DSHA Celebrates Black History Month with All-School Mass

At the forefront of DSHA’s mission is forming students in their whole person—in faith, heart, and intellect. To share in this Catholic Christian faith, all-school Masses offer a place for the entire student body to come together as one in community.
These all-school Masses are often a commemoration of special events like Catholic Schools Week or the closing of the school year, or church feasts such as Our Lady of Guadalupe. In February, the community celebrated two all-school Masses: Ash Wednesday Mass, and the newly
annual Black History Month Mass in conjunction with Black History Month and DSHA’s Multicultural Week.

The Black History Month Mass was planned and organized by the Sisters of Culture Club (SOC) and supported by Campus Ministry. Students from the club led the school in gospel music and performed a prayer and worship dance.

Gratitude and Persistence; Strength and Blessing

“The Black History Month Mass was a great honor,” said Mamaa Yorke, DSHA ’20, one of the student leaders of SOC. “It was an opportunity for the Sisters of Culture Club to express a culmination of our culture and faith through song, dance, and proclamation. Singing the song Lift Every Voice to and with the school allowed us to express the gratitude and persistence of the Black experience; it also serves as a song of gratitude to God for giving us strength and blessings.”

One Body with Diverse Gifts

“We celebrate Black History Month with a Eucharistic liturgy because‘ eucharist’ means thanksgiving,” adds Theology Faculty Lisa Metz, who also serves as the SOC club moderator. “We are deeply thankful for all of our students at DSHA, and our Black students deserve the opportunity to see images, hear voices, and pray words that are reflective of their culture. The universality of our Catholic faith gives us the belief that we are indeed One Body. We all benefit when we celebrate and give thanks for our diverse gifts.”


The traditional hymn, Lift Every Voice and Sing, was sung toward the end of Mass. Also known as the Black anthem, the song was written in 1919 by James Weldon Johnson as a prayer of thanksgiving to God for freedom and faithfulness. The final verse is sung as follows:

God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;

Thou who has by Thy might

Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,

Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;

Shadowed beneath Thy hand,

May we forever stand,

True to our God,

True to our native land.


Throughout February, and supplemental to curriculum, students participated in Black history trivia, the DSHA Student Diversity & Inclusion Council held a Dasher Dialogue on “If we’re all Dashers, why do we need to celebrate Black History Month?”, and Black history achievements were highlighted during daily announcements.

A Multicultural Celebration

In addition to Black History Month Mass, other events included a cultural food fair; an assembly for students toshare personal stories of identity and self-love; Open Mic Night—a celebration of diversity through various forms of art; and a Multicultural Dance.
    • Members of the Sisters of Culture Club shared gospel music throughout the celebration with Angelaire Makayla Hughes, DSHA ’21, (first row, far right) leading the choir.

    • Laetitia Faye, DSHA ’21, (front) and Moira Gonzales, DSHA ’20, were altar servers during the Mass.

    • Fr. Peter Patrick Kimani of St. Sebastian Parish of Milwaukee presided over the Black History Month Mass, with DSHA chaplains Fr. Dennis Thiessen, SDS, and Fr. Patric Nikolas, SDS, assisting.

    • Raised hands from the school community join Fr. Peter Patrick Kimani and Fr. Dennis Thiessen, SDS, in blessing the participants of the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, which was to take place this summer. The pilgrimage was cancelled due to COVID-19.


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