Black Catholic Voices interview with Ogechi Akalegbere, 2021 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award recipient

December 3, 2021 | Catholic Standard

(Ogechi Akalegbere, the Christian service coordinator at Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, Maryland, received the 2021 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award on Nov. 16 from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She is a member of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where she has served as a catechist and as co-chair of its Pastoral Council. She has also been active as a board member and community organizer for Action in Montgomery, a community advocacy organization rooted in Montgomery County’s neighborhoods and congregations. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington’s multimedia team of Geoffrey Ros and Ron Bethke taped the interview at St. Rose of Lima Parish’s Historic Chapel, and Mark Zimmermann, the editor of the archdiocese’s Catholic Standard newspaper and website, conducted the interview. Here are the video and transcript of the interview. )

How would you summarize your faith journey as a Catholic who is African American?

Ogechi Akalegbere – “So, I was born in Nigeria, and I was born to two Catholic parents and they baptized me in the Catholic faith back in Nigeria, and I’ve grown up with that faith foundation really integral in my family life and prayers and attending Mass and receiving the sacraments. I think for me the biggest way that I could summarize my faith journey has been “hills and valleys.”

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