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Weeklong celebration for 25th Anniversary of the Office for Black Catholics Begins October 24 Cardinal George to Celebrate Closing Mass on October 31

A week of activities under the banner of Faith, Family, and Future is planned to celebrate the silver anniversary of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Black Catholics. The celebration begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 24, with an opening Mass and Reception with the Most Rev. Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, at St. Ailbe Church, 9015 South Harper Avenue in Chicago.

Revivalist and keynote speaker, Rev. Paul Whittington, OP, pastor of St. Benedict the African West Parish, will lead guests towards a better understanding of Black Catholic spirituality on Monday, October 25, at 7 p.m., at St. John de LaSalle Church, 10205 South Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago. Fr. Whittington’s topic for this evening will focus on Faith. Light refreshments and fellowship will precede the Faith Revival at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, October 27, at 7 p.m., Sr. Anita Baird, D.H.M., director of the Office for Racial Justice, will deliver her message about the importance of developing strong Family bonds at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, 3111 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. A choir formed specifically for the 25th anniversary celebration, with vocalists from more than 25 Archdiocesan parishes and other community churches, will lead an evening filled with praise music from many different genres. Families are invited to fellowship and light refreshments beginning at 6 p.m.

A Youth and Young Adult centered celebration will be held on Friday, October 29, starting at 6 p.m. with food and fellowship at Seton Academy, 16100 Seton Road in South Holland. Special guest speaker, Rev. Anthony Bozeman, S.S.J., of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, will center his message on the Future as it pertains to young people and their role in the Church. Several youth groups from the Archdiocese and neighboring communities will perform liturgical dance, Christian rap, mime and other expressions of their faith during the celebration.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago, will culminate the week’s celebrations as the celebrant at the 3 p.m. closing Mass on Sunday, October 31, at St. Jude the Apostle Church, 900 East 154th Street in South Holland. A reception will follow immediately after the Mass.

The Office for Black Catholics was established in 1985 when Most Rev. Wilton Gregory, the first African-American Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, commissioned a committee to establish the Office for Black Catholic Ministries. The first executive director of the Office for Black Catholics was Ms. Cynthia Norris. She was succeeded by Ms. Maudette Carr and Ms. Sheila Adams. The current director is Ms. Mary Norfleet-Johnson.

For more information about the 25th Anniversary celebration and available transportation, contact Anita Owens, 312-534-8376,, at the Office for Black Catholics or visit

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