Diocese celebrates first African American and Native American Heritage Mass

In a first for the Diocese of Raleigh, on November 11, Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama presided over a Mass celebrating African American and Native American Heritage.

With icons of Saint Kateri Tekawitha and Saint Martin de Porres on either side of the altar, the Mass included elements of both cultural faith traditions. The AAMEN gospel choir provided music ministry and Native American dancers led the entrance procession and also performed before and after the Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh.

Richard Duran a parishioner from St. Mildred in Swansboro said,"What a wonderful day! The Mass, celebration and youth retreat were all a success, and everyone that I talked to was excited about the two cultures celebrating their Catholic faith together in their unique way."  

Bishop Luis concelebrated the Mass with Father Marcos León-Angulo, chaplain to the African American Catholic community; Father Daivd Miller, chaplain to the Native American Catholic community; Monsignor Joseph Ntuwa, episcopal delegate to African Ancestry Ministry and Evangelization Network (AAMEN) and Native American Catholic Community; and Father Peter Devereux, LC, pastor of St. Joseph.

After recognizing all those who participated in the Mass and recognizing Jennifer Jones, administrator of the AAMEN and Native American Catholic communities who organized the Mass, Bishop Luis invited everyone to continue the celebration with food, which included Native American tacos and additional Native American music and dance in the parish’s Saint Monica Hall.