Friday, June 07, 2013

Edmundite Father Michael P. Jacques

Edmundite Father Michael P. Jacques

In Baltimore for the National Black Catholic Congress Board Meeting, I received word this morning that Edmundite Father Michael Jacques, pastor of Saint Peter Claver Church of New Orleans, has died.
According to the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Father Jacques was admitted to the hospital Thursday after an apparent heart attack. He died overnight. "Father Mike," as many of his parishioners fondly called him, was instrumental in the growth and development of the parish church.
I am deeply shocked and greatly saddened to learn of the death of Father Jacques. We were scheduled to be together in San Diego tomorrow for the meeting of the African-American Affairs Subcommittee of the USCCB Secretariat on Cultural Diversity where each of us serves as consultants. Having looked forward to the opportunity to be with him this weekend, I am sure that his death will overshadow our gathering.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Remembering Our Mothers

"We believe that the Holy Mother of God,
the new Eve, Mother of the Church,
continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role
on behalf of the members of Christ."
(Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God § 15)

As we celebrate Mother's Day tomorrow (Sunday, May 12), we reflect on the great and special love a mother has for her children. In light of our faith---at least for me---I am left to consider not only the love of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Christ, but also the love of God our Father. When we truly think about the authentic love of a mother for her children, without difficulty we see a reflection of the love God has for his people.
Raising children involves obedience and patience from both parents and children. No doubt, at times a child has a special way of getting on that "last nerve" (and I know because I am that child)!This morning (Saturday, May 11) I spent some time in prayer at an abortion clinic with many joyful Christians, Protestant and Catholic, who support life. This opportunity stood as a visible sign not only of celebrating the glory and dignity of human life, but also praying for the mothers/families that choose life and praying for those who are unable to see hope in their circumstances.
A parent conveyed, "It is not easy being a mother sometimes" Commenting further, she said, "Then again, love means selflessness." Well, we will never be able to understand exactly what people are truly going through in their lives, but we have a obligation to encourage them. Following the example of Jesus, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles reminds us, "As Jesus was obedient to his Father's commands, we have to be obedient to Jesus' commands... [especially] when those teachings are hard or inconvenient." We must choose life. In choosing life, we are choosing to love. Jesus commands us to love.

We must always look to Mary, the mother of Jesus, who "advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with his sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth." (Lumen Gentium, 54). With all the joys and anguish that come over the years, the incredible sacrifice is a "labor of love" which knows no end. Many observe that the delight and agony a mother feels is just as poignant whether the child is an adult or an adolescent.
In addition to feeding, clothing, loving and providing shelter for her children, a mother possesses the tremendously awesome responsibility to raise her children in the faith. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches all forms of catechesis; and as such, the first church is in the home. God bless our mothers for teaching us, leading us, and not only giving us life, but also showing us the path to life.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam: Pope Francis

Today, Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, born December 17, 1936, was elected as the 266th leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He will go by the papal name Francis. Bergoglio is the first pope ever elected from South America. Prior to his election, he served as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Buenos Aires and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001.
We join the universal church in assuring the Holy Father of our heartfelt prayers as we—the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary—will always pray for his strength and broad shoulders to accept the responsibility to lead the Roman Catholic Church. Let us be the first to congratulate Pope Francis on many fruitful years of faithful service to the universal church and the world.
The election of Pope Francis, through the grace of Almighty God, is glorious evidence that there is never ground for losing hope.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

About Me

I am the Sixteenth Supreme Knight and Chief Executive Officer of the Knights of Peter Claver. The Most Worthy Supreme Knight was born in Mobile on January 22, 1977. I attended Saint Bernard Preparatory School at Saint Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama and graduated from John L. LeFlore High School of Communication and Arts in Mobile. Having felt a call to the priesthood, I studied briefly at Saint Joseph Seminary College in Saint Benedict, Louisiana. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Columbia College of Missouri, Touro University, and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, I holds undergraduate and graduate degrees to include an MBA in Public Management and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministries.

A Benedictine Oblate—a lay person formally associated to a particular monastery who seeks to live a life in harmony with the spirit of Saint Benedict as revealed in the Rule of Saint Benedict and its contemporary expression—I served in the United States Army Chaplains’ Corps. Military assignments include Fort Sill in Oklahoma, Fort Jackson in South Carolina, Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, and the Republic of Korea. In addition to my service in the United States Army Chaplains’ Corps, I have served as choral director, pianist, organist, or music director for various parishes throughout the Southeast and in Korea.

I believe the key to getting through to the youth is to meet them where they are, regardless of their stations in life. Love them unconditionally, regardless of their mistakes; and do not judge them. We must show the compassion of our almighty Father. A champion of Catholic education, I have endeavored to be a stalwart mentor to youth. Mariana Delany, a former student who is now a freshman at Vanderbilt University, said, “While teenage problems are often dismissed as melodrama, Mr. Blackmon would never ignore them. No matter how small the problems students took to him, he always gave them the respect of his attention, and made us feel, not only that we mattered, but that we were special, that we were human beings endowed with the dignity of God’s creation, entitled to love, respect, and attention.” In response to this, Ann Catherine Lopez responds, “I thank him for his love and his patience, goodness, kindness...yeah all that jazz. I love him so much and I'm pretty sure, he is one of the best things that's ever happened to me.”

I am married to Gracious Lady Kanobia A. Russell-Blackmon of Mobile, an executive producer for WAFF-48, the NBC affiliate in Huntsville. I am an active member of the Knights of Peter Claver, the National Black Catholic Congress Board, the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life Board of Consultants, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, the National Association for Lay Ministry, the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, National Association for Music Education, the Alabama Vocal Association, the American Legion, and the Delta Theta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.