This year marks the 25th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer for the African-American and African Family. The theme Father Jim Goode, founder of this day and Solid Ground Ministry, chose, comes from St. Augustine of Hippo, "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." We celebrate this annually on Feb. 2.
Life today is difficult, especially for many of our families who work and still have a difficult time maintaining their homes financially, dealing with illness in families and caring for aging parents. We also have to deal with the violence that is in our society today. So we pray as though everything depended on God.
Many of us do as St. Augustine once said, "Work as though everything depended on us." As long as we are listening and doing what God wants us to do, we are serving the Lord and that is what is important. We need to share this with our families. That is why the celebration of this day is so important.
Celebrating this day gives us an opportunity to begin Black History Month praying with and for African-American and African families throughout our diocese. It is an excellent way for reaching our youth and involving the whole family. We ask all African-American and African Catholics to celebrate this day. Father Goode has suggested various ways that we can celebrate this day.
Worship together at the Eucharistic Table and pray as a family on the National Day of Prayer for the African-American and African family. Celebrate a meal together and tell your family story. Set aside some time to read the family Bible. Say a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the needs of all families throughout the world. As a family let us prepare and give a meal to a family in need in our Church or local community in this day of prayer. Join in solidarity with our African sisters and brothers in the motherland, as we pray for their needs and their families.
Celebrating the National Day of Prayer for the African-American and African Family is a nice kick off to Black History Month which our nation celebrates in February. We can continue the celebration in our church by celebrating each week of February, having either a coffee social after the liturgy where everyone can learn about African saints or about the history of Black Catholics in the United States.
You can go to Father Goode's website and download a brochure with his prayer and an article by Therese Wilson Favors entitled "Hand Over Your Life to God."
For more information or for more resources you can contact me via email or look at the websites for the National Black Catholic Congress, United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, and Office of Cultural Diversity.