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Students Encouraged to Do More Than Just “Talk It” at Black History Month Mass

Seniors clap along with the music during the Black History Month Mass on Feb. 2, 2024. The mass is traditionally the most spirited of the school year. The choir from St. Monica Catholic Church brings their special renditions of traditional mass songs, which often leads to clapping, hoots and hollering from the student body.

In the most lively and upbeat mass of the year, so far, Rockhurst collaborated with the St. Monica Catholic Church parish and their choir to mark the beginning of Black History Month on Feb. 1. The event paid homage to the rich heritage and enduring contributions of African Americans. 

The mass was organized and led by the school’s Campus Ministry team, as usual. The team worked diligently to curate a meaningful and impactful experience that resonated with the entire school community. One of the main goals of this mass is to expose students to diverse cultures and traditions in the church.

“It’s another opportunity for our students to see that there are more than there’s more than one way to worship in the Catholic Church and that the Catholic Church is a universal church that adopts traditions of many cultures,” said Director of Pastoral Ministry Matt Nickson.

Rockhurst has consistently collaborated with St. Monica for this mass due to their location in the black community of Kansas City.

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“They’re there in the 18th and Vine, Jazz District,” said Nickson. “They’re near the Negro League Baseball Museum, the Jazz Museum. I think St. Monica probably predates all of those things.”

The atmosphere was filled with reverence and unity, buoyed by the soul-stirring music provided by the St. Monica choir in concert with Rockhurst singers and musicians. The music was different from the songs usually sung during Rockhurst masses, instead featuring a blend of traditional hymns and gospel songs.

Many of the songs are repetitive, so, rather than the sound and notes of the music, it is about the energy and joy the songs provide,” said Rockhurst choir member Landon Hochstein. “When singing with the choir, everyone’s energy and love make it a truly great way to worship.”

Father Adam DeLeon, S.J. served as the guest presider and homilist for the mass. Fr. DeLeon is currently the assistant principal for mission formation of Brébeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis.

During his homily, Fr. DeLeon emphasized the significance of honoring the accomplishments and enduring struggles of African Americans throughout history. He urged the students to continue their journey of learning and understanding the profound impact of African American contributions.

Fr. DeLeon spoke about how important figures in both African American and biblical history didn’t just talk about change. They worked to make change happen. He encouraged the Rockhurst community to “walk it like they talk it”, borrowing a phrase from a song by the Migos and Drake. He repeated the phrase multiple times throughout his homily, with almost each time generating appreciation in the form of either laughter or applause from the student body for the pop culture reference.

The mass, as a whole, kept most students engaged a large majority of the time.

“We got to sing along, and it felt like we were more a part of the mass. It was a really fun experience,” said sophomore Hudson Malfer.

The mass was not only a celebration of African American history, but also a call to action for the entire school community. It served as a poignant reminder of the ongoing work required to achieve racial equality and justice.

“I think that the mass opened my eyes to advanced ways of celebrating the Eucharist as well as made me realize the true importance of why different cultures and traditions need to be treated equally,” said sophomore Pierce Williams.

Overall, the Black History Month mass at Rockhurst High School was a powerful and moving event that brought together students, faculty, and staff to honor the enduring legacy of African Americans. It served as a poignant reminder of the importance of diversity, inclusion, and understanding, intended to inspire all in attendance to continue the fight for equality and justice for all.


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Sam LaSala
Sam LaSala, Staff Reporter
My name is Sam LaSala, and this year will be my first on the newspaper staff. In the past, I have always loved to write and talk to people for information that could be used on writing projects. I am extremely social, outgoing and creative. These attributes give me the confidence to say that I will be a great addition to the Rockhurst High School newspaper team. I want to write for the school newspaper, because I would love to be able to use my writing skills to my advantage to cover stories and other intriguing topics. Newspaper will not only be great for me now, but in the future as well. This subject can improve my writing skills now and give me more knowledge, and it will also look great on my resume for future schools and jobs. At the moment I am not involved in any clubs or extracurriculars at Rockhurst, but this sophomore year I plan to join a club and use it to my advantage as well. Getting involved in a club could get me more introduced to the school and other aspects as well--especially for the future. My goals for the future are to get above a 3.8 GPA and, possibly, even become a leader for various projects at the school. With these intentions in mind, I hope that they could boost my resume to get into as good a college as possible. As I progress in the newspaper this year I am enthusiastic to see what else it brings to the table.
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