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Lyke Conference in San Antonio June 23-27

The 2015 Archbishop James Patterson Lyke Conference and Father Clarence Rivers Music Institute – based on the theme “I am Black. I am Catholic. I am Here: Celebrating Milestones” – will be held June 23-27 in San Antonio, Texas, in partnership with the Oblate School of Theology.
The conference is sponsored by the Lyke Foundation, which cultivates, celebrates and commissions leadership to develop powerful and effective Black Catholic worship, said New Orleans Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri.
 This year’s conference in San Antonio has added significance because of the partnership with the Oblate School of Theology, which is providing several speakers and presenters with doctorates in theology and other fields, Bishop Cheri said.
“We are both reaping the benefits because we are using their professors,” Bishop Cheri said. “We are helping develop African-American pastoral leadership. There are enough people with doctorates so that we can offer certification for catechists and for anyone else who needs verification for continuing education.”
Bishop Cheri said he expects about 50 people from the Archdiocese of New Orleans to attend the conference, and he hopes that number will grow. Bus transportation is being planned, leaving New Orleans on June 22 at 11 p.m.
“We’re raising the bar this year, and that’s a bar we can’t go under,” Bishop Cheri said.
The conference will open June 23-24 with the Rivers Institute, which focuses on music ministry. Presenters include Richard Cheri, Jennifer Broyard Bonam and Jalonda Robertson from the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
The Lyke Conference will get underway June 24 at 7 p.m. with a keynote address by Dr. Father Bryan Massengale on the conference theme.
Other major speakers include Jesuit Father Joseph Brown, Father David Jones, Dr. Diana Hayes, Dr. Julia Battle, Dr. Ansel Augustine, Dr. Patrick Bradley, Father Tony Ricard, Father Manuel Williams, School Sister of Notre Dame Addie Walker and Bishop Cheri.
The Saturday morning closing liturgy will celebrate the memorial of St. Moses the Black, whose feast day falls on the church calendar with St. Augustine, which often means his life story is overlooked, Bishop Cheri said.
St. Moses the Black, an Ethiopian, was born around 330, and was reputed to have a bad temper and made his living as a thief.
He eventually converted to Christianity, joining a group of monks in the Scete desert. He was ordained as a priest, but he was later killed by nomads who attacked the monastery. St. Moses decided not to defend the monastery because he did not want to violate Jesus’ admonition to “turn the other cheek.”
“It’s a conversion story,” Bishop Cheri said. “It’s based on a man who acknowledged, ‘I am Black. I am Catholic. I am here.’ He stood firm for it. He died for it.”
For more information on the Lyke Conference, go to or call (985) 287-0161.
Archbishop Lyke served as the fifth bishop and fourth archbishop of Atlanta from 1991-92.

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