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First African American Catholic School Teacher to be Honored

Rev. David A. Jones, Archbishop Cupich’s Liaison to the Black Catholic Initiative, will join hundreds of students from Archdiocesan Catholic schools, on Friday, February 26, at 9:30 a.m., at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior Streets in Chicago, to celebrate Black History Month. As part of the celebration, each student attending the service will receive a special prayer bracelet. Each bracelet reads, “Blessed + Educated in a catholic school.

This Prayer Service marks the 38th anniversary of the celebration that brings together students, administrators, parishes and clergy to share in honoring the rich history of Black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The theme of the Prayer Service is, “We are Different Because We are One.” This year’s celebration was planned by students from Archdiocesan Catholic schools. With supervision, they discussed the structure of the liturgy and chose how they wanted to see themselves reflected in the celebration.

This year’s Black Heritage Award Honoree is Mrs. Bobbie Hicks, the first African American teacher in the Archdiocese of Chicago. In 1953, Mrs. Hicks was a public school teacher when the principal of St. Elizabeth School came to her and told Mrs. Hicks that she was needed at St. Elizabeth. After much prayer with her husband, Mrs. Hicks accepted the position and mission. She retired from the Archdiocesan Catholic School system in 1995 and is currently a parishioner at St. Martin De Porres Parish in Chicago.

“I’m very happy to support this effort. No matter their own racial heritage, our Catholic school students should be actively engaged in Black History Month activities,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, Superintendent of Catholic Schools. “African-Americans are central to the history of our city and our local Church.”

About the Archdiocese of Chicago

The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest in the United States, serves more than 2.2 million Catholics in 353 parishes in Illinois’ Cook and Lake Counties, a geographic area of 1,411 square miles. The Archdiocese, pastored by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, has more than 15,000 employees in its systems and ministries, including Catholic Charities, the region’s largest nonprofit social service agency. The Archdiocese also has one of the country’s largest seminaries. The Archdiocese’s 230 elementary and secondary schools comprise the largest

U.S. private school system and have garnered more U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards than any system of any type in the nation.

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