Cardinal and bishop celebrate Mass in African Traditions


Photo by Alan M. Dumoff


africanmass-webStanding from left at the Eucharistic Celebration in the African Traditions on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish were Deacon Vincent Okoro, Juliet Njoku, Bishop Joseph A. Galante, Cardinal Peter Turkson, and Juliet’s husband, Nnanna Ngene.


Bringing together African-born Catholics from the Diocese of Camden and beyond, the fifth annual Eucharistic Celebration in the African Traditions was celebrated Saturday, Oct. 30, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, St. Lawrence Church in Lindenwold.

Some 250-300 members of the African Catholic community came to share their spirituality, and their rich and diverse cultures.

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Joseph A. Galante; Father Joseph Capella, pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe; and priests and deacons from the African Catholic community.

The cardinal was in the area to visit his friend, Father Peter Saporito, pastor of St. Padre Pio Parish, Vineland. On Monday, Nov. 1, the cardinal celebrated Mass for students, faculty and staff of St. Mary School, East Vineland.

Akwaaba child dancers from Haiti, performed a “Hallowing of the Space” to drive out evil from the church. The Nigerian Iwene Tansi Ibo Choir, from St. Cyprian Church in Philadelphia, sang the entrance processional hymn.

Music was provided by the Unity Choir from Haiti, and the Prayer of the Faithful was read in the traditional languages of Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Zambia, Haiti, Liberia, Cameroon, Rwanda, and South Africa.

Corlis Sellers, Coordinator of the Black Catholic Ministry Commission for the Diocese of Camden, called the day “a beautiful, colorful, festive celebration of African tradition.”

Echoing Bishop Galante’s homily, which reminded the congregation that all are holy in God’s eyes, and are called to share their faith, spirituality, and culture with others, Deacon Vincent Okoro, from St. Andrew the Apostle, Gibbsboro, said the congregation “came together as people of God, to offer our spirituality to the diocese.”

After the Mass, a reception took place, where all in attendance could enjoy food from various African traditions.