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Lyke House to mark 25th anniversary with concert and Black Catholic digital library launch

The historic Newman Center on the campus of the Atlanta University Center is celebrating its silver jubilee with a yearlong series of events.

(Lyke House)

The Lyke House Catholic Newman Center at the Atlanta University Center will kick off its 25th anniversary this weekend in Georgia, part of a yearlong celebration of the institution’s legacy for Black Catholic students and educators. 

Its annual Bowman Scholars concert, led by AUC music majors who assist with ministry at the Lyke House, will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25, under the direction of Kevin Johnson. The program honors Servant of God Thea Bowman and the late Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM of Atlanta, after whom the center was named at its founding in 1999.

The Lyke House, which serves the constituent schools of the AUC—Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine—will also use the event to celebrate the launch of a new resource coinciding with Black History Month: the Lyke House Digital Library Project.

Fr Urey Mark, who has led the Lyke House as chaplain since 2015, spearheaded the effort with the help of project manager Dr. Alice Prince and a grant from the Porticus North America Foundation.

“This Digital Library hopes to capture the imagination of collegians, young people, and all who enter the Lyke House both in person or virtually on the digital platform,” Mark said in a statement describing the new project.

“It will be a resource epicenter where students from diverse backgrounds and other online guests can do research on the history of Black Catholic parishes and organizations, saints and those in the process of canonization, liturgical music resources, and have access to the digital art gallery and Black Catholic music history archives.”

The library also includes a list of Black Catholic priests, religious brothers, and women religious in the United States, numbering upwards of 1,300.

Another unique feature of the project is its repository of the personal papers of Lyke himself, the second African-American Catholic archbishop in history. He served in Atlanta from 1990 until his death in 1992 from cancer. His effects are included in an on-site museum at the Lyke House dedicated to his legacy—now available in a 3D format on the digital library website.

“This digital library hopes to inspire missionary discipleship and an ordinary opportunity to encounter Christ,” Fr Mark wrote in an announcment earlier this year.

“It will be a good tool for teaching and the transmission of the Catholic faith and culture, by providing a living history and educational resources to this generation and beyond.”

Sunday’s kickoff concert at the Lyke House will begin at 5pm ET and will be followed by a reception. A livestream will be available on the Lyke House website.

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

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