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Bishop Robert Brennan Celebrates Mass in Honor of Black History Month

Diocese Brooklyn
February 29, 2024

Bishop Robert Brennan Celebrates Mass in Honor of Black History Month
Deacon Rachid Murad, Bishop Brennan. Photo Courtesy: Michael Davis & Jonathan Sims

Bishop Robert Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens, led a Black History Month Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at Immaculate Conception Parish in the Jamaica section of Queens.

The theme of the Mass was “Spiritual Unity Through Cultural Diversity.” Still, Father Robert Seay, OFM, Pastor Emeritus of Our Lady of Charity in Brooklyn and homilist for the Mass, talked about the difficulties Black Catholics face today.

“The frustration that has happened, to especially black people when you listen, is that we are not at the table, that we, the decisions are made, and we are being eaten up by maintenance rather than mission. That's what I hear. And I hear many people saying I can't take it any longer. So, the faith is shattered by a lot right now, but we also can come and celebrate the good times and look towards the future in which we will be included in the church,” preached Father Seay.

“That's exactly what Pope Francis is asking with the Synod - that we listen deeply to one another. And so, it is important for me, as we do some of our planning, to hear the voices of all people, of all races and perspectives in everything we do in the Diocese. One of the lessons I have learned is that we may or may not be able to identify with others, but we need to listen and hear people’s troubles and concerns. And that’s what the Black History Month Mass was about. It's not just that we listen to one another when there's something wrong, but that we're listening to one another in our day-to-day lives,” said Bishop Brennan.

Diocese of Brooklyn Black History Month Mass

During his tenure at the Weeksville, Brooklyn Church, Father Seay became known for his work to promote peace, and his leadership led to his membership on the Mayor’s Pastoral Council. He has dedicated his life’s work to educating the youth and improving race relations. Bishop Brennan says Father Seay’s words are more important to hear now than ever.

“The celebration on Sunday was of Black History Month. We remember the history, but we also are writing the history of now. That was a big theme at the National Black Catholic Congress, and we're writing the history people will look back on in the future. Coming here to Brooklyn and Queens, I see great participation, and I value the perspectives, the experiences, the hopes, and the dreams of all of our people,” continued Bishop Brennan.

This year, the Vicariate Office of Black Catholic Concerns added new features to the annual Mass. Each black ethnic apostolate was asked to participate, and the national flag of each represented country was flown during the opening procession.

Bishop Brennan is the chairman-elect of the Committee on Cultural Diversity for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Sunday’s Mass was organized by the Vicariate Office of Black Catholic Concerns for the Diocese of Brooklyn. The Sr. Thea Bowman Choir led the rousing music at the Mass under the direction of Darcel Whitten-Wilamowski.

Video Courtesy: NET TV/DeSales Media
Photos 1-3 / Courtesy: DeSales Media
Photos 4-9 / Courtesy: Michael Davis & Jonathan Sims