Black Catholics invited to special year-end youth event

Musician and worship leader Ike Ndolo will lead an assortment of youth-centered events that will take place at ReachKCK (Blessed Sacrament campus) in Kansas City, Kansas, on Dec. 30.
Musician and worship leader Ike Ndolo will lead an assortment of youth-centered events that will take place at ReachKCK (Blessed Sacrament campus) in Kansas City, Kansas, on Dec. 30.

by Jessica Langdon
jessica@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — All it takes is a glimpse at recent news  — including the events in and related to Ferguson, Missouri — to sense that racial tensions are high in the nation.

That fact is not news to Deacon Dana Nearmyer, lead archdiocesan consultant for evangelization and Catholic formation of youth, who has long been collaborating with others to build bridges between people of many different backgrounds.

“Racial division is real in the world,” said Deacon Nearmyer.

Yet he sees hope and inspiration as well, and that’s one reason he’s looking forward to Dec. 30 and a first-of-its-kind event.

On that date, an assortment of youth-centered events will take place at ReachKCK (Blessed Sacrament campus), located at 2215 Parallel Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.

And each will feature musician and worship leader Ike Ndolo.

In addition to a workshop for young musicians at 2 p.m. and the archdiocesan worship and fellowship tradition called “One Thing Remains” at night, a dinner at 5 p.m. will bring together black Catholics from across the archdiocese to hear Ndolo’s story and to share theirs in return.

“Ike Ndolo will be sharing his personal story of growing up as a Catholic African-American young man,” said Liz Miller, Wyandotte County youth outreach coordinator. “His story uses a complementary blend of music and spoken testimony. We hope to open up the room to a guided discussion forum as well.”

The dinner/reception is free to the public and open to black Catholic families from across the archdiocese, with a special invitation to families with teens. It is sponsored by the archdiocesan youth office, in collaboration with the archdiocesan office for black Catholics.

“This is a dream come true for me,” said Deacon Nearmyer of the event.

While racial division is real, he said, “fellowship and dialogue quickly break down division.”

Ndolo, who was born in Missouri to Nigerian parents, developed an early and lifelong love of music.
Archdiocesan leaders are excited to share his musical gifts as well as his story.

“Ike Ndolo has a rich history to share and we couldn’t let it go unspoken, especially with our black Catholic families who may connect quite personally to his sharing of his faith, struggles and triumphs,” said Miller.

Miller added that she hopes the experience will offer something both meaningful and intentional to attendees.

“This will be an evening of not only fellowship, but will be spiritually refreshing as well,” said Miller.

Attendees are invited to stay for “One Thing Remains,” which is open to everyone across the archdiocese and begins at 7 p.m.

It will start in Blessed Sacrament Church with eucharistic adoration and worship — with music from Ndolo — followed by a reception at ReachKCK, which is just across the parking lot.


Full schedule for Dec. 30

Three events, all tied together, will take place in the afternoon and evening.

1. Teen VIP singer-songwriter-musician clinic with Ike Ndolo, a musician and worship leader
When: 2-4 p.m.
Where: ReachKCK (Blessed Sacrament campus), 2215 Parallel Ave., Kansas City, Kansas

2. Dinner/reception for black Catholic youth and families
When: 5 p.m.
Where: ReachKCK (Blessed Sacrament campus), 2215 Parallel Ave., Kansas City, Kansas
Information: Event open to black Catholic youth and families from across the archdiocese; sponsored by the archdiocesan youth office in collaboration with the archdiocesan office for black Catholics

3. “One Thing Remains”
When: 7-9:30 p.m.
Where: Blessed Sacrament Church, 2215 Parallel Ave., Kansas City, Kansas
Information: Starts with eucharistic adoration as an archdiocesan community in the church with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann. Ike Ndolo will lead musical worship. Following adoration and prayer, the group will cross the parking lot to ReachKCK for a reception with open-mic-style music, art projects, food and fellowship.
“One Thing Remains” is designed for teens and young adults, but parents are also welcome.

There is no cost for the day’s events, and registration is not required.

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