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The Underground Railroad in African American History

Pope Francis: Putting Jesus in the midst of the people

Pope Francis celebrated Mass Feb. 2 with consecrated men and women.

‘Stand for What You Believe In’ is theme for national day of prayer

By Catholic News Service • Posted February 3, 2017

NEW YORK (CNS) — For the 29th year in a row, people of all faiths are urged to observe a national day of prayer for the African-American family Feb. 5 as part of Black History Month, observed every February.

The tradition of declaring the first Sunday of February as the prayer day was begun in 1989 by Franciscan Father James E. Goode, one of the nation’s leading African-American Catholic evangelists.

Visitors to the website of Solid Ground,, will find a link to a brochure, a prayer and further information to share with others. Father Goode is pastoral director of Solid Ground, a Franciscan ministry with African-American families. The priest also is the founder and president of the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life.

“Stand for What You Believe In” is the theme of this year’s prayer. The prayer brochure suggests families worship together “at the eucharistic table,” pray as a family, celebrate a meal together and “tell your family story.”

It also suggests families set aside time to discuss together “what you are willing to stand for,” such as respect for life; justice and peace; “the end of racism and hate”; the end of abortion “and all acts of violence”; respect for the elderly, women and children; and for the protection of the environment and all creation. “Or pledge to stand with the poor and oppressed, the forgotten, unwanted and unwelcome,” it says.

The prayer, composed by Father Goode, reads in part: “God of mercy and love, we place our African-American and African families before you today. May we be proud of our history and never forget those who paid a great price for our liberation. Bless us one by one and keep our hearts and minds fixed on higher ground. Help us to live for you and not for ourselves, and may we cherish and proclaim the gift of life.”

In addition to Solid Ground and the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life, several other groups are supporters of the special day of prayer, including the Black and Indian Mission Office, the Josephites, the Society of the Divine Word, the Order of Friars Minor, the Archdiocese of New York’s Office of Black Ministry, the Venerable Pierre Toussaint Scholarship Fund, the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, the National Black Sisters’ Conference and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church.

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Nigerian bishop: Evangelize though family, social media

Abuja, Nigeria, Feb 1, 2017 / 09:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- For one Catholic bishop in Nigeria, social media and family life are two keys for evangelization and sharing the values of the Catholic Church.

“We need to invent new means of forming people’s consciences. We need to form new means of confronting the agents of non-values that are among us. We need to form new means of colonizing the media so that people can hear the voice of the Church,” said Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Oyo.

The interview, conducted by Catholic News Agency for Africa, was released after the bishops’ conference in Nigeria last week.

Bishop Badejo is the chair of the Pan-African Episcopal Committee of Social Communications and is director of communications for the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria. This year he is celebrating his 30th year as a priest and 9th year as a bishop.

The bishop warned of sometimes inappropriate use and malicious intent behind main stream media. Social media can divide communities, exploit, and promote evil, he continued to say, explaining the role of the individual to create and distribute news.​

“It depends on the man who is behind the camera, nor can the pen decide what to write, it depends on the one who is holding the pen.”

This does not mean that the Church is anti-media, he clarified. For decades, the Church has been stressing the importance of communication, he said, adding that social media is a positive gift with the ability to advance a mutual benefit for all humanity. Read more...

The Underground Railroad, a network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals -- many whites but predominently black -- who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. It effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year -- as many as 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850.

This system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed "The Underground Railroad," after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called "stations" and "depots" and were run by "stationmasters," those who contributed money or goods were "stockholders," and the "conductor" was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next. 

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Southern Africa Bishops Strive to Implement “The Joy of Love”

CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 02 February 2017
Church leaders under the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) have expressed their commitment to implementing the latest Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 'Amoris Laetitia' (The Joy of Love), including “preparing resources to equip and help” the clergy and lay pastoral agents.

The Bishops expressed this in their pastoral letter at their meeting at St John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria.

The Monday, January 30th letter, which focused on marriage and the family highlighted some of the initiatives the Church leaders are spearheading in line with Amoris Laetitia, a Synodal document drawing together almost three years of consultations with Catholics in nations around the world.

Guided by this Synodal document, the Bishops have expressed their awareness of the need to have “more intense preparation for marriage; accompaniment of newly married couples by family life ministry teams; improved parenting skills,” among other realities in their pastoral situation such as protracted cohabiting, traditional marriages, and polygamy. Read more...