The Archdiocese of New York will kick off Black History Month with a Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on National Day of Prayer for the African American & African Family.

The Archdiocese of New York will begin Black History Month with a Black History Month Mass and National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday, February 5, at 2:00 PM.

Established by the late Father James E. Goode, OFM in 1989, the Day of Prayer continues to be celebrated throughout the country.

The homilist for the Mass is Father Michael Leon Thompson, SSJ, Superior General Emeritus of St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart. Father Thompson is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Washington, DC, and has been a member for more than 25 years of the Knights of Peter Claver, the Catholic fraternal order and the largest Black Catholic organization in the country.

Father Kareem Smith, Administrator of Saint Michael the Archangel parish in the Bronx, serves as the Chair of the planning committee for the Archdiocesan Black History Month Mass.

Father Smith shared that “This month intends for everyone to have the opportunity to experience and learn about people of African descent and what we bring to the table… When we look at the experience of Black Catholics, we are looking at the experience of Latino Catholics, as well. Many Hispanic Catholics identify as Black and Latino, and as a result, these communities often overlap,” Fr. Smith said.

Fr. Smith reflected on Reverend Martin Luther King’s March on Washington which occurred in August, 1963. He said, “The Catholic Church and Rev. King have always been aligned on the belief that every human has fundamental rights and dignity. Rev. King’s message is still relevant for our time as we continue to welcome immigrants from around the world.”


NOTE: Brother Tyrone Davis, Director of the Office of Black Ministry, Father Kareem Smith, and Father Wesbee Victor, of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, are available for interviews.  Father Victor also speaks Spanish.