The Catholic Church receives its name from its “Catholic” – or “Universal” – accessibility to all nations and peoples. Part of this universality is reflected in the Church’s designation of November as Black Catholic History Month. Veneration of black saints in the Catholic Church traces its roots back to the era of the Roman martyrs, where many black Catholics sacrificed their lives for their faith. St. Maurice, a roman legionnaire executed for refusing to apostatize to paganism, was venerated as the patron saint of the Holy Roman Emperors, the heads of an empire that lasted over one thousand years (800 AD – 1806 AD). To this day, black Catholics play a significant role in the Church, particularly in Africa where the number of new Catholics grows faster than anywhere else on earth.
As a part of the Church’s celebration of Black Catholic History Month, the St. Louis Archdiocese’s St. Charles Lwanga Center is holding a free virtual event on November 20th at 3 pm. The event, entitled “The Black Church,” will be hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., who has created twenty-one documentary films and is currently the Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. All those interested in attending the event via Zoom can receive the Zoom link when they submit an RSVP email to LwangaStL.Extra@gmail.com.