OMM honors clergy, religious for service

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz prayed over priests, deacons and their wives and religious during a celebration May 29 at St. Augustine Church. (Photo Special to The Record by Clinton Bennett)

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz prayed over priests, deacons and their wives and religious during a celebration May 29 at St. Augustine Church. (Photo Special to The Record by Clinton Bennett)

By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor

The Office of Multicultural Ministry (OMM) honored 19 men and women May 29 for their service to the African American community in the Archdiocese of Louisville during the African American Catholic Clergy and Religious Celebration.

The event, held at St. Augustine Church on West Broadway, recognized the service of African American clergy and religious. It also served as an opportunity to present these men and women as role models for young people, said M.
Annette Mandley-Turner, executive director of the OMM.

“The National Black Catholic Pastoral Plan encouraged local parishes to collaborate with offices, such as African American ministries … to provide a gathering that would recognize consecrated servants as a way of planting the seed in the minds of families for future vocations,” Turner said during a phone interview after the event.

“Each and every one of the individuals (honored) — from the youngest priest that was ordained, Father Christopher Rhodes, to the oldest — I think provided a different perspective on stewardship,” she said. “When people see them, they look at their sacrifice … the sacrifice of married life. That’s big in the African American community.

“For a person to respond to God’s call in service in that manner tells the community of an act of generosity at a whole different level — the act of being unselfish with their lives at a whole different level.”

She noted that during the event, she heard people say of the honorees, “To think they could actually have said ‘no’ (to their vocation). What impact would that have on our African American Catholic community?”

If those men and women “had not responded to God’s call, a lot of other people perhaps would not have become engaged,” Turner said.

This is the first time in 13 years that a celebration of this kind has been held in the Archdiocese of Louisville, she added.
Among the 2015 honorees was Deacon Frederick Higgins, who at age 99 is the oldest deacon of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Turner said.

The other honorees were:

  • Sister for Christian Community Patsy Guyton
  • Sister of Charity of Nazareth Pat Haley
  • Sister of Charity of Nazareth Dorothy Jackson
  • Deacon Kenneth R. Bell
  • Monsignor Edward B. Branch
  • Father Anthony L. Chandler
  • Deacon John R. Chur-chill and wife Genevieve
  • Deacon Earnest A. (Gus) Cooper and wife JoAnne
  • Deacon Jarvis O. Jackson
  • Father John T. Judie
  • Deacon Keith L. McKenzie and wife Catherine
  • Father Expedito Muwonge
  • Father Christopher S. Rhodes
  • Deacon James R. Turner and wife Annette
  • Deacon F. Eugene (Gene) Waldon and wife Liz
  • Father Edmund Ani
  • Father Emil K. Kander

Also honored was Anthony T. Brown, who is in formation for the diaconate.

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