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29TH AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MASS SET FOR FEBRUARY 22
Celebrated at Recently Renovated Holy Name Cathedral

Chicago, IL (February 14, 2007)-At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 22, students from Catholic elementary and secondary schools across the Archdiocese of Chicago will gather at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior, Chicago, for the 29th consecutive liturgy commemorating African American Heritage Month.

The Mass will incorporate Scripture readings and music emphasizing the second Kwanzaa principle of Kujichagulia, or self-determination. Fr. David Jones, Pastor of St. Benedict the African-East Parish, Chicago, will serve as celebrant, and the homily will be given by Catholic Revivalist and Youth Speaker Fr. R. Tony Ricard, Pastor of New Orleans' Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish.

A choir of sixty Catholic school and religious education students from across the Archdiocese will be performing the liturgy's Kujichagulia-themed music. Throughout February, the choir has held regular, Saturday morning practice sessions at St. Dorothy Church on Chicago's south side. The students have prepared under the direction of Timothy Walker, music director at St. Thaddeus Church, located on Chicago's far south side.

In recognition of African American Heritage month, Archdiocesan schools in Cook and Lake counties are incorporating Kujichagulia in studies and projects as a way of teaching students to define, name, create and speak for themselves to help instill pride and boost self-confidence.

In years past, the African American Heritage Mass traditionally marked the close of Catholic Schools Week, which always takes place the last week of January, and whose theme this year was Good News In Education. However, this year's liturgy was rescheduled to February 22, five days after Holy Name Cathedral is scheduled to reopen with a new, terrazzo floor and refurbished pews.

Additional African American Heritage Month celebrations in the Archdiocese include:

  • The St. John De La Salle Academy of Fine Arts Voices of Praise Choir will perform in the atrium of the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago, on Tuesday, February 20, at 11:30 a.m. The choir is made up of students from the school located at 10212 S. Vernon Ave., Chicago. For more information about the school, contact Principal Charles Carroll at 773-785-2331.
  • St. Malachy School, 2252 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, will host the dance group Lift Every Voice and Dance at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 27. The dance group will perform a 30-minute piece that chronicles the struggles and achievements of African Americans in the U.S. The performance was made possible after the school's social justice service group, Learn and Serve, sold Krispy Kreme donuts and raised over $250 to help cover the dance group's fees. For more information about the school, contact Principal Bridgid Miller at 312-733-2252.

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