In this reflection for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2022, Dr. Ansel Augustine asks us the question: what are we willing to sacrifice for? Jesus looks at his disciples to make sure they understand that there will be times when they too will suffer because they follow him.
Dr. Augustine tells a brief story about the Treme area of New Orleans, and about its history in music, civil rights, and the Catholic Church, particularly that of Venerable Henriette Delille, one of six African Americans on the path to canonization, and how she sacrificed and suffered to minister and found the Sisters of the Holy Family.
If Jesus were to stand before you, what in your life would he draw to your attention? What circumstance or situation in your life are you being called to action? And remember, as you suffer and sacrifice, God is asking you, as he says in the gospel, to rejoice and leap for joy on that day, because behold your reward will be great in heaven.
Visit https://www.blackfaithmatters.com/ to learn more about the joy, pain, and struggles that are faced in the Black Catholic community, specifically in the Treme area of New Orleans, which is just one of many stories of the Black Catholic experience in the United States.
You are meant to live life to the full, and that starts with encountering and responding to the Lord. He has great plans for us, and it is only in a relationship with Him that we can truly become who we were created to be!
But how do we encounter Him, and how do we respond? It’s all as unique and personal as you are, and it’s built into the way He created you. Come and see.
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Dr. Ansel Augustine
Dr. Ansel Augustine is the New Orleans Area Director for Vagabond Missions, an outreach program to minister to the most at-risk youth in the community. He is also the Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He is the former Executive Director of Cultural Diversity and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Washington. Previously he served as the Associate Director/Coordinator of Black Youth & Young Adult Ministry for the CYO Youth & Young Adult Ministry Office. He is also on the Faculty of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana, Graduate Theological Foundation, and Loyola University New Orleans’ Institute for Ministry. Dr. Augustine has also served as a Campus Minister at Xavier University of Louisiana, Loyola University New Orleans, and St. John’s University in Queens, NY. Ansel has served on the board of directors for the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association (NCYAMA) and the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM). He began his career in ministry over 20 years ago when he became the youth minister at his home parish of St. Peter Claver in the Treme area of New Orleans, which he helped to rebuild following hurricane Katrina. He has presented workshops and keynotes around the country and has written various pieces related to ministry including The African American Catholic Youth Bible and Leveling the Praying Field: Can the Church we Love, Love us Back?. Ansel has worked in prison ministry for over 25 years in various capacities. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Knights of Columbus, the Knights of Peter Claver, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas (Black Masking) Mardi Gras Indians. He is also an Associate Member of the Sisters of the Holy Family in New Orleans, LA.