• Black Catholic Ministries

Black Catholic Ministries

The oldest ethnic ministry in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington is the African-American community. St. Joseph's Church in Alexandria was founded in 1915 to serve the Black Catholics in Northern Virginia. Saint Katherine Drexel, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II, was a contributor to the parish, which has always been staffed by the Josephite Community of priests. In 1945, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington was founded in response to the growing African-American Catholic population. There are many supportive Black Catholic organizations, such as Sisters in the Spirit, a Black Catholic women's spiritual group, and the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary.

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Veronica Dabney

Veronica Dabney Receives ‘Tolton Award’

Veronica Dabney, a parishioner of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington, is the 2021 recipient of diocesan Black Catholic Ministries’ Father Augustus Tolton and Mother Mary Lange award. The news was announced this month as part of Black History Month.


Advisory Council on Racism

Bishop Burbidge announced the decision to form an Advisory Council on Racism at the Requiem for the Black Children of God, a prayer service held in early August, to be comprised of Black Catholic leaders, including clergy, lay men and lay women. Candidates were considered after receiving recommendations from pastors, The Office of Multicultural Ministries, and other ministry leaders.

Dr. King

In Light of MLK Day, Bishop Burbidge Urges An Examination of Conscience

Patrick Riley came dressed for the occasion. At the Mass in Recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the parishioner of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Falls Church sported a pin of the civil rights leader, a token he received for donating to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington. His tie featured smiling children of different ethnicities. He wore a red checked shirt, “because I think of him as a martyr,” said Riley.

Bev Anderson

Seeking A Common Goal For the African American Community

Alexandria, VA – This month we shine a light on a hidden pillar of Alexandria, Mrs. Beverly Anderson. Mrs. Anderson is a devoted wife and mother, and a retiree from the Social Security Administration where she served for 35 years.

Archbishop Gregory

First African American Cardinal For U.S.

WASHINGTON — Cardinal-designate Wilton D. Gregory, installed as Washington’s archbishop in May 2019, thanked Pope Francis “with a very grateful and humble heart” for naming him one of 13 new cardinals Oct. 25.


New Advisory Council Will Develop Strategic Plan To Address Racism

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge named 14 Black lay leaders and clergy from across the diocese to a new Advisory Council on Racism Oct. 1. The council members, appointed for three-year terms, will meet at least quarterly to draw up a strategic plan for addressing racism in the diocese.


Requiem for the Black Children of God

All are continuously invited to watch the prayer service and pray for, by the name, our Black brothers and sisters who have been killed as a result of racism and violence. The original airdate of the prayer service was August 1, 2020, but we know that prayer has no expiration date.

Watch the Prayer Service Here

Arlington’s Black Catholics Say Racism Is ‘The Other Virus'

Another unarmed black man dead at the hands of police. This time, a video showed an officer kneeling on the neck of the handcuffed man, George Floyd, who said repeatedly before he died that he could not breathe and reportedly called out for his mother.


Bishop Burbidge Celebrates Mass Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The Mass on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord opened with the classic spiritual “Wade in the Water” sung by the St. Joseph Gospel Choir. It was a fitting start to the Mass in Recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington Jan. 12, said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.

Deacon Al and Jerry Cousin

Service Award Honors Ministry to Black Catholics

The diocesan Office of Multicultural Ministries awarded the Fr. Augustus Tolton and Mother Lange Black Catholic Service Award to Jerry Cousin at Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling Nov. 24. The award, given annually to a person who has worked tirelessly to support the Black Catholic population in the diocese, was presented at the end of the Mass for Black Catholic History Month.

contrabands and freedmen cemetery

Descendants of Escaped Slaves Honor Ancestors in Alexandria

Corrin Nicole Franklin Reed, a lifelong Alexandrian, always believed her family was from Philadelphia and North Carolina. But in reality, her ancestors had lived and died in her hometown. Reed and the other descendants of the thousands of African Americans buried at the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery in Alexandria hadn’t learned about that part of their past because for many years, no one remembered the cemetery existed.

Douglass Cemetery

Alexandria Scout honors forgotten dead at African American cemetery

As Rosanne Hynes peered out her condo window, she saw a young man in the middle of the abandoned African American graveyard. All of the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex of Alexandria, on the south side of Old Town near the Beltway, is essentially in Hynes’ backyard. But where she saw the teen — the Douglass Cemetery — lies directly under her window, and it’s the most poorly maintained of all.


Listening Session Acknowledges the Pain of Racism

In the 1950s, Charlottesville’s black and white residents didn’t go to the same restaurants. They didn’t use the same bathrooms. They sat in different places on the bus. Their children went to different schools. There was a black Catholic church and a white Catholic church. President Dwight Eisenhower had to use federal troops to integrate the public high school in 1959.

Bishop Ireton

Ireton Students’ ‘Phenomenal Friday’ Celebrates Black History Month

The African-American Heritage and Culture Club (AAHAC), a fairly new club at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, is making a significant impact within the school. Led by juniors Taylor Johnson and Bryan Bokino, as well as senior Abigail Abraham, the AAHAC club debuted in early 2018. The main goal of the club is to inform the community on African-American history, culture and heritage.

Black History Month 2018

Celebrating Black History Month

From the 1920s through the 1960s more than 300,000 African-Americans across the country chose to enter into communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Their choices to become Catholic set them apart from most African-American Christians who were members of Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal and Holiness traditions.

st. joseph

First Black Parish in Arlington Diocese Turns 100

What better way to kick off a year of parish pride then with a Mass? An unusually warm and sunny mid-winter day greeted St. Joseph parishioners as Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde celebrated the centennial opening Mass Feb. 8 at St. Joseph Church in Alexandria.


Mother Mary Lange’s Cause for Sainthood Moves Forward, Archbishop Lori Says

Vatican officials are moving ahead with the cause for sainthood for Mother Mary Lange, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said Thursday in Rome. If canonized, Mother Lange, the founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, would be become the first black American saint.

Beverly Anderson

Father Tolton and Mary Lange Award Nominations

The Father Augustus Tolton and Mother Mary Lange Award is given to an individual who works diligently, tirelessly and effortlessly among the Black Catholic community of our diocese, to promote and further evangelization. The award recipient is nominated by peers and selected by the nomination committee. Submit your nomination today!

Fr. Tolton

Fr. Tolton Advances Toward Sainthood

Fr. Augustus Tolton, former African American slave, advances toward sainthood”, in the description section, put Pope Francis recognized the heroic virtue of Fr. Tolton June 12 making him “venerable” within the Church, only two steps away from canonization. With the decree, Catholics are now authorized to pray directly to Tolton as an intercessor before God.

Bishop Howze

Bishop Howze Dies January 9, 2019

Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze, the founding bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi and the first black bishop in the 20th century to head a U.S. diocese, died Jan. 9. He was 95.

Read more at the Arlington Catholic Herald
Beverly Anderson

Beverly Anderson awarded at Tolton play

Beverly Anderson, business manager at St. Joseph's Church in Alexandria, VA is this year's recipient of the award. She was surprised with the plaque at the free performance of "Tolton: From Slave to Priest". Read more about the award and the play!

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Mother Mary Lange

Prayer for the Beatification of Mother Mary Lange

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Black Catholic Pastoral Plan

The Pastoral Plan of Action Instrument released

We are pleased to announce the release of the NBCC Pastoral Plan of Action Instrument, developed by delegates from across the country, appointed by their bishops. We encourage you to read through the document and use the action steps as guides to help structure the outreach within your diocese, parish, or organization.

Read more!
Sisters of the Holy Family featured content

Sisters of the Holy Family 175th Anniversary

The Sisters of the Holy Family 175th Anniversary celebration at St. Joseph in Alexandria, VA was a great success! Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible. Sr. Geneva James & Sr. Clara Mae Jackson gave excellent presentations during the Masses and were very engaging during the reception that followed.

See Photos!
Gerard Marie-Anthony Ordination

Meet the Second Black Catholic Permanent Deacon to be Ordained in the Diocese of Arlington!

Gerard-Marie Anthony became the second Black Catholic Permanent Deacon to be ordained in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington on Saturday, January 14, 2017. Bishop Michael Burbidge ordained him at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington, VA. Gerard Marie-Anthony is a theologian, author, apologist, and religion/bioethics teacher at Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School. He is a long time member of the Legion of Mary and has published many articles in the Catholic literary world and has given talks for Confirmation retreats, adult education, young adult gatherings, bible studies and Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Person. Congratulations, Deacon Marie-Anthony!

DeKarlos Blackmon Director of life charity and justice for diocese of austin

Stand Up and Speak Out: Racism is a Sin

Read a thoughtful reflection on the unrest in Charlottesville and our country by DeKarlos Blackmon, the Director of Life, Charity, and Justice for the Diocese of Austin.

Read the article
BC Julia Greeley featured content

Sainthood Cause Opened for Julia Greeley, a Former Slave

In December 2016, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver, Colorado formally opened the sainthood cause of Julia Greeley, a former slave from Missouri, who spent her days caring for the poor.

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Prayer for Peace in Our Communities image

Prayer for Peace in Our Communities

Let us pray... O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness, no thought of ours is left unnoticed, no desire or concern ignored. You have proven that blessings abound when we fall on our knees in prayer, and so we turn to you in our hour of need. Surrounded by violence and cries for justice, we hear your voice telling us what is required... "Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Mi 6:8). Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn, may be merciful to others. Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism so that we may seek peace and justice in our communities. Strengthen our hearts so that they beat only to the rhythm of your holy will. Flood our path with your light as we walk humbly toward a future filled with encounter and unity. Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts, for only by the prompting of your grace can we progress toward virtue. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Download the Prayer for Peace in Our Communities Prayer Card
Altar with Crucifix

Multicultural Mass Information

Discover when and where to attend a Mass in a different language or with a specific culture. The Catholic Diocese of Arlington offers multiple, regular Masses for the following communities: Brazilian, Cameroon, Deaf Ministry, Eritrean (Ge'ez Rite), Filipino, Irish (Gaelic), Ghanaian, Indian Syro-Malabar Rite, Indian (Tamil), Korean, Sierra Leone and Vietnamese.

View Our Mass Schedule