“This event is a nice time for all of the African ancestry communities (African American, Caribbean and African Migrants) to celebrate our unity and share our gifts with the universal church,” said Tristan Evans, AAMEN Coordinator. “The African community represents 56 African countries, 24 Caribbean countries and 2 North American countries with over 2,000 language groups with English, French, Igbo and Swahili as the predominant languages.”
Six of the languages—Swahili, French, Kikongo, Ibo, Lingala and English—were spoken or sung during the annual African Heritage Mass held at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral.
Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama served as the principal celebrant of the annual Mass. In his homily, he recognized the difficulties parents have maintaining traditions and understanding that their children are growing up in a new culture.
“Both parents and children need to understand and help each other with open hearts willing to listen and talk,” said Bishop Zarama. “And the best way to do that is with love.”
“Love is the key to teach heritage, customs and languages and love gives us joy,” he added.
After Mass the community shared in a celebration with music and food representing the Igbo, Swahili, Carribean and American communities on the parish grounds.
The Mass and celebration is organized and sponsored by the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship.