OFFICE FOR BLACK CATHOLIC MINISTRIES

Mission
The Office for Black Catholic Ministries seeks to carry out advocacy for the current concerns and needs of people of African descent in the Archdiocese of Hartford. The Office provides the Church's witness that the Catholic Church is home to all people and welcomes all peoples with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

 

 

Masses • Workshops • Newsletters • Black History Month Celebrations • Venerable Pierre Toussaint Dinner • Days of Reflection in the Afro Tradition • Evangelization
• Social Outreach • Youth Ministry • Prison Ministry

What the Office Does
Working in conjunction with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops / USCC, the National Black Catholic Congress and in collaboration with several agencies within the Archdiocese of Hartford, the Office provides consultative ministry in the following areas: racial understanding, guidelines for receiving pastoral ministers, pastoral care of immigrants and refugees and understanding African culture.
The Office provides informative workshops in the following areas:

  • Undoing Racism
  • Racial Harmony
  • Evangelization
  • Leadership Training
  • Teen and Youth Retreats
  • Conflict Resolution in Racial Matters

Message from Director,
Deacon Miller

Marching Against Violence
No one ever knows when the moment will hit. When it does though, time ceases to matter, because the moment is frozen in the memory of an unpleasant time…

I remember such a moment… it was expected though because of where I was and when it was. I remember it well, the terrible shock that threw me out of my bunk. A deep thunderous explosion cracked the calm of my sleep followed by the cacophony of noise that assaulted the quiet. From every direction the chaos came, pummeling into awakeness another angry night. Then there was a dead, dead, silence. Eerie how it was always like that, the silence I mean. It was only for a few seconds that eerie silence. Like the silence that comes between the flashing lightening and the rolling thunder. We all know the thunder is coming but when the expected comes it still raises the hair on the back of your neck and sends shivers up and down your spine. And it came…the thunder of panicked voices, both frightened and angry, yelling unintelligible mutterings… Look out!... Get down!.... Where… what…

A voice that seemed to echo from the outer edge of my thoughts snapped me back to reality. "Deacon Art?" I looked down at the young woman with the old, old eyes standing in the street looking up at me. She asked patiently, "You OK?" … I nodded my head yes…I was of course, OK.

It was August 14, 2008, my wife Sandy and I had decided to celebrate the 37th anniversary of our marriage at the burger and pizza place where two children, one 15 months old and the other seven years old had been shot. They were so very innocent. They had come with their parents to this small innocuous place and were victims of a rambling and ugly violence. Sandy and I have celebrated our anniversary at wonderful and romantic places…yet no place as important as this…no place that we needed to share our love for one another with, more than this tragic place. We both agreed, this was the anniversary we would always remember.

The young woman with the aged eyes was telling me how terrible it was to live in the circumstances that had robbed hope from the people who lived in the Northend of Hartford… While she was talking, explaining in detail what happens so often in this place, I could only relate to it through my experience forty years ago in the fall of 1968. It was strange because I had virtually buried the terrible memories of Phu Bai… a U. S. Marine camp just south of the DMZ in Viet Nam. I was young then…with aged eyes. I had seen terrible things in my little time in Viet Nam. So many people were victimized by the violence that was a permanent part of their lives. You could always see it in them, especially in their eyes. It has come to me that many people here in my country of America, are being terrorized as well, just as it happened to people back then and so far away.

How could all this happen here, now? Forty years ago I and many young men and women like me traveled 7000 miles away to try and stop a violence that was destroying a people. And now I could see within the soul of this young/old woman the same sadness. It was the same loss and pain I had seen in the eyes of the haggard people in my memory of 7000 miles away and forty years ago. I…we cannot let it happen here.

We are all called to love…like the Good Samaritan, we cannot walk by and believe the problems of Hartford are other folks' problems. Drive by shootings cannot be the norm for a community and conversely we cannot, we must not be drive by Catholics, and drive by leaders. We are called to stop and lend a hand.

The 18th century English philosopher Edmund Burke said: "All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing."

We are called to be good people doing something. The time is now, the place is here.

Deacon Arthur L. Miller
Director, Office for Black Catholic Ministries

Local clergy in Hartford joined members of Mothers United Against Violence in an anti-violence rally. From left with placard is Rev. Nancy Allen of Immanuel Congregational Church, at center walking together are Elder Nora Wyatt of Mount Olive Church Ministry and Deacon Arthur Miller, of St. Michael's and St. Justin's Catholic Churches and director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries. Behind Deacon Miller is Deacon Robert Pallotti, Director of the Diaconate Office. Not shown is Deacon Dennis Ferguson from St Thomas Catholic Church, West Hartford, CT. August 25, 2008.

Masses: Even though Black Catholics are scattered throughout the Archdiocese of Hartford, the following churches provide Masses that reflect the diverse cultures of some of the African American Catholics living in the Archdiocese:

St. Martin de Porres Church, 136 Dixwell Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, 203-624-9944
Sunday Masses: 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.
Weekday Masses: 7:30 a.m. except Wednesday

St. Michael Church, 7 Clark Street, Hartford, CT 06120, 860-522-6184
Sunday Mass: 9:00 a.m.
Sunday Mass: 1:30 p.m. (Spanish)

St. Justin Church, 230 Blue Hills Avenue, Hartford, CT 06112, 860-246-6897
Sunday Mass: 11:00 a.m. (English)
Sunday Mass: 4:00 p.m. (Creole)
Weekday Mass: 8:00 a.m.

St. Mary Church, 15 Maplewood Avenue, East Hartford, CT 06108, 860-290-1880
Sunday Mass: 2:00 p.m. (Ghanian language)

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 109 Goodwill Avenue, Meriden, CT 06451, 203-235-6381
Mass: Third Sunday of Every Month, 1:30 p.m. (Ebo)

To contact the Office for Black Catholic Ministries:
Deacon Arthur Miller, Director
Office for Black Catholic Ministries
467 Bloomfield Avenue
Bloomfield, CT 06002
Telephone: 860-243-0648
Fax: 860-243-0649
Email: dcn.art.miller@aohct.org


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Archdiocese of Hartford · 134 Farmington Avenue Hartford, CT 06105 · 860-541-6491 · fax: 860-541-6309