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African Ministry Leaders Meet With New Secretariat

Top left: Msgr. David Brockman, Rev. Marcos Leon (AAMEN vicar), Fr. Roger Malonda, Fr. Andrew McNair, Fr. Steve Shott,
Front row: Fr. Joseph Oji, Msgr. Joseph Ntuwa, Bishop Burbidge, Fr. Greg Anatuanya, Fr. Andy Santamauro, Msgr. Jeffrey Ingham
Priests involved in the ministry and evangelization of the African Ancestry communities gathered with Mrs. Aimee Viana and Mrs. Lauren Green at the Catholic Center last Tuesday, April 12 to discuss ongoing initiatives and upcoming events.  It was the first gathering of the priests following the establishment of the Secretariat of Lay Formation, Marriage, and Family Life.  Additionally, Mr. Aaron Sanders, Director of Divine Worship and Mr. Michael Accurso, Director of Sacred Music, who have also recently joined the Diocesan staff, also contributed to the meeting.
The clergy began plans for the African Heritage Celebration, which takes place each November during Catholic Black History Month.  Last year, over 500 people from across the Diocese attended, and a flag processional included representation of over 20 African nations.  The Igbo, Swahili, and Francophone communities, as well as African American communities will again join to celebrate their heritage with a special Mass and reception.  This year’s event is set to take place at Holy Cross Catholic Church (Durham) on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm. 
In addition, the clergy discussed the Diocesan observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, a day during which the faithful gather to commemorate the legacy of the African American civil rights leader and his contribution to our nation.  This past January, the observance included a service component during which over 10,000 diapers were organized and packaged for distribution by Catholic Charities across the Diocese.  The upcoming Diocesan observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday will again include a service project and is set to take place on Monday, January 16 2017 at Sacred Heart Cathedral.  The service project will begin at 9 am, while the Mass is scheduled for 10 am.  All faithful are welcome to attend.
Discussions also included the new Black History Month Multicultural Musical Tribute.  This year’s inaugural event “A Celebration of our Faith in Music” was held at St. Ann Catholic Church in Fayetteville and featured the musical talents of various parish choirs.  The event is scheduled to take place again on February 26, 2017.  Further information will be provided closer to the event.
The priests also joined Bishop Burbidge to concelebrate Mass.  At this time, Bishop Burbidge extended his gratitude to these committed priests, for their exceptional service and commitment to the faithful of our Diocese.  May God continue to bless them and the diverse communities they serve.