Office of Multicultural Ministry
By Ruby Thomas, The Record
The hundreds of people who gathered for the 35th annual African American Catholic Leadership Awards Dinner on July 30 heard from Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre that the ability to love plays an important role in writing one’s narrative.
During his presentation, Archbishop Fabre reflected on the theme of the event — “Writing Our Own Narrative.”
The archbishop said he was “deeply honored” to take part in the event — his first as shepherd of the Archdiocese of Louisville. To the 22 adult and youth honorees, he said he was grateful and that their efforts advance the church’s mission and the common good.
“I thank you for your dedication and hard work. I thank you for your heart and your hands that you place in service to so many,” said Archbishop Fabre.
In reflecting on the theme, he said that people of faith write their narrative “more in actions than in our words.”
That narrative “comes into existence by giving of ourselves generously to those things that we love and those things that inspire our passions, those things that grab our attention and move us to action,” he said.
The ability to love, he said, plays an important role in how that narrative is written.
“Things that inspire us and things that demand that we act in love can be found at the very foundation of all that we do,” he said.
The archbishop shared five abilities to love, which, he said, he hoped could be found at the foundation of the narrative being written by each person:
A healthy love of oneself. Healthy self-love allows individuals to recognize and use their gifts not in a “competitive” manner but in a “complimentary” manner, where those gifts can enrich the community and “enhance the lives of others, especially those who suffer.”
The ability to love others. “There’s a responsibility to appropriately love and serve others,” said Archbishop Fabre, noting that the ability to love others leads individuals to make a positive impact through service.
Love for the church. The church in its divine foundation, Jesus Christ, is perfect, said the archbishop. However, “It’s been entrusted to the care of humans who can be flawed and sinful.” Among the church’s flaws is racism, causing some to question how Black Catholics can continue to love the church, he said. The answer, said the archbishop, is learning how to love something that is imperfect. This is done through loving one’s self and through loving family members and friends, all who are imperfect.
Love of the vision given to the followers of Christ. “It’s a vision put into focus by Jesus Christ. … It’s the vision of the kingdom of God, the reality of the world where greatness and power are not of concern but rather people serving and relating to one another in self-sacrificing love,” said Archbishop Fabre.
Love for God. Love for God “fuels and gives life to the other aspects of writing our narrative. … God is love and God invites us into the love that unites the three persons of the Trinity as one,” said the archbishop.
Following his presentation, the archbishop congratulated the honorees and presented the Acacia Award, the highest honor, which recognizes individuals for years of service to the community.
The Acacia Award was presented to Janie and Robert Henderson and Emily Mosby, members of St. Augustine Church; Geraldine Weathers, a member of Christ the King Church; community advocate Rev. Andre Barnes; and Deacon Royce Winters, from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
The Genevieve Boone Award — which recognizes “trailblazers in the areas of cultural enrichment, education and formation from an Africentric perspective,” was presented to Tianna Barnes-Palmer, a member of St. Martin de Porres Church.
Receiving the Deacon James and M. Annette Mandley-Turner African American Leadership Award were: Dorice Firmin, St. Martin de Porres Church; De’Shonda Lockhart, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church; Sharon Warfield, Immaculate Heart of Mary; and Philip Marbry, St. Augustine Church.
Ten young people also received high school and college scholarships called the Rodriq McCravy Awards. They were:
Eighth graders — Karrion Dishman, St. Augustine; Carmen Montgomery, Immaculate Heart of Mary; Danari Timberlake-Turner and MyZanae Baskett-Turner, St. Martin De Porres.
High school seniors — JaBriah Robinson, Immaculate Heart of Mary; Kamryon Morgan, St. Martin De Porres; Zahria Hazelwood, Holy Rosary Church in Springfield, Ky.; Destiny Wimberly, St. Martin de Porres; Chretien Nishimwe, St. Bartholomew Church; and Samantha Saunders, St. Monica Church in Bardstown, Ky.