“Evil is contagious but so is Goodness,” said Auxiliary Bishop Roy Campbell of Washington, D.C., as he addressed the Mass of thanksgiving celebrated Feb. 17 at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston, to celebrate Black History Month.
The Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns and the Rockville Centre Office of Multicultural Diversity hosted the celebration. Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Neil Tiedemann, C.P., was the main celebrant.
“Too often we miss seeing God in this world and seeing the beauty and joy that is in this world for us, thanks to God. People come into our lives for a reason and we must embrace all of them,” said Bishop Campbell.
Bishop Campbell, who was making his first trip to the Brooklyn Diocese, illustrated his point with a story.
“A little boy one day decided he wanted to go out and meet God. He knew it was going to be a long trip so he packed a bag full of Twinkies and six pack of root beer. After walking a little bit he got tired and sat on a park bench next to an elderly man. The boy noticed the man was hungry so he gave him a Twinkie. The man accepted and smiled at the boy. The smile was so pleasant that the boy was filled with joy. The boy then shared a root beer and the man smiled again. They sat there without saying a word but just enjoyed each other’s company.
“The boy went home and told his mother he met God and that he had the most beautiful smile he has ever seen. The man went home and told his wife I met God today and you know he is much younger than I expected.”
Father Alonzo Cox, coordinator for the Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns, was happy so many people could come together to celebrate.
“The month of February is obviously Black History Month and it is an opportunity to give thanks to God for our rich history,” said Father Cox. “Today is a day of great joy to celebrate our history. We give thanks to God for our future and pray we can grow closer to the heart of Christ.”
Darcel Whitten-Wilamowski, coordinator of Rockville Centre’s Office of Multicultural Diversity added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and we never forget him and what he sacrificed for all of us. We give thanks; we lift ourselves up through his message and prayer. We come together as a community to remember him but to be together and be able to reach out and touch our history which allows us to feel the power of God.”
Bishop Tiedemann, who serves as the coordinator of the diocesan Ministry to Caribbean and Black Catholics added, “Today is a great celebration. It is so special to celebrate Black History Month. To hear stories and historical names of so many people that sacrificed for a better world and fought for their people is so inspiring and moving.”