The Wrong Question
Yesterday, the day before we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, an African-American woman in my church was asked if she felt uncomfortable being the only black person in church. That was the wrong question to ask. We should be asking how we could get more African-Americans and Latinos to come to our church. We should be wondering what we are doing wrong.
We have to remember that Jesus died for them as well as for us. He loves them as much as He loves us and He wants them to know the great love that He pours out in the Eucharist. He didn’t create the Catholic Church so that only certain people could fit in. The word catholic means universal, everyone belongs.
Secondly, Africans have a long history in the Church. Ethiopia was Catholic before Ireland. Before the rise of Islam much of Northern Africa was Catholic. There were even 3 African popes, Pope St. Miltiades, Pope St. Victor I and Pope St. Gelasius.
Today the Catholic faith in Africa is growing by leaps and bounds. There are missionary priests coming to America from Africa. The Catholic faith is probably stronger in Africa than in many parts of the U. S.
Do we remember our own history in the U.S.? Until we proved our patriotism in World War II Catholics were considered a minority in the U.S. and discriminated against. American history classes will tell you that the KKK was against 3 groups during the 1920’s, Catholics, Jews and African-Americans. Even in the 1970’s there was prejudice against Catholics in parts of the South. How can we be prejudiced against anyone