In the closing weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign, the world could use some more civility. That’s the idea behind a “Divine Nine” Mass for peace and harmony that will take place Oct. 25 at St. Joseph’s Church on French Street in Wilmington. It begins at 1 p.m.
Father John McVoy, recently named administrator of the parish, organized the Mass after talking to the president of the New Castle County Pan-Hellenic Council, which is a coalition of the Divine Nine. The Divine Nine are the traditional fraternities and sororities in the African-American communities worldwide. They include Alpja Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta.
“There are quite a number of members of St. Joe’s that are part of the Divine Nine in one organization or another,” Father McVoy said. That includes himself. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, as are his father and son.
The time was right for this Mass to occur, he explained, and the Catholic Church provides a unique opportunity to pray for various causes.
“Given the circumstances of our country right now, the divisiveness, and the actions that are taking place throughout our country, the first thing that came to my mind after talking to a few people is that this is something we should do,” he said.
“The important thing is for us to be aware, to pray, to come together and to represent the church. This is an important part of who we are. It’s the way that we’ve been able to express our faith. A good majority of our own parishioners at St. Joseph’s are part of one of these organizations.”
The Catholic Church has the ability to adapt based on current circumstances, Father McVoy said, and includes Masses that can be said for a number of occasions, such as in times of war, for the consecration of an altar, or for the blessing of a marriage, for example.
“The church is magnificent in giving us circumstances that we are able to come together and pray for. It was because of that availability of taking one of the prayers that the church is offering – peace and harmony – it was more appropriate to do something like that in the context,” he said.
Musicians from St. Edmond’s Parish in Philadelphia will be on hand. The Mass will be live-streamed. Those who attend are required to wear a mask. Seating will be limited. Registration is available at www.eventbrite.com/e/divine-nine-mass-tickets-122576508637.