Ministry serves breakfast with a side of history

CHARLESTON—A special breakfast over Thanksgiving weekend offered black Catholics a chance to honor their shared faith and heritage.

On Nov. 24, 40 people gathered in Charleston for a “Black Catholic History Breakfast” hosted by Sister Roberta Fulton of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. Sister Roberta is the assistant director for African-American evangelization with the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries. 

It was the second such event held during November, which is officially recognized as Black Catholic History Month. Earlier in the month, 35 people met at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Greenville for a breakfast organized by Kathleen Merritt, director of Ethnic Ministries.

Both events offered members of the community a time for prayer and fellowship, plus the chance to learn more about black Catholic history, including prominent members of the faith.

The most recent gathering drew participants from Charleston, Sumter, Columbia and Orangeburg, including both young adults and senior citizens. Several members of the clergy also attended, including Msgr. D. Anthony Droze, vicar general. 

They delved into history and discussed the current situation of the community nationwide. They also watched a video in which leaders discussed five African-Americans currently being considered for sainthood. One video featured the story of Franciscan Sister Thea Bowman, whose cause for sainthood was endorsed on Nov. 14 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during their fall assembly in Baltimore. 

Participants also spent some time telling their own faith stories and then took part in a special closing prayer. 

“We prayed that we would be blessed on our future journey as we go out and evangelize, especially in the black Catholic community,” Sister Roberta said. 

Each participant received a certificate and a commemorate “love stone,” a stone painted with the names of African-American bishops, significant members of the black Catholic community, and all the historically black Catholic parishes in South Carolina. 

At the Greenville event, several people were also honored for their contributions to the community, including Franciscan Father Patrick Tuttle, pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Deacon James Williams, and parishioner Jesse Bowens. 

Miscellany/Doug Deas: Participants from around the state enjoy fellowship at the “Black  Catholic History Breakfast” held Nov. 24 in Charleston. It was sponsored by the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries.