The African American Catholic Center for Evangelization celebrated its 10th Black History Month Liturgy recently at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with more than 1,000 in attendance.Auxiliary Bishop Edward Clark presided with an uplifting homily from Father Ikechukwa Okeocha, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Church, Whittier. Alluding to the theme of the celebration --- “Something new … Rise, pick up your mat and walk” --- Father Okeocha encouraged all to “do something new, which cannot happen unless you allow God in your life.” 

“If we don’t say yes Lord we are ready we can be paralyzed by sin,” he said. “Sin keeps us from doing the right thing. We need the Word of Christ, ‘your sins are forgiven’ and then we can pick up our mats and walk.”

The Mass concluded with the presentation of the Keeper of the Flame Awards to 23 members from different parishes. Among the honorees: Monica Lewis from Holy Name of Jesus, L.A., whose mother, Emily Lewis, was an inaugural Award recipient.

Also participating in the Mass were Papal Knights, Papal Medalists, Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver and Honor Guards from the Knights of Columbus and Knights of Peter Claver. 

The AACCFE Keeper of the Flame Award is named in honor of Daniel Rudd, who in 1889 called together the first National Black Catholic Congress at St. Augustine Church in Washington, D.C. President Grover Cleveland invited the participants to the White House. 

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