They paid homage to African-American trailblazers who tore down barriers and thrived. And they held hope for their countrymen in Nigeria, who are bracing against Boko Haram extremism and reeling from ethnic tensions marking this month’s presidential election between a Christian man and his Muslim rival.
“The upcoming elections are causing a lot of troubles, worries, and pain,’’ prayed Adesuwa Igbineweka, a 30-year-old Nigerian immigrant who lives in Dorchester. “Let us pray for all the Christians and non-Christians in Nigeria . . . that God will bring peace to the country.”
Her words inspired contemplation among about 200 African-Americans and Africans who gathered Sunday at St. Katharine Drexel Parish Church for a Mass to celebrate the start of Black History Month.
Black people from all over the world have learned from one another and leaned on each other in times of strife, the Rev. Donatus Ezenneka said during Sunday’s homily.
Harkening the resolve of civil rights icon Rosa Parks — who refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus — and alluding to problems in his Nigerian homeland, Ezenneka preached a message of peace and love. He urged worshippers to never forget the suffering of people in far-off countries, where religious and ethnic turmoil rages.
“When we celebrate freedom today, let us also think about our brothers and sisters outside the United States,’’ Ezenneka said.
St. Katharine Drexel Parish Church is a century-old church whose worshippers include African-Americans and Africans. In early February each year, parishioners gather for one giant celebration of black achievements.
Source: Boston Globe | Meghan E. Irons