Black Catholic Ministry holds annual luncheon


PROVIDENCE – The Office of Black Catholic Ministry held its annual St. Martin de Porres luncheon on November 4 at the Marriott Hotel.

After introductory remarks by Ben Odiase, the Diocesan Gospel Choir offered a hymn.

The program’s title, “A Journey in Christ” echoed the theme of service in Christ. “It’s about all of us coming together to do God’s work,” reflected Patty January, the Coordinator in the diocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministry, who welcomed everyone to the luncheon.

Odiase introduced Father Andrew McNair by saying, “We are in the midst of spiritual warfare. We have among us a warrior.”

Father McNair offered a brief overview of the life of St. Martin de Porres, saying, “For Martin, Jesus Christ became his father, his mother, and his best friend.”

Following Father McNair’s talk, lunch was served and a slideshow of photos of Black Catholic Ministry activities from the last few years was presented.

Guest speaker Deacon Arthur Miller of the Archdiocese of Hartford, CT gave a stirring talk about living a good life. “We have to risk doing good,” he said. He told the story of the writer of “Amazing Grace,” who was the captain of a slave ship that converted to Christianity. “The disease he needed healing from was hatred, and God healed him,” he said.

Following Deacon Miller’s address, Barbara Butler and Joan Kline presented Edmund Bargblor with the Sister Judy Soares, R.S.M. Award for 2007. The award is presented annually to an individual who embodies community service and community advocacy spirit of Sister Judy.

Bargblor’s many accomplishments include two citations from the Rhode Island House of Representatives in recognition of his services in the community and a citation from the Rhode Island State Senate for outstanding community leadership.

During his acceptance speech, Bargblor said, “The time has come for us to work together for the betterment of our respective communities.”

Also receiving an award was Didier Jean Phillipe, who received the Phyllis Araujo & Sharon Simpson Scholarship Award, presented by the two benefactors.

Phillipe is a 17 year-old psychology major at the University of Rhode Island.

To view photos from this event, please visit