Archdiocese of Washington, African American Ministry
Saint Columba Church in Oxon Hill, Maryland (a parish of the Archdiocese of Washington) has a rich history of helping evangelize the African American community in Prince George’s County. In November 2003, then Pastor Fr. Michael King founded the African American Ministry, which then selected St. Josephine Bakhita, who was sold into slavery at the age of seven, as their Patron Saint. St. Josephine Bakhita obtained liberation in 1885 and entered the Institute of Saint Magdalene of Canossa in 1893. She became well loved by the children attending the sisters’ school and the local citizens. She was quoted as saying, “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know the God!”
The mission of the African American Ministry continues a long tradition of enhancing the participation of the African American Catholics in the community and in educating all involved to share their rich and vibrant history. The African American Ministry not only serves the local Church, but also provides a vital connection with the Archdiocese of Washington’s Office of Cultural Diversity, the National Black Catholic Congress and the neighboring parishes in the Archdiocese. The African American Ministry at St. Columba also supports the universal Church and broader community by embracing diversity and encouraging unity through the performance of charities and development of enrichment programs.
Now in its 17th year, the African American ministry’s dedicated work in evangelization and outreach continues to influence the lives of so many in Prince George’s county. The Black and Indian Mission Office’s support of programs in communities like Saint Columba, through the Archdiocese of Washington, has made a difference in the lives of literally thousands of people for more than 12 of those years!