The Second Line Newsletter
Fall 2017
Transitions & More
The last few months in the OBCM have brought transitions in staff and in office setup. Back in April Dr. Augustine and Fr. Daniel spent the month transitioning the role of director after Archbishop Aymond announced that Fr. Daniel would serve as the next director. Shortly thereafter, Fr. Daniel began advertising for the position of Assistant Director to help him more effectively manage the programs of the office as he also serves as pastor of Blessed Trinity. There were many strong candidates who applied for the position. In the end, Fr. Daniel offered the position to Ms. Alecia Bloodworth, a parishioner of St. Joseph the Worker in Marrero, who has participated in a number of the office programs.

The two have had to hit the ground running because of the National Black Catholic Congress and Gospel Fest. Yet, they have enjoyed the time of getting settled and beginning this new ministry on behalf of the Archdiocese and the Black Catholic Community. In addition to the normal programs they are also visiting all of the parishes to meet with the pastor and staffs of our local parishes. This has proven to be an invaluable experience and given great insight into some of the needs the parishes would like the office to work on.

Starting in January the pair will also start visiting parishes every other month for a weekend Mass to spread information about the work of the office and to connect with the parishioners in the pews. This will also serve as an opportunity to promote vocations and find out who may be discerning if God is calling.

The pair has also made some changes to the office. If you haven't been to the office recently you may not recognize it. But, they aren't done just yet. Soon, they will be installing two new picture exhibits. One exhibit will be installed to honor those who are on the Road to Sainthood. The other exhibit will be in honor of those men who have served our Archdiocese as Auxiliary Bishops from the Black Catholic Community.

When asked what has been his greatest joy Fr. Daniel said, "getting to visit with the pastors and staffs to hear from them and to see the different parishes in the community. I also am very excited about the Black Saints Celebration this year honoring the Sisters of the Holy Family for their 175 years of service." He continued, "It is my hope to be a great ambassador of the Black Catholic Community of New Orleans and to provide opportunities for the community to be strengthened."

Alecia also expressed her excitement at being able to work in the OBCM. "Why did I want to work for the OBCM? What? Why wouldn't I? I prayed and asked God to guide my path and I applied for the job!" She continued, "He listened to my cries and allowed me the opportunity to finally have a job where my heart, mind and should were all aligned. God is so good, I'm so humbled!"

Both Fr. Daniel and Alecia acknowledge that they need a full year before they can say they finally feel settled into the position. Alecia said it best, "I'm still learning and growing, each day I'm reminded that I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me but I do ask for your continued prayers for our journey."
Discerning the Call!
“Well, let’s do it. Let’s make it official.” These words are not as iconic as “Here I am, Lord I come to do your will,” but they are words that have forever changed my life. It was with these words that I accepted God’s call to discern, more intentionally, his will for my life. For those who have been with me since my youth, these words brought years of praying and prodding to fulfillment. More importantly, these words brought me back home to my beloved city of New Orleans. 

For six years, I have lived in Washington D.C. working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and my Master’s Degree in Liturgical Studies at The Catholic University of America. At the time of my decision to return home, I was the Liturgical Coordinator for the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. It was my plan to stay in Washington for a little longer before coming home. However, God had other plans. For the entire month of May, priests who journeyed with me throughout my time at CUA started to encourage me to go to seminary. I could not escape it. It became a daily occurrence. Clearly, God had something to say to me and was not going to stop until I heard him. There was truly of movement of the Spirit in my heart, but I was afraid. 

The day I decided to accept “the inevitable,” as one of those paternal voices would say, I came up with a list of all the reason why I should not or could not go to seminary. Each thing on that list was knocked off. I had no excuses left to give. It was time to come home and home I came. I resigned from my position at the JPII Shrine, packed up my car, and drove back to New Orleans. I was welcomed home with the unconditional love and support of my family and the Office of Black Catholic Ministries. For this, I am eternally grateful. 

Since the semester has started, it has been a rollercoaster. There has been a lot adjusting, adjusting to the seminary schedule; the rhythm of the day. There has not been much of adjustment to my sleep schedule, and for that we thank God will all our being! Nevertheless, the experience of seminary has been freeing. There is a great freedom that comes from being vulnerable before God. The seminary process, from classes to private prayer time, has challenged me to open my heart to a new way of life, to this experience. I have four years of this journey. I pray that I have the strength to remain open, even in the face trials and test. I pray that I have the support necessary to journey in discernment. I that if it is God’s will be made into a holy priest, ready to lay down his life for his sheep. 

New Website
Did you know the Office launched a new website? Our new website has a sleaker design and features a section on those from the Black Catholic Community who are on the Road to Sainthood. Periodically we will update the website and include more information and resources to support the work of our parishes, schools and parishioners.
The Call to Serve
By Michael J. Taylor
Where are you currently in formation?

I am currently in my fifth and final year of formation, and am an Instituted Acolyte; this is the final path toward ordination as a permanent deacon. I serve as an Acolyte at Mass three to four times each week, and the training I receive during these Masses will benefit me greatly after I am ordained as a deacon. I have also received additional liturgical training, assisting bishops, priests, and deacons at special Masses during the National Black Catholic Congress, Equestrian Order of Holy Sepulchre Masses, and Mass celebrations for the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary. 

We are currently taking a course in Liturgy and Sacraments at Notre Dame Seminary, and are receiving practical, hands-on experience in ministering the sacraments of Baptism and Marriage; and presiding at funeral liturgies and burial services. We are also studying Canon Law and Homiletics at the Permanent Diaconate Center on the West Bank in Harvey, LA. In our Homiletics classes, we deliver homilies that are videotaped and critiqued. I am currently preparing to deliver my fifth homily to my classmates, and am becoming more comfortable with preparing and delivering homilies. 
What are your next steps? 

I have been assigned to Blessed Trinity Catholic Church for my acolyte assignment with the understanding that this assignment may be where I will be assigned as a deacon. I look forward to serving at Blessed Trinity as well as serving the community and the people of God as a staunch advocate for social justice.

What has been your greatest joy in formation?

My greatest joys in formation have been many:
  • My wife and I have established lifelong relationships with our formation community.
  • My relationship with my wife has deepened spiritually.
  • I have an enhanced knowledge of Scripture that I had never had before.
  • I have developed a deepened sense of spirituality, humility, and patience.

What might have been a little harder?

The challenges I have faced are juggling the responsibilities of family, work, and formation. Fortunately, these challenges are not insurmountable, because I have been blessed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the support of my wife and family.

My current challenge is the “hurry up and wait” anticipation, waiting to see which parish we will be assigned to. We are checking the mailbox each day, and will be glad when the wait is over.

What are you looking forward to about being a deacon?

I am looking forward to serving the people of God in my assigned parish and in the community; being ‘persona Christi’ to the sick, dying, incarcerated, poor, and marginalized; and being a staunch promoter of social justice.

How can we accompany you in these last days of formation?

Please pray for our class, my family and me, as we continue our formation journey, and pray that God wills me to be ordained as a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of New Orleans on Saturday, June 23, 2018.
Did You Know?
Did you know that Dr. RaeNell Houston has been appointed as the Superintendent of Catholic Schools. Dr. Houston is the first Black Catholic to hold this position. You can read an article prepared by NOLA.com here. We are very proud of Dr. Houston who is an active member of St. Joseph the Worker in Marrero.