O.B.C. Kujenga Retreat 2015

On the weekend of July 31st– August 1st 2015, the Office of Black Catholic Ministries held its annual youth/young-adult retreat entitled Kujenga. Kujenga-Viongozi are Swahili words that mean, “To build leadership.”  The purpose of Kujenga-Viongozi is to develop leadership skills among high school students & young adults, in the Black Catholic tradition.  With Christ at the center, we encourage them to attain knowledge about the role people of African descent play in the history of the Catholic Church, past & present and to attain the skills to proclaim their Catholic faith with confidence & commitment.

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Kujenga Banner

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All the teens and workers at Kujenga 2015. At the center in Purple is this year’s guest Speaker Dr. Augustine

Present at this year’s conference were a total of 85 youth and young adults and 10 staff members from the Archdiocese of Boston and the Dioceses of New Bedford and Providence.The weekend began with a series of ice breakers and community building activities that also took place throughout the weekend. Throughout the whole weekend Teens and Young Adults were placed in “Families” in which they were each assigned a saint a black Saint to learn more about them and how influential they were in the Catholic Faith.

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Youth participating in ice breakers

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Youth participating in ice breakers

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youth participating in ice breakers

This year’s main speaker was Dr. Ansel Augustine. “Dr. Ansel Augustine is the Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. 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. 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 16 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. Ansel presently serves on the board for the New Orleans Black Indian Alliance (NOBIA) and 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.” [Taken from the NOLA Catholic Experience]

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Ma, Fr. Orcar Pratt, Dr. Augustine

 The retreat then continued with talks, prayers and Mass in which Fr. Oscar Pratt was the main celebrant and Fr. Gustave Miracle from the Haitian Community and Fr. Rocco Puopolo from The Xaverian Order were con-celebrants.

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Fr. Rocco, Fr. Orcar Pratt, and Fr. Gustav Miracle

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Fr. Oscar Pratt giving his homily

The Kujenga Board always comes together to give these teens/ young-adults an amazing experience in their faith. Thank you to Lorna Des Roses, Director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries in Boston and Gail Mattulina Operations Assistant for the Office of OBC along with their team members from other dioceses whom helped put together a joyous weekend filled with blessings among our youth and young adults.

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The Kujenga team

For more pictures of Kujenga click HERE

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