ATHENS, Ga. — In celebration of Black History Month, the Catholic Center at theUniversity of Georgia here offered poetry, music and plays of African-American artists.
The Center’s second annual Black History Month celebration took place on Feb. 22 in the afternoon.
“It is one of our attempts to be more multicultural in a predominantly white setting,” said David Hyman, OFM, who ministers at the Center. Thomas Vigliotta, OFM, the center’s director, was also on hand for the celebration.
Celebrating African-American Artists
David, who co-chairs the Province’s African-American Ministry Committee, said the students heard the poetry of Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes, the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and part of a play by August Wilson.
The student choir sang traditional hymns “We Shall Overcome” and “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” especially appropriate since it was written for Abraham Lincoln.
The Center also welcomed Willie Mae Eberhart, head of a local African-American church, and Grammy Award winner for her album, “The Art of Field Recording, Vol. 2.” Eberhart and her praise team sang four contemporary spirituals.
“There were several other presentations in what evolved to be a warm and rewarding afternoon,” David said.
The friar, who will be solemnly professed 50 years this summer, said he hopes to celebrate Juneteenth on June 19, the day two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, when the last slaves in Galveston, Texas, were told they were free.
Province History in Georgia
Friars have more than a 50-year presence on the campus of the University of Georgia, starting in 1957 when they began student ministry. HNP friars first began directing the University of Georgia Newman Club at Athens, at the invitation of then Atlanta Bishop Francis Hyland. Named for Cardinal John Henry Newman, Newman Clubs are Catholic campus ministry programs.
Past directors from the Province include Robert Menard, OFM, John McDowell, OFM, Steven Pavignano, OFM, and the late Joseph Holohan, OFM.