear gas.

“All the people who’d been hurt that day, they were the body and blood of Christ,” recalls Father Maurice Ouellet, who as a pastor of one of
Selma’s black parishes at the time, allowed civil rights workers to use the parish house as their base. “They had walked the Stations of the Cross … and they had been crucified.”

Memories still brings tears to the eyes of the women, who watch the violence on grainy film.

A still-plucky Sister Mary Antona Ebo of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary — the first black nun to march — didn’t think she was martyr material,
but felt it was time to “put up or shut up.”

Other orders represented in the Selma-to-Montgomery caravan included Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Sisters of Loretto.

The Sisters of St. Joseph, who worked in Selma’s Catholic hospitals and schools, were forbidden by their bishop to march, but nonetheless
provided board and medical care to the protesters.

Born Baptist, Sister Antona — who experienced discrimination in her religious community which had segregated novices when she entered in the 1940s — found herself in the national spotlight, but many of the others chose to remain, as Father Ouellet puts it, “silent witnesses,” standing in solidarity with those suffering injustice.

Active involvement didn’t win favor with some Catholics or their local bishops. Archbishop Thomas Toolen of Mobile, Ala., is said to have discouraged participation by nuns in his diocese, fearing Ku Klux Klan reprisals against the area’s Catholic minority.

Produced and directed by Jayasri Hart, the program contains some remarkable archival footage, including a confrontation between a snarling policeman and a young protester whose offer that they pray together is flintily rebuffed.

Those who argue against the role of religion as a positive force in effecting political change are reminded that the civil rights movement was “religious from beginning to end.”

Partially funded by the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign, this important documentary is a compelling testament to taking the Gospel’s message seriously and courageously putting one’s faith into action.

This is ideal viewing for parents to watch and discuss with older children.

(DiCerto is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. More reviews are available online at


The Nuns who Marched in Selma

“Once you have marched in Selma, Sister, you can never stay home again.”
Sister Mary Peters, Secretary, 1965

National Catholic Council for Interracial Justice

The Catholic Church owes much of its record of social activism to its vowed women, for whom service is the highest calling. In fact, most orders of nuns were founded for social service – teaching children, nursing the sick, and performing all tasks “of which woman is capable.” It is not surprising that in 1965 and thereafter the sisters came to the city of Selma, Alabama, to help the oppressed – the African-American citizens of the South fighting for their civil rights.

A new generation of African-Americans was challenging the status quo of the Deep South of the ‘60s. These nuns of the Catholic Church (which had long been perceived as a “white” institution) joined the civil rights struggle…and in so doing, the Church and the sisters were themselves transformed.

To read more about the Sisters who participated go to Alabama Public TV:

Josephite parish in Arlington turns 100

First black parish in Arlington Diocese turns 100

By Dave Borowski Catholic Herald
What better way to kick off a year of parish pride then with a Mass? An unusually warm and sunny mid-winter day greeted St. Joseph parishioners as Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde celebrated the centennial opening Mass Feb. 8 at St. Joseph Church in Alexandria.

Josephite Father Donald M. Fest and Deacons Albert A. Anderson Jr. and Steven J. Morello assisted the bishop. The opening Mass marked the first event in the yearlong parish centennial. St. Joseph was the first black parish in Northern Virginia, so it was a fitting start to Black History Month festivities.

The Knights of Columbus, Knights of Peter Claver and the Ladies Auxiliary led the bishop to the altar, and the St. Joseph Gospel Choir sang the hymn “The Church’s One Foundation.”

In his homily, Bishop Loverde spoke of the early St. Joseph community and the outlook for the future.

“For 100 years, St. Joseph has been the place where Catholics, and especially black Catholics, came to find Jesus,” he said.

Bishop Loverde thanked the many volunteers that make St. Joseph a vibrant community.

He ended his homily saying, “For all that has been, Deo gracias, Lord, thank you. For all that will be, fiat, Lord, let it be.”

The Mass continued with a vibrant spirituality helped by the gospel choir which sang hymns like “Shake the Devil Off,” “You Satisfy a Hungry Heart,” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

The history of St. Joseph Church began March 8, 1915, when the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament signed an agreement with Richmond Bishop Denis J. O’Connell granting $8,000 to the Richmond Diocese for a church to be built on Columbus Street in Alexandria. That was half of the expected cost of the church, with the remaining amount to be raised by the parishioners, a difficult task at that time, but a monument to a parish’s commitment to the faith.

One of the signatories on the agreement is Catharine Drexel, the legal name of St. Katharine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and heir to the rich Philadelphia family that founded Drexel University. The family had a long history of philanthropy to black and American Indian communities.

At the turn of the last century, Alexandria was a segregated community with black Catholics worshiping in the Lyceum of St. Mary Church. Their spiritual needs were served by Josephite Father Charles Hannigan, who traveled from Richmond each week. It was Father Hannigan who got Drexel interested in helping the new parish.

Ground was broken for the church in the fall of 1915, with the cornerstone laid in the spring of 2016. Josephite Father Joseph Kelly became the first pastor and served until 1936. The Josephites have been at the parish ever since, with Father Fest as the current pastor.

A school was built in 1931 and staffed by the Oblate Sisters of Providence, an order of black sisters. They taught there until the school closed in 1969.

In 1967, Richmond Bishop John J. Russell established the mission as a parish.

Mementos of the early church are displayed in the parish center in the church basement. In one of the display cases is the agreement signed by Bishop O’Connell and St. Katharine Drexel that created the historic church.

At the reception in the parish center following Mass, parishioners and friends looked at the historic documents and reminisced about the past and shared their hopes for the future.

Mathelle Lee, a parishioner for 39 years, said that the Mass was wonderful.

“I always love the bishop’s homilies,” she said.

Deacon Morello said Sunday’s Mass was the same you would see on any Sunday.

“It’s a profound spiritual experience every Sunday,” he said.

Gwen Day Fuller has been a parishioner for 45 years. She was baptized at the church and went to school there.

Her father, Ferdinand Day, passed away recentlt at 96. He was one of the first children baptized in the church.

“He loved this church,” said Fuller.

She said he was active in the parish life right up to the end of his own life.

Fuller said St. Joseph is one of the most diverse churches in Alexandria, a far cry from the early days of the parish.

At the end of Mass, the choir sang an old Negro spiritual, “We’ve come a long way, Lord.”

“We've come a long way, Lord, a mighty long way.

We've borne our burdens in the heat of the day.

But we know the Lord has made the way.

We've come a long way, Lord, a mighty long way.”

African-American History Month


To raise awareness of African-Americans’ contributions to society, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) established Negro History Week in 1925. The first annual History Week was celebrated in February, 1926 in conjunction with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

By 1950 cities nationwide were observing Negro History Week and the celebration was expanded to a month during 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”



Black History Month opens with Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

By Beth Griffin

New York cardinal, assisted by deacon, celebrates annual Black History Month Mass at St. Patrick's CathedralNEW YORK (CNS) – Hundreds of men, women and children, many in the traditional, colorful clothing of their African and Caribbean ancestral homelands, opened Black History Month at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with an exuberant Mass Feb. 1.

“It was a form of family reunion” that reflected the diversity of the black Catholic community in New York, said Christian Brother Tyrone A. Davis, director of the Office of Black Ministry for the Archdiocese of New York.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York was the main celebrant of the Mass, which also marked the 26th National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family and the Year of Consecrated Life.

As he processed up the main aisle, accompanied by joyful music and rhythmic bass drumming, Cardinal Dolan was followed by a man who twirled an open, fringed umbrella over his head, in the manner reserved for chiefs and kings in West Africa.

“For a moment there, I was worried the roof was leaking, but thank God, it’s just a magnificent African custom,” Cardinal Dolan said. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is undergoing an extensive renovation. Scaffolding blocks many pews and obscures familiar details of the soaring interior.

In his homily, Cardinal Dolan asked, “Is it any wonder at all that Moses and the Exodus was the favored image of black American preachers, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?”

The cardinal said faith inspired the liberated slave and sainthood candidate Pierre Toussaint, whose remains are buried in the cathedral’s crypt. “And Jesus, the new Moses, rescued the African slave Josephine Bakhita from tortured servitude to the freedom of the children of God and she is now a jewel in the crown we call the communion of saints,” Cardinal Dolan said.

The Sudanese-born St. Josephine was kidnapped into slavery as a child. She won her freedom in Italy in 1889, became a Canossian sister and served for 45 years until her death in 1947. She was canonized in 2000.

Cardinal Dolan said Moses, Jesus, Toussaint and St. Josephine “urge us now to embrace the immigrants who arrive today, embarrassingly scarred by some nativists within our country – immigrants who only want to ‘pass over’ into new life.”

Cardinal Dolan started the call-and-response prayer, “God is good/All the time/All the time/God is good.” When the congregation responded, he said, “So we must be good to those immigrants who come to us today. We must be good to those in Africa who probably suffer at this very moment a threat of assassination or seeing their churches burned down, or their women sold into trafficking and servitude simply because they believe in Jesus Christ.”

Brother Davis told Catholic News Service that Cardinal Dolan’s comments on immigration resonated with the congregation because “black Catholics, even those people born here, have experienced challenges with hospitality and welcome and some more serious than that. This is an ideal community to speak about the importance of welcoming the stranger.”

Cantor Kim R. Harris sings during annual Black History Month Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New YorkBlack Catholics in the archdiocese have backgrounds in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, Brother Davis said.

The annual Mass to open Black History Month and celebrate the national day of prayer for African-Americans “is a critical part of our ministry. It’s not some sense of performance, but a moment in time for people on a pilgrim journey. We need to have a moment to refresh ourselves and come together with fellow travelers to prepare for the next leg of the journey, which for us is the next 364 days,” he said.

The Mass included prayers in several African and Caribbean languages and music from a choir comprised of people from various schools and parishes in the archdiocese.

W. Mark Howell, director of music at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Harlem, organized the music for the Mass. “Music is such a rich part of our heritage and lends itself to our whole cultural and worship experience,” he said.

The congregation sang along and kept the beat by waving special white handkerchiefs printed to commemorate the Mass and its celebrant, “Timothy Kojo Cardinal Dolan.” Brother Davis said Kojo is a Ghanaian name that Ghanaian Catholics in New York gave to the cardinal to acknowledge he was born on a Monday.

One of the Mass concelebrants, Conventual Fransciscan Father James E. Goode, founded the national day of prayer in 1989. He told CNS that he got the idea during a meeting in Atlanta of the former National Office of Black Catholics. “Everyone was talking about drugs and broken homes and I said, ‘No one has talked about God and prayer. Why don’t we get together and pray as families?’“

“Now we celebrate the day as a country and a blessing and we make a commitment to be ‘family.’ We have to invite people to become a part of our experience,” Father Goode said.