For the second year, Juneteenth (June 19th) will be celebrated throughout the United States as a federal holiday, giving Americans ample opportunity to honor the legacy—and eventual freedom—of the African Americans enslaved in state-sanctioned bondage.
For Black Catholics, the day may hold special significance, as the original Juneteenth celebrations were born from the 1865 decree known as General Order No. 3, issued in Galveston, Texas, where the last enslaved African Americans remained for some time after Lincoln's proclamation in 1863. In that same city in 1528, an enslaved Black Catholic explorer named Esteban became one of the first Africans to set foot in what would become the United States.
Below can be found a variety of events celebrating Juneteenth this year in the Catholic tradition, those organized by Catholics, as well as those being held in a Catholic venue.
(This list is not exhaustive. All the included information is subject to change and should be confirmed with event organizers. Please contact your local diocese, Black Catholic office, or a Black parish in your area for more events.)
- 6/19 (Virtual): "My Whole Self" Black Catholic women's panel with FemCatholic at 6pm ET.
Archdiocese of Baltimore
- 6/18: Juneteenth address at 11:30am ET at St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Columbia, MD with Sherita Thomas, interim director for the Office of Black Catholic Ministries.
Diocese of Baton Rouge
- 6/18: Juneteenth Celebration with Alpha Phi Alpha at the Southern University MLK Catholic Student Center at 10am CT.
- 6/19: Juneteenth Celebration at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Prayer Service for Racial Healing in Our Land at 1pm CT, Rosary for Peace and Justice at 2pm, Stations of the Cross Overcoming Racism at 3pm, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 4pm.
Archdiocese of Boston
- 6/19: 12th Annual Juneteenth Emancipation Observance organized by Jumaada Abdal-Khallaq Henry Smith of St Katharine Drexel Catholic Church in Dorchester. Begins with parade at Nubian Square at 1pm ET followed by a community celebration on the NCAAA Museum grounds at 2:30pm with US Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Diocese of Bridgeport
Diocese of Buffalo
- 6/17 (Virtual): Juneteenth celebration with the Office of Social Justice and the diocesan African-American Commission at 8pm ET.
Diocese of Camden
- 6/18: "Faith Is Our Inheritance" Juneteenth prayer service at 11am ET at St Monica Catholic Church in Atlantic City.
Diocese of Charleston
- 6/20 (Virtual): Juneteenth speaker panel at 10am ET with Bishop Jacques Fabre-Jeune, CS, Dr. Kevin Johnson, Dr. Alison McLetchie, Fr Michael Okere, and the Hon. Arthur C. McFarland.
Archdiocese of Chicago
- 6/17: "The Call for Peace" rally and march at St Sabina Catholic Church at 7pm CT with Fr Michael Pfleger and the Chicago Bulls' Ayo Dosunmu.
- 6/18: Juneteenth Freedom Day celebration on the grounds of St Benedict Parish on Leavitt Street at 11am CT with Alderman Matt Martin, State Rep. Ann Williams, and US Rep. Mike Quigley.
- 6/19: Juneteenth Mass at St Sabina with guest speaker Marc Lamont Hill at 10am CT.
Diocese of Cleveland
- 6/17 (Virtual): Juneteenth Remembrance and Celebration with St Agnes-Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church at 4pm ET.
- 6/18: Juneteenth celebration at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, OH at 11am ET.
Archdiocese of Detroit
- 6/17: Mass of Peace and Justice Celebrating Freedom at Corpus Christi Catholic Church at 6:30pm CT with Fr Theodore Parker and Dcn Hubert Sanders.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
- 6/18: Juneteenth Jazz Jubilee at Immaculate Heart High School benefiting the Black Student Leadership Academy. Tickets $15.
Archdiocese of Louisville
- 6/20: Juneteenth Celebration at the St Agnes Catholic Church parish center at 6:30pm ET with the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center and Lamont Collins of the Roots 101 African-American Museum.
Archdiocese of Milwaukee
- 6/17: Juneteenth Weekend kickoff event at Marquette University from 12-4pm CT on the campus' Central Mall.
Diocese of Nashville
- 6/20: "Freedom for All" Juneteenth cookout at 5:30pm CT on the grounds of Christ the King Catholic Church.
Archdiocese of Newark
- 6/17: Commemorative, Contemplative Circle honoring Juneteenth on Seton Hall's University Green at 4pm ET with the Rev. Dr. Forrest Pritchett.
Archdiocese of New Orleans
- 6/18 (Virtual): "From Harm to Healing" Juneteenth Justice Symposium from Xavier University of Louisiana at 10am CT.
- 6/19: Juneteenth Commemoration at the Tomb of the Unknown Slave on the grounds of St Augustine Catholic Church at 12pm CT.
- 6/20: Juneteenth health equity event with XULA president Reynold Verret and Takeda VP Lauren Powell at 11am CT in the University Center ballroom.
Archdiocese of New York
- 6/18: Catholic Charities Father's Day Brunch and Juneteenth Celebration at the BronxWorks Betances Community Center at 11am ET.
- 6/19: Juneteenth Mass at St Cecilia Catholic Church at 9am ET with refreshments afterward.
Diocese of Orange
- 6/19: Juneteenth Mass at Christ Cathedral with Fr Claude Williams, O.Praem at 7:15pm PT.
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
- 6/19: Juneteenth celebration symposium at Cabrini University in Radnor, PA from 12-4pm ET.
Diocese of Phoenix
- 6/19: Juneteenth Unity Mass at St Pius X Catholic Church with Fr Andrew McNair at 12pm MT.
Diocese of Pittsburgh
- 6/17-19: Juneteenth Homecoming Celebration at Point State Park sponsored by Carlow University.
- 6/20 (Virtual): Juneteenth webinar at 10am ET with featured speaker Samuel E. Black.
Diocese of Raleigh
Diocese of Sacramento
- 6/17: Juneteenth Stations of the Cross and Mass at St Ignatius Catholic Church at 4:30pm PT. Followed by refreshments.
- 6/19: Gospel Mass and Eucharistic Procession opening the National Eucharistic Revival at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament at 10am PT.
Diocese of San Diego
- 6/19: Juneteenth Freedom Mass at 10am PT with Cardinal-elect Robert McElroy, Bishop-elect of Phoenix John Dolan, and Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano at St Rita Catholic Church.
Archdiocese of San Francisco
- 6/20: Juneteenth Celebration Recital with cantor Ash Walker at 12:45pm PT in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.
Diocese of Shreveport
- 6/18: Juneteenth parade beginning at St Benedict the Black Catholic Church in Grambling, LA at 11am CT. Community festival to follow.
Diocese of Springfield (Massachusetts)
- 6/19: Juneteenth Pancake Breakfast Celebration after 8:30am CT Gospel Mass and 10am Mass at St Michael's Cathedral with guest presenter Rhonda Gilbert.
Diocese of St Augustine
- 6/19: St Augustine Music Festival Juneteenth concert at 7:30pm ET with the Ritz Chamber Players and pianist Terrence Wilson at the Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine.
Archdiocese of St Louis
- 6/18: Inaugural "Forgive Us Our Trespasses" Maafa procession at 9am CT with Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, beginning with a prayer service at the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France.
Archdiocese of Washington
- 6/19: Juneteenth Mass at St Joseph Catholic Church in Largo, MD with Auxiliary Bishop Roy E. Campbell Jr.
Diocese of Wichita
- 6/18: Juneteenth parade beginning at Holy Savior Catholic Academy at 10am CT. $5 admission for adults; $3 children.
Diocese of Wilmington
- 6/29: Juneteenth celebration at St Joseph's Catholic Church on French Street with Fr Stephen Thorne at 6:30pm ET.
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).