BELLMAWR NJ--The eighth annual Catholic Mass in the African Traditions was celebrated Oct. 19, at St. Joachim Parish, Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, in Bellmawr. Parts of the Mass were read by representatives of South Africa, Cameroon, Zambia, Cote D'voire, Haiti, Ghana, and the United States in native dialects.
Music was provided by the Akwaaba Prayer Group, Iwene Tansi Philadelphia and New Jersey Igbo choirs, and the Diocesan Gospel Choir.
James Andrews, director of Black Catholic Ministries for the Diocese of Camden, called the day a "celebration, to recognize different cultures, in a festive atmosphere."
"The various colors of outfits and sounds from the choir made this annual celebration a very rich experience," he said.
The liturgy was celebrated by Father Alfred Onyutha from Holy Angels Parish in Woodbury Heights, with retired priest, Father Robert Gregorio; Father Ken Hallahan, senior priest at Our Lady of Hope, Blackwood; Father Joachim Oforchukwu, from Christ the Redeemer, Atco; and Father Alfred Mungujakisa, parochial vicar at St. Thomas, Brigantine. Assisting were Deacon William G. Johnson, from Parish of the Holy Cross, Bridgeton; and Deacon Vincent A. Okoro, from St. Andrew the Apostle, Gibbsboro.
Also in attendance were Father Yvans Jazon, administrator of St. Monica, Atlantic City; Father Grace Manano, parochial vicar of St. Clare of Assisi, Gibbstown; and Father Gerard C. Marable, pastor of St. Josephine Bakhita, Camden.
Written By Peter G. Sánchez for the Catholic Star Herald
E. Juliet Njoku leads the congregation in song. She is a member of the African Mass Planning Committee.(photo by Alan Dumoff for the Catholic Star Herald)