Archdiocese of Chicago


Catholic Chicago Blog

Hosted by the Archdiocese of Chicago

Andrew Lyke

About the Blogger

Andrew Lyke is the Director of the Office for Black Catholics. He and his wife are co-founders of ArusiNetwork. From 1999 to 2009 he was the Coordinator of Marriage Ministry for the Archdiocese.

Blog posts by Andrew Lyke

  • Monday, February 10, 2014

    Resilience: Black Heritage Beyond February

    February is Black History Month. Some say Black Heritage Month. In this shortest month of the year we usually give emphasis to accomplishments of Black historical figures in the United States. Sometimes, though, it seems that instead of our heritage we celebrate and commemorate the month. There is nothing of deep historical significance about February that we should reverence it. And the heritage and history of African slaves in America and their descendants should not be articulated only in the shortest month but throughout the year, every year. Therefore, in this blog I want to focus on something of our heritage that demands constant focus throughout each year: resilience.


  • Monday, February 11, 2013

    Why Celebrate African-American History?

    In 1926 Carter G. Woodson, an African-American historian, author, journalist, and founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (1915), and founder of the academic quarterly, Journal of Negro History (1916), founded the second week in February as Negro History Week. For me, growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, Negro History Week, was one week in the year when we focused on the achievements of Americans of African ancestry – achievement in the arts, sports, science, education, politics, business, religion, community uplift, and other areas of success. Marian Anderson, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Ralph Bunch, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Sidney Poitier, Jackie Robinson, Dorothy Dandridge, Father George Clements, Father Rollins Lambert, Bishop Harold Perry, and so many other individuals living and dead were lifted up with pride as if to say “Because they did we can.”


  • Monday, November 05, 2012

    Office for Black Catholics part of grassroots effort for Arts & Rec Center in Bronzeville

    I grew up in Bronzeville, the neighborhood where the Cardinal Meyer Center is located. The grammar school I went to is just around the corner, and the building of the Ida B. Wells housing projects where I lived from 1954 to 1967 was only a couple of blocks away. While this neighborhood was where I was raised and nurtured into my mid-teens, it was also an area from which my family hastened to leave at the dawn of open housing in the mid-1960s. Yet, in my adulthood I often reminisce on my childhood among people who cared about each other and where community bonds were strong.


  • Monday, September 24, 2012

    The Cause for Sainthood of Fr. Augustus Tolton – The Journey Continues

    The Archdiocese of Chicago’s website dedicated to Fr. Augustus Tolton’s Cause for Canonization,, notes February 24, 2011, as the Proclamation and first session of the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Father Augustus Tolton.  It is quite amazing how much has transpired in less than two years. Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Postulator for the Cause of Fr. Tolton, has been working tirelessly, and his dedication and enthusiasm is contagious. One year after the first session, the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Causes of Saints granted the title of “Servant of God” to our very own Father Tolton. For the many who are familiar with his life story, we are not surprised that the Vatican has bestowed the title which best describes the life he lived.


  • Monday, February 27, 2012

    Are We Peacemakers or Peacekeepers?

    This is Part II of my Blog post on February 6, which expresses my profound reaction to a presentation by Elder Bernice King at St. Sabina’s on Chicago’s Southside last month on the subject of non-violence.


  • Monday, February 06, 2012

    Trading our "Piece" for God's Peace

    Last month I attended a special presentation by Elder Bernice King at St. Sabina’s on Chicago’s Southside. Bernice King is the youngest of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott-King’s four children. A renowned speaker worldwide, Elder King addressed the full to capacity church on the topic of non-violence. Her oratory stirred my soul and has me reflecting on our purpose as Black Catholics. While I cannot share all of what impressed me about the presentation here,  I will offer one important focus and hopefully share more in a later blog.  She began her oratory by referencing three scriptural passages:


  • Monday, October 31, 2011

    Spiritual Intimacy: A Milestone on a Cause for Sainthood

    Last March (2010) Cardinal George introduced to the Archdiocese of Chicago and the world the cause for sainthood for Father Augustus Tolton. Father Tolton was the first recognized black priest to serve in the United States. Tolton studied and was ordained in Rome because no seminary in the U.S. would accept blacks. He came to Chicago in 1889 to serve a fledgling black Catholic community that had been gathering for worship in the basement of St. Mary Church.  He established the first black Catholic parish in Chicago, St. Monica’s, which was located at 36th and Dearborn.


  • Tuesday, October 04, 2011

    Authentically Black and Truly Catholic

    I was born into a Catholic family and have been a practicing Catholic all of my life, with the exception of a few years in my late teens and early twenties. In my childhood (1950s and most of the 1960s) there was a difference, practically speaking, between “Mass” and “church” as it was the practice of many Catholics who are also African Americans to go to Mass on Sunday then return home to turn on the radio or TV and “have church.” Then the innate spirituality of people in the African Diaspora seemed to be squelched in the confines of the Roman Liturgy. We who were Catholic had to express our spirituality outside the celebration of the Eucharist and in the context of the broader Black Christian community. There seemed a dichotomy between being Black and being Catholic.


  • Monday, August 08, 2011

    How Can the Catholic Church be “Good News” in the Black Community Today?

    A compelling irony that drives my energies as the Director of the Office for Black Catholics is that in Chicago, a city founded by a Black Catholic (Jean Baptiste Point du Sable), a city with a vibrant Black community, a city where the Black church has much muscle, and a city that’s so very Catholic, to be Black and Catholic today is predominantly an impoverished experience. When people talk about about the awesomeness of the Catholic Church they don’t mean us. Nor do they mean us when referring to the power base of the Black church in America. Black Catholics in Chicago and throughout the United States are marginal on both counts.


  • Monday, May 09, 2011

    Ministry Through a Family Lens

    Recently I sent a letter to the pastors of the Archdiocese to introduce myself as the new director of the Office for Black Catholics. In that message I talked about the focus the office will have under my direction. One area of focus is on family life.