"The call to engage the laity in the prayer life of the church underlies Sweet, Sweet Spirit. The old should bless the young. The adults should offer protection to the old and the young. The very young should practice their faith in the presence of their elders. And the church should shout, 'Amen.'"
from the Introduction
Communal prayer in the Black Catholic tradition has been one of the most creative developments in the last half-century of liturgical development. This collection of prayer services from the Black Catholic church holds a few examples of how the Black Catholic community has been working on building the stones of our journey (Joshua 4:19-14), stones built on the lives of our ancestors of faith, the songs of our brothers and sisters, the dances of our most ancient kin and the sounds of the drums that guided them.
Authors Brown and Cheri composed prayer services that allow for "emotional, effective, dramatic, soulful performance in worship." The prayer services provide inspiration to evangelize and are ecumenical.
Sweet, Sweet Spirit features:
• Libation rituals
• Prayer services for gathering, blessing the home, Black History Month, presentation in the Temple, reconciliation, Good Friday, Thea Bowman, women, men's day, youth retreat, funerals and dedications
• Litany of the saints
• General intercessions
• Anointing for evangelization
JOSEPH A. BROWN, S.J., a professor in the Black American Studies Program at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, has graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Yale University. He wrote Accidental Grace (Callaloo Press), A Retreat With Thea Bowman and Bede Abram: Leaning on the Lord (St. Anthony Messenger Press) and To Stand on the Rock: Meditations on Black Catholic Identity (Orbis), and many essays on African American literature.
FERNAND CHERI, III, O.F.M., a guidance counselor and administrative staff member at Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, Illinois, has graduate degrees from Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, and the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans. He is a choir director and an archivist of Black religious music, with a collection of 3,500 recordings of gospel music and files of gospel sheet music. He works with the Archbishop James P. Lyke Liturgical Conferences.
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