Bishop Fernand Cheri III, OFM will celebrate Mass this weekend in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Peachtree City, Georgia—his latest stop since evacuating New Orleans following Hurricane Ida.
The news was announced Monday on Facebook by his home parish, St Peter Claver Catholic Church, which noted that a number of evacuees landed in the Atlanta area.
Cheri, one of a half-dozen active Black bishops in the country, celebrated Mass last weekend in Montgomery, Alabama at Resurrection Catholic Church. He arrived there after Ida hit on August 29th—16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina.
While Ida did far less damage than that storm and caused only a fraction of the casualties, the resultant flooding has wreaked havoc up and down the eastern third of the country. Additionally, many areas in the Deep South—especially Louisiana—are only just now getting electricity back after major wind damage.
There were 109 confirmed deaths from the storm as of September 9th, including 89 in the United States (26 of which were in Louisiana).
While there, Cheri gifted Resurrection’s pastor, Fr Manuel Williams, CR, a copy of his “I’ve Known Rivers” Black Catholic episcopal crosses, co-designed by Augustine and Kevin Coleman Jr.
Also during the sojourn came yesterday’s feast of St Peter Claver, a special day for the New Orleans parish and for Black Catholics nationwide. Cheri was featured in a short video message for the occasion, posted to the parish’s Facebook page that afternoon.
“I pray that as we celebrate this feast day, we take seriously the call to be a people of faith and to witness that faith in the works that we share with one another,” he said in the roughly minute-long video.
“Continue to grow in the spirit of what it means for us to be the living body of Christ to all we meet.”
Cheri will say the Vigil Masses at Holy Trinity on Saturday, September 11th at 4pm and 5:30pm ET, and the Sunday Masses at 8:45am and 10:30am.
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).