Christopher Columbus discovered America. … That is what they say.
What did I discover in New Orleans?
Xavier University and its magnificent, Institute for Black Catholic Studies…. a far greater find.
Black people should do more than just read the Bible. We should study it. We should celebrate it because we are in the Bible in key roles, not as spectators but as participants. We were husbands, wives, and children….just like John and Jane Doe in the American History books but you would never know if it was not for courses like “Black Theology.”
We had Praise and Worship Services every morning and Mass at noon Mass every day. We looked forward to it. I discovered the basics for my faith and how to live it…. our religious history has been a hidden treasure.
Thanks to the generosity of the Martin de Porres Foundation I became a 7 day a week Catholic versus a one day a week Christian.
Cynthia Arlene Brown (IBCS) Our Lady of Hope March 30, 2017
The Martin de Porres Foundation,
All praises be to God! Thank you, thank you, thank you… for allowing me the opportunity to experience the IBCS. My faith has grown more than I could have imagined. Yes, there were times that I wondered why God wanted me there but as I opened myself up to the leading of the Holy Spirit I knew why I was there. I listened with a heart to understand and not my need to always want to reply. I have been praying for the ability to be a better listener, to God speaking to me and to all God’s children.
Now my personal task is to share this experience with St. Vincent’s. I’m not sure how to go about it but I’m sure God will show me the way. One of the Core Values of the IBCS, “We believe that people do the best they can until they can do better” will help me with this task. Please sign me up for next year.
Sheila Sharpe (IBCS 2016) St. Vincent de Paul Parish March 30, 2017
The North Bay retreat has been vital to our youth ministry. The trip includes daily fun activities such as swimming and tubing but also confidence builders such as rock climbing and ropes courses. It never fails that a few first timers can be afraid of an activity and then sets the goal of coming back and tackling that activity the next year. It’s great to see their progress. These activities also give the teens a chance to build each other up through encouragement and also work together as a team. They get a chance to make new friends and grow stronger in current friendships.
The most important part about North Bay is a chance for them to really connect with God. Every day they hear engaging talks relevant to their lives which aim at connecting them with God on a personal level. The teens celebrate Mass each day, experience adoration, times of silence, praise and worship music and have the opportunity to go to confession. I can tell you it has been a great joy to witness our youth open to prayer and understanding how much God loves them. Even the hardest of kids has been changed in profound ways through this trip.
Jennifer Simmons, Director of Religious Education March 30, 2017
Hi my name is Cameron and I am a proud member of St. Ignatius Church Youth Program, TLC, which stands for teens loving Christ. I am somewhat a special recruit in the TLC program because of my older brother who recently graduated from member to volunteer leader; while leaving he left quite a stamp on everyone. I thought that because he was such a character and beloved member in this group, I would just be known as the little brother and I wouldn’t get a chance to make my own stamp. I was worried that I would be stuck in his image but I was wrong! TLC welcomed me as CAMERON. I started to feel bonds right away because of my fellow students, curious for the Christian faith. I also have loved the atmosphere of positivity it gave me. There is laughing and generosity everywhere and surprisingly everyone got along with each other faster than expected. TLC has opened things inside me that will help me in life...forever; Such as my shyness and my relationship with God. TLC is a group that everyone should be a part of because it opens your eyes especially going on the North Bay trip. This is a fun, “exciting”, new and holy experience. It has a way of bringing out your feelings and gives you a chance for reflection while letting you see your relationship with God. From the 15 minutes of silence sessions to the small group talks and gender specific talks it helps you personally and spiritually. Personally for me North Bay was a “total rush”! It was a real challenge for me because 75% of the people there were strangers. I didn’t know if I was going to connect with strangers who did not even know my name. To tell them about my relationship with God or what I may need to do in the outside world but once I got there I loved it! The speakers really related to me and my situations. The people were really nice and I even made new friends. I learned things about myself and God that I was going to need after I left that great paradise and I had fun doing it. It was all thanks to TLC. I am so happy to be a part of something like this and I am excited for the next few years of what it has to offer.
TLC by Cameron Coles, High School Freshman March 30, 2017
Praying for my homies in the grave Devil trying to take my soul, he wants me to be his slave I’m in for Jesus, living His life Staying in school not on the streets rolling this dice Praising His name, Lord Jesus Christ God come and save me, Keep me on the earth I’m praying no time soon I won’t be in the hearse Making this rap for JESUS trying not to curse Been praising His name ever since birth I’ve been reading the Bible Wanting to be a disciple Calling His name in the chapel and singing at Church Jesus gave His life for us and I know that it hurt He was feeling the pain and I’m calling His name I write His name on my hand I made this rap by myself, I don’t need a band I’m only 14 trying to live my life right Everyone shout out for Him.
JESUS by Jahsir Adens, High School Freshman March 30, 2017
Thanks to the Martin de Porres Foundation funding my pursuit of a Masters in Theology, I was blessed to explore an opportunity to give back for the blessings received. I have accepted a new opportunity to teach Theology to young people of color at West Catholic Prep beginning this Fall.
Many thanks for the Foundation's support.
Connie McCalla October 16, 2016
I must say I really enjoyed my experience at the Institute of Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) 2016 C&E Program at Xavier University, New Orleans LA. I was challenged academically and learned a lot as one would expect from a Catholic educational institution.
The extra curricula activities were particularly interesting. The week long immersion into African American Catholic Studies included a trip to the Whitney Plantation museum; prayer service every morning to start our day and Mass at noon every day in the beautiful Saint Katharine Drexel Chapel. The material covered in the two classes was outstanding as well as the two professors, Father Tony Ricard and Father Giles Conwill.
The MAAFA celebration on Saturday was a unique experience for me -- MAAFA recognizes slavery’s tragic past -- “MAAFA: The Past We Inherit; The Future We Create”. It was quite pleasing to see my fellow African American Moslem, Hebrew, Protestant, and Catholic brothers and sisters pray and honor our ancestors together as one people. I ended my journey by attending Mass at Saint Joan of Arc Church – the uptown church with the downtown message. That was truly the icing on the cake.
God willing, this will not be my last trip to the Institute of Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) at Xavier University, New Orleans LA.
I am really grateful to the Martin de Porres Foundation and its staff for making this life changing educational experience possible.
Thanks a heap to all of you and especially Cathy, Deacon Bradley and Janell,
Alonza!!! (IBCS 2016)
St. Athanasius Parish
GOD IS GOOD!!!
Alonza!!! (IBCS 2016) St. Athanasius Parish August 2, 2016
“The youth group has taught me how to love God and by loving God I learned how to love myself and others as God taught me. Being a leader is not all about being a boss it’s about leading others to fall in love with God as I did. I want to show others that God is there and He always will be and He will always come through for them.”
Atiya Lewis College Freshman, Junior Leader March 30, 2015