St. Benedict the Moor was founded in 1918, nearly 100 years ago…at a time when African Americans weren’t allowed to worship in other nearby churches.
In 1958, the church moved to the building they’re in now, and became a center of the civil rights movement in Omaha.
“This is a place that generations of African American Catholics have worshiped here, and it was time to do something new and beautiful for God and that’s what we did,” said parishioner Dana Washington.
Sunday, Archbishop George Lucas led a special mass to consecrate a new altar and new sanctuary, which were part of an ongoing renovation project.
“And as we consecrate this altar, which has been so beautifully fashioned, we recognize it as a symbol of Jesus and as a place where he becomes present to us right here in the midst of this community,” Archbishop Lucas said in his homily.
A community where all races now come, worshipping together.
President of the Parish Council, Andrew Washington recalled seeing the new sanctuary for the first time.
“It was almost beyond words…The architect that put everything together worked day and night for us…The more work he did, the better it looked,” said Washington.
With new floors, walls, and ceiling, and a new altar, the parish members couldn’t be happier.
“It was fabulous to see the altar, the floors being completed. The renovation is so uplifting to the parish that we all feel overcome with joy,” said parishioner Elmer Crumbley.
“The work that’s been done here at St. Benedict the Moor is really beautiful and it’s a sign of the faith and of the people here. It was a real privilege to be able to consecrate the new altar,” Archbishop Lucas remarked of the renovations.
The parish will renovate the downstairs social hall next. But the most beautiful part of St. Benedict’s is the hearts of her people.
“We are a small church but we’ve got a lot of room for everyone, so come join us,” invited Andrew Washington.