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Virtual prayer service to honor Dr. Ansel Augustine, USCCB's new African-American liaison

The former diocesan official is returning to D.C. to help lead the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on African-American Affairs.

(Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary)

A virtual prayer service this week will honor Dr. Ansel Augustine as he begins his new role with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he was hired earlier this year. He is succeeding Donna Grimes as the assistant director of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on African-American Affairs.

The event, scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, is being co-sponsored by various Black Catholic organizations, including the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, and the National Black Sisters’ Conference.

Augustine, who most recently served for three years as the director of the Office of Black Catholic for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, was honored by Archbishop Greg Aymond and the local faithful with a farewell luncheon on March 9.

Local politicians also submitted public proclamations this month honoring Augustne’s longstanding work with young people and Black Catholics, which dates back a quarter of a century.

Officials honoring Augustine included New Orleans City Councilman Oliver Thomas Jr., U.S. Rep. Troy Carter Sr., and Louisiana State Senator Royce Duplessis, Augustine’s fellow parishioner at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in New Orleans,

“He is a man with unique gifts and charitable spirit and his inspiring qualities and generosity consistently leave indelible marks on the lives of the many individuals whom he touches,” reads Duplessis’ proclamation.

“Dr. Ansel Augustine is hereby celebrated for his vast accomplishments and wished much success in his future endeavors.”

Augustine is making his second move to the Washington metropolitan area, having previously relocated in 2020 to head up the Archdiocese of Washington’s Office of Cultural Diversity and Outreach during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interview: Dr. Ansel Augustine, new USCCB leader for African Americans
The former youth minister and diocesan official will help guide the U.S. bishops’ ministry to African Americans, succeeding longtime head Donna Grimes.

On his second go-around, now to work with the nation’s Catholic bishops in their outreach to African Americans, Augustine told BCM he is “excited about the difference of this time.”

“I never thought I'd be working at this level, and I just want to give him honor and glory while also honoring the work of the elders and ancestors that came before me.”

Wednesday’s virtual send-off service for Augustine will begin at 7:30pm CT and all are welcome to attend. Interested parties can register online and also sign up for a reminder email.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger.

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