40th Anniversary of the St. Joseph Gospel Choir

By: Ed Jones, Black Catholic Community

img_8524The St. Joseph Gospel Choir held its annual concert on Sunday, October 16, 2016 entitled “Dwell in The House,” marking its 40th Anniversary of providing song and praise at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Starting from humble beginnings in 1976, when gospel music was not commonly sung in the Roman Catholic Church, the choir is now recognized for its musical talent in gospel expression; St. Joseph Gospel Choir receives frequent requests to sing for Church events, as well as concerts throughout the Washington Metropolitan area and beyond.

The 40th Anniversary Concert also included choirs and performers from the metropolitan area, making this event an even larger spirit and joy-filled celebration. The gospel choirs
from Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, Virginia, and Incarnation Catholic Church in Washington, DC added to an evening of beautiful music. The Hunt Sisters, a familyimg_8480 quartet, performed traditional gospel spiritual songs, and the Towdah Mime Ministry acted out mime praise
interpretations to music. Mr. Jeffery Corry serenaded the
audience with a collection of piano melodies from popular spiritual songs.  At the conclusion of the evening, everyone left feeling completely fulfilled.

Join in the celebration! St. Joseph’s Gospel Choir sings at 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 711 N. Columbus Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, on the third Sunday of every month. All are welcome!

Reflection on Joint Conference 2015

Written by: Deacon Albert Anderson

Through Faith and Strength, Acknowledge the Past, Embrace the Present, Create the Future, this was the theme of Joint Conference 2015. The conference, which took place in Charleston, S.C. from July 26-30, was a gathering of the National Black Sisters’ Conference (NBSC); National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus (NBCCC); National Association of Black Catholic Deacons (NAB CD); and the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association (NBCSA).

There were several Conference sessions focused on how to create a better future. One approach was to list and examine the cultural strengths of the Black Catholic community. Those listed included:

  • Strong Kinship Bonds
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Orientation Toward High Achievement
  • Emphasis on Religion/Church
  • Emphasis on Education
  • Racial Pride
  • Resourcefulness
Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Attendees at each table were tasked with sharing examples in their own families, past and present, of the above qualities. We were then asked to strategize on how to best nurture those qualities in our home towns. A future conference will discuss the results of those strategies and measure the success of their implementation.

Conference attendees also had the great privilege of praying inside Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, where nine of our sisters and brothers in Christ were murdered during a Bible Study class on June 17, 2015. They were: The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41 (Lead Pastor), Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49, Ethel Lance, 70, Susie Jackson, 87, Cynthia Hurd, 54, Tywanza Sanders, 26, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 49, Myra Thompson, 59, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74.

Because our sisters and brothers at Mother Emmanuel had been fed by the Word of God, the church members left to mourn the dead were able to forgive their killer, to feed him the forgiveness with which the Giver of Life feeds us all. Hopefully, by God’s grace we will never have to personally experience a tragedy of the scale of our sisters and brothers in Charleston, but there is a lesson to be learned here!

South Carolina #3

Mass at Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

The 2016 Joint Conference will be held in San Diego, CA… stay tuned!

Recap: First Annual Multicultural Choral Concert

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Photo taken by Mr. Tuyen and Mr. Thao

This past April, the Office of Multicultural Ministries held its first annual Multicultural Choral Concert! Hosted by Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, VA, the concert featured various choirs throughout our Diocese from all different cultures. The participating choirs were as follows: Filipino Serenata Choir from Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Ghana Catholic Community Choir from Queen of Apostles Parish, Heartsongs: Tam Tinh Ca, Hispanic Charismatic Choir from Good Shepherd Parish, Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Combined Choir, St. Joseph Gospel Choir, and St. Paul Chung Korean Choir.

Callie 6 - Multicultural Choral Concert

Photo taken by Mrs. Phyllis L. Johnson

Each choir performed at least two songs, including the Finale song, Celtic Alleluia by Christopher Walker, which was sung collaboratively by all of the choirs. The entire concert was a beautiful event, showcasing just a few of the many ethnic cultures that are so prevalent in the Diocese of Arlington. The Bishop Ireton students were very involved with the concert, as well – students whose cultural diversity represented each of the performing choirs would introduce a choir before they took the stage. This was the first time our office directly collaborated with Bishop Ireton High School, and it was a major success! Bishop Ireton has already started to plan for the second annual Multicultural Choral Concert in their state-of-the-art auditorium for April 2016. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Korean women with drums

Photo taken by Mr. Tuyen and Mr. Thao

To view some footage of this year’s Multicultural Choral Concert, watch the video below, filmed by Mr. Ed Jones of the Black Catholic Community.

The Office of Multicultural Ministries Takes On the March for Life!

The Office of Multicultural Ministries joined the hundreds of thousands of protesters who marched on the streets of Washington, D.C. on January 22, for the annual “March for Life” pro-life event. March for Life is held annually around January 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. Thus, the March for Life unites protesters and advocates from all over the country in a fight to defend human life, making it the biggest and most popular pro-life event in the U.S.

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But the March, itself, is not the only event held in honor of the nearly 56 million abortions that have occurred since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973[1]. Various Masses and rallies are held in the days leading up to the March, including Masses at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Verizon Center. Our diocesan office of Youth Ministry, held two (HUGE) Life is Very Good pre-events at George Mason University’s Patriot Center, which both were sold-out events (seating 10,000 people – mostly youth) in preparation for the March. These Life is Very Good events are the hottest ticket in town, are a must attend, and tickets sell out quickly. Check out our Youth Ministry Life is Very Good Video: 

 

But the March, itself, ultimately brought out the largest number of people – from babies to the elderly, and of many cultures and races. As Jeanne Monahan-Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, claimed, “We have come to represent the unborn that cannot speak for themselves. We have come to celebrate life… We have come to tell the world that abortion is evil and destroys innocent lives. It has to stop.” [2]

While our Office participated in the March for Life, so did many of our Ministries! We found Phyllis Johnson and Michele Jones from the Black Catholic Ministry, who also came along with Deacon Al Anderson and his wife, Beverly. Many from our Vietnamese Catholic Communities came out to march, as well, including Lieu Nguyen and Liem Le. We were incredibly lucky to see as many friendly faces as we did, and to have such beautiful weather.

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The Office of Multicultural Ministries with Phyllis Johnson and Michele Jones.

 

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Deacon Al and Beverly Anderson at the March for Life.

 

March for Life - Lieu Nguyen

Lieu Nguyen and other pro-life advocates in front of the Supreme Court Building

 

We would love to capture more of our diocesan Multicultural diversity at the 2016 March for Life. Mark your calendars and join us next year as we continue to defend life from conception to natural death.

Sources:

[1] http://www.lifenews.com/2014/01/12/56662169-abortions-in-america-since-roe-vs-wade-in-1973/

[2] http://panampost.com/adriana-peralta/2015/01/26/anti-abortion-march-for-life-rallies-200000-in-dc/

Prison Ministry: Journey to Serenity

Written by: KaIyah Allison

Microsoft Word - 2015 SIS JAN-FEB NEWSLETTER 1.docxPraise the Lord my sisters and brothers for we serve a God full of Mercy and Grace! My name is KaIyah Allison. I have been blessed and humbled to have a Prison Ministry since October 2007. God spoke to me and out of obedience I answered the call. Each time I go to the women’s prison division I am overjoyed! The women have received me with open hearts. I often tell them what a blessing they are to me. During our time together we have praise and worship, readings from the word of God and time for sharing what’s on your heart, whether it be a testimony of God’s goodness in their life or just to have someone to listen to them and encourage them. The women are my sisters and I am grateful to God for choosing me for such a ministry as this! I always tell my sisters this is a journey we will take together. It’s such a powerful thing to see God move in a mighty way while we are together. There have been many occasions where my sisters come in and you can instantly feel the heaviness in the room, but as we begin to worship The Lord moves and lightens the heavy burdens they came in with. To hear them say, “Thank you for coming, I am so glad you came!” I give God All the Glory, it’s by his power alone that together we can bind up every chain the enemy tries to put us in.

It is my purpose in life to continue to uplift my sisters while they are in their “cocoon stage,” I like to call it, because they are safe and God is rebuilding them. I look forward to seeing them on the outside so we can continue to build God’s Kingdom and give the enemy a Headache!!

God bless and keep you,
KaIyah Allison