Black Catholic Messenger :

Remembering Helen Caldwell Riley Day

On this, the first Sunday of Advent, Black Catholics around the country can say for the first time that there is a red hat among their ranks. On Saturday, history was made. From humble beginnings in Chicago to the halls of Rome, Cardinal Wilton Daniel Gregory is America’s newest member of the Sacred College.

But today is also special for another reason: it is the feast day of saint-to-be Servant of God Dorothy Day, a pioneer in all things seamless garment and mother of the Catholic Worker Movement. And while it has had its struggles with racism over the years, it is right to honor her for what she and her movement were able to accomplish for (and often at the hands of) Black Catholics.

Dr. Arthur G. Falls, one such Black Catholic, founded the first Catholic Worker in his and Cardinal Gregory’s hometown in 1936—roughly a decade before the cardinal was born. In fact, Gregory went to grade school less than 10 minutes from Falls’ childhood parish. It is likely they crossed paths, and Falls lived to see Gregory become the first Black Catholic bishop in Chicago. He died on January 9th, 2000.  Read on>>>>