A Mission for Justice: The History of the First African American Catholic Church in Newark, New Jersey

By Wister, Robert J. | The Catholic Historical Review, October 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Mission for Justice: The History of the First African American Catholic Church in Newark, New Jersey


Wister, Robert J., The Catholic Historical Review


A Mission for justice: The History of the First African American Catholic Church in Newark, New Jersey. By Mary A. Ward. (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press. 2002. Pp. xv, 215. $35.00.)

In the latter pages of this work, Mary Ward quotes a "man from Georgia" who said, there "ain't no special religion called Black Catholicism." The complex and fascinating story of Queen of Angels Parish in Newark, New Jersey, proves him right.

Ward credits Cyprian Davis for inspiring this book, and acknowledges the influence of Robert Orsi. Meticulously researched,/! Mission for justice draws from sources beyond diocesan and parish archives. Fortunately for the author, several pioneers of the parish were still alive to recount their stories; and many from the turbulent 1960's and 1970's offered their papers and recollections. Thus, the voices of African Americans resound throughout.

This is not a traditional "parish history." Because of the wide range of Queen of Angels influence, it is the story of African-American Catholics in the entire Newark archdiocese. Thanks to the skill of the author, it also fills a significant gap in the history of New Jersey's African-American community.

Always conscious of the importance of context, Ward introduces us to Queen of Angels by offering a well-craftecl synthesis of the history of Newark's AfricanAmerican and Catholic communities. Black Catholics, few in number, were "almost invisible" in the Newark diocese of the 1920's when their story begins. A small group of Black Catholic women would change this, going to the diocesan authorities to ask for and, eventually receive, a priest to minister to their community. Ward's attention to oral history clarifies the parish's origin, which, in official diocesan documents, was the original idea of the bishop.

Ward describes the complexity of the Black community of 1930's Newark, the status-conscious Protestant Black churches, and the community's relationship with various city offices and civic organizations. While, to contemporary eyes, the pastoral care of that era might appear paternalistic, Ward shows that it was an enlightened Catholic application of the Protestant "Social Gospel" of the era, with parishioner participation in decision making.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Mission for Justice: The History of the First African American Catholic Church in Newark, New Jersey
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?