The Contra Costa Times profiled an engaging January 15 address by Rev. Edward Branch, the second guest lecturer in this month's Jan Term Speaker Series. The article "Redefining the Black church experience; Branch takes it beyond 'Baptist' and even theology to help define 'Celebrating the Black Catholic Experience' " noted that a crowd of more than 250 filled the Moraga Room in the Soda Center to hear Branch's lecture on "Black Catholic Voices."
The lecture by Father Branch, who is the Catholic chaplain for the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of historically black colleges and universities, explored the journey of African American Catholics, comparing it to the more familar story of Black protestants in America.
The lecture was part of an evening of programming called "Soulful & Sacred: Celebrating the Black Catholic Experience," which marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the College's sesquicentennial year and the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In addition to Branch's lecture, the evening of programming included a reception to honor Saint Mary’s African American alumni and the contributions of Saint Mary’s benefactor and San Francisco abolitionist Mary Ellen Pleasant, who is often referred to as the mother of California's civil rights movement and an uplifting concert in the College's chapel by Oakland’s St. Columba Catholic Church Gospel Choir, which was directed by one of the nation’s preeminent African American Catholic composers Rawn Harbor.