Archdiocese of Newark to celebrate Black History Month with commemorative Mass

The Archdiocese of Newark will celebrate a Black History Month Mass on Sunday, February 12, at 12 p.m. in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. (Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Newark)

The Archdiocese of Newark’s African American, African, & Caribbean Apostolate will commemorate Black History Month with a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, on Sunday, February 12, at 12 p.m. in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

The annual Mass will begin with individuals representing Black Catholic organizations from throughout the Archdiocese processing into the Cathedral, where images of Black Catholic candidates for sainthood will be on display. During the liturgy, choirs from multiple parishes will sing spiritual songs and hymns reflecting the African American, African, and Caribbean cultures. Mass participants and guests are also welcome to wear appropriate attire representing their heritage. 

“This Black History Month Mass is very important because it identifies who and what we are as a culture,” said Rahsaan Garlin, liaison associate for the African American, African, & Caribbean Apostolate. “Black people have been struggling with inequality and oppression for years. But this Mass reminds us that there are organizations — like the Apostolate — that are bringing these issues to the forefront and fighting for all kinds of equality. We want to let people know we’re here for them, working to improve what needs to be improved.”

The archdiocesan African American, African, & Caribbean Apostolate celebrated several milestones in 2022. Aside from commemorating its 40th anniversary in October, the Apostolate also hosted multiple local listening sessions as part of the global Synod on Synodality to learn about the archdiocesan Black Catholic community’s engagement with the Church. Moving forward, the Apostolate plans to work with Archdiocese of Newark leadership to address issues raised in the sessions. It will also continue pursuing initiatives like the Black History Month Mass that promote respect for everyone — regardless of race.

“We are all created equal — no one is better than anyone else,” Garlin said. “As we sit together at this Mass and worship the Lord together, I hope people will see the Lord knows no colors. He just sees love.”

According to the most recent statistics published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2016, there are an estimated 34,000 Black Catholics within the Archdiocese of Newark. The African American, African, & Caribbean Apostolate serves these parishioners by sharing and strengthening their Catholic faith, working to eradicate racism and oppression, encouraging Black youth to embrace their cultural identity, and promoting leadership in the Black community, among other activities.

To learn more about the Apostolate, visit its web section.