Black Catholic Initiative

Tuesdays: 8 – 8:30 a.m.

Deacon John Cook hosts this weekly half-hour program that explores a wide range of topics relevant to Chicago’s Black and Catholic communities. Deacon Cook serves at St. Felicitas Parish in Chatham and is very involved in organizing and overseeing youth programs in the Bronzeville neighborhood. 

The program is produced under the auspices of the Archbishop of Chicago’s Black Catholic Initiative and his liaison, Fr. David Jones, an Archdiocesan Dean and Pastor of St. Benedict the African-East Parish in Englewood.


Sunday, July 14, 2019
Deacons Leroy Gill, James Norman, and Roscoe Dixon shared the beginnings on the Sunrise Prayer Service scheduled for August 2019. Each of them shared their memorable moments and also the difficult challenges trying to curb violence among our youth.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Bre Bullock, the gifted entrepreneur behind B'unek design among other talents, shared her faith, drive, and passion amidst a busy work schedule and pursuits of establishing T. G. B. (Thankful, Grateful, and Blessed) and Angel's in Motion. She was supported by her close partnership/family supporters Tara Harris and Shawn Logan.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Sean Flynn was the guest on today's program. Sean is coordinater for youth programming at Distinctive Schools. He is also an accomplished author of a self published book containing advice on mentoring youth. Sean shared his humble beginnings, his exciting new challenge with Distinctive Schools and his thoughts on the family and youth of today.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Today's guest Professor Ted Williams from Kennedy King College shared his passion for God's people and his Juneteenth sneak preview and ultimate production in August.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Clara Hubbard is a senior citizen advocate and talk show host who provides a plethora of services and activities for seniors and shares with our community how they can get involved and keep up to date.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Abraham Morris, Director of the Dax Program for Depaul U.S.A., talked to us about the student homelessness program and the offerings for Depaul students to attend school while providing them with housing. Next week they will be having their annual fundraiser to help support the needs of the Chicago area homeless community that affects students nationally with a population of approximately 58,000 students.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Demetra Willis spoke with us and shared her investment opportunities for listeners and a few wise words for listeners looking an opportunity to grow financially and spiritually


Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Today we revisit our guest from two weeks ago. Sister Jamie Phelps shared with us some symptoms that have led to fractured families and communities and she offers practical advice to improve our relationships in both the family and the church.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Dr. Andrew Prevot, associate professor of Theology at Boston College in Massachusetts, was our guest for this program. He is conducting a lecture at the University Of Chicago on Thursday, May 9th 2019 at the Common Room in Swift Hall. Dr. Prevot is speaking on The Hope of Exodus in Black and Womanist Theology. He also shared with us his Catholic upbringing, as well as hopes and resources that expand the thought and current theories for blacks to be liberated and freed.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Sister Jamie Phelps was our guest today and she shared with us her diagnosis of improved health as well as her humorous side while experiencing the aging process. She shared her thoughts on the significance of bible study for building family and community while asking questions like "Who is God?" "Who is He to you?" and "What does He desire us to do?


Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Christopher Mallett joined us today and talked about his New Coaching and Community Director position at Hope Academy. He just finished up 9-0 at Whitney Young H.S. and improved their program for his replacement.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Albert Anderson is a band director, musician, and Sir Knight of Knights of Columbus. He is an accomplished musican who has played around the globe. He is married for 45 yrs and attributes that to his freedom to be who he is as a musician. Albert is currently finishing up a new CD release and developing a podcast on YouTube called "The Seed Group."


Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Naomi Palacios, outreach coordinator for Augustus Tolton Catholic Academy, was our guest this morning. She has a rich Catholic heritage and father who is famous in Guatemala having played in the Olympics and International basketball for the Guatemala national team. Naomi is a talented violinist and dancer and feels her calling to listen and be kind to people is one of the skills she learned from her family. She is also interested in helping and supporting black businesses to succeed.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019
On today's program the Reverend Gerald Jordan shared with us his ministry of promoting the 5 black candidates for Sainthood, and he shared their individual battles and triumphs. He also shared his feelings regarding the church's silence on the significant contribution each candidate gifted to the church. Finally he expressed his only goal or desire was to seek the kingdom of God and His heavenly glory.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Carol Reed is the owner and C.E.O. of Special Friend Careers, which is a Medical Field training program specializing in Phlebotomy and X-ray technicians. She feels God preserved her life beyond stage 4 cancer to provide jobs for people, and that companies are always looking for these valuable services.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Jordan Little talked about an app he created called Community CupLift. It's an application that assists businesses, not for profits, and individuals gather resources to provide assistance for a myriad of reasons and so much more. Currently, Jordan is an account representative for Career Builders but from the way it looks he is also building his own career towards entrepreneurship.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Ed Crosby is a Radio DJ, entrepreneur, and life coach. He shared with us his humble beginnings on Chicago's westside. His interest as a DJ began when he was 13 years old, and he was mentored by Kenny "Jammin'" Jason, who he is still friends with to this day. He was called by God to gospel music and has since founded the Prayze Cafe where he is the Program Director of Gospel Music.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019
On today's program Principal Phillip Bazil of Augustus Tolton Academy discussed his path to being the principal at the newly formed school. He praised his great staff and student body and they have taken the Academic bowl two years straight. He's looking to create scholars and saints while incorporating a balanced S.T.R.E.A.M. curriculum at ATA. Principal Bazil is also a loving father of three boys who love sharing memorable times together.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Today's program concludes our celebration of Black History Month with 7th grade and 8th grade students Shakira Luster and Kiriana Williams of St. Ethelreda Elementary school. Shakira was taught chess by her dad Eric Luster who is also St. Ethelreda school's chess coach. Shakira ranks in the 100 of her age class in the United States. Kiriana recently competed and won a tournament regionally. Both girls are great students who are ambitious and goal oriented. They enjoy a normal child's life but have other interests that are strongly supported by their parents. We are hopeful that their interests takes them far and that they continue to excel in the game of chess.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Today's interviews continue the Black History Month celebration. First we had Ronald Guhl, hair stylist and Foster father of 6 boys whom raised alone. He shared his faith story with us. Later in the program, Hales Franciscan student Deonta Anderson shared information regarding the Hales Franciscan clothing drive.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019
The guest on this program was Creola Hampton, President of Greaterworks Integrated Communications, Inc. She is an accomplished communications guru with a vast history of improving clients' return on their investment for her services. She is married and has three daughters who are achieving even greater works, making her another great example and reason to celebrate Black History Month.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019
McLane Lomax was our guest to kick off black history month. He and his wife share a lecture ministry at St. Catherine/St. Lucy parish in Oak Park and they have four children. He's an entrepreneur who represents both Colonial Life and Obama Energy, whose founder has created an innovative smart street light pole, thus continuing the legacy of great black inventors.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Today's guest was Ed Burns, teacher at St. Ailbe elementary school. He shared the history of Catholic Schools Week and the history of St. Ailbe. We we're also joined by students Micah, Zachary, and Daryl who shared their experiences at St. Ailbe and their hopes of furthering their education at a Catholic high school.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Andrew Lyke was our guest this morning. Andrew talked about his battle with Leukemia and his body's reaction to the bone marrow transplant he received. Despite this Andrew sees his illness as a gift and, along with his wife Terry, is struggling to become active again with their marriage ministry and a voice to heal racial tension. He his grateful and blessed by his village of supporters and loves to be involved with hosting Karaoke events.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Todays guest, Fr. Paul Whittington, spoke to us about his upbringing and decision to become a priest. Fr. Paul also spoke about his transition to St. Katharine Drexel Church and the Renew my Church initiative.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Yesterday we interviewed President Anthony Daniels-Halisi of Hales Franciscan High School. He shared with us his family upbringing, his parents' pivotal relationship and connection to the beginning of the Kwanza celebration. As president of Hales Franciscan high school he is determined to live out those principles with his students in Bronzeville's historically black community.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Valarie Jennings and Deacon James Norman updated us on Renew My Church initiatives. They discussed the difficulties and realities of "change", but they also recognized the necessity of making the Catholic Church stronger and more viable for everyone in the future.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Our guest Monica Chapman, a young adult candidate with the Archdiocese, spoke with us about her influences in life and her work as a mentor. She also spoke about being a mentee with Theology on Tap and her selection into the Coalesce program and being chosen to receive a prestigious award. Finally, she shares her thoughts on how one could get started mentoring to others.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Today's guest, Tom Drexler, is Executive Director of Ignation Spirituality Project. It works to end homelessness by providing Ignation retreats to men and women who are homeless. They are partnering with The Chicago Coalition for Homeless who offers a 12 step program, Harmony , Hope, & Healing, which offers music and counseling among other services, and Old St. Patrick Church who will be providing the church for the event, and Franciscan Outreach who provides housing and meals. There is an event next Tuesday, December 18th at 6:30pm at Old St. Patrick Church, called Memorial for the Homeless. It is an interfaith mass service to support the Homeless throughout Chicago.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Todays guest Candace Anderson joined and updated us on the homeless services that DePaul U.S.A. provides in the Chicago area. On a personal note she shares the tragic story about her son whom she lost to gun violence and how she is coping with his loss.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Bertha Starks, Principle Behavior Modification Counselor with a MA in Psychology from National Louis University shared with us her pathway to success, her family challenges and a TV show she hosts monthly.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Fr. Nutt discussed with us his humble beginnings in St. Louis as he was raised by hiS mother who became a widow when he turned 3 yrs old. He shared how he became a priest and how he recognized his passion for preaching and writing. He's an author of four books and currently acts as the promoter for the cause for canonization for Sr. Thea Bowman.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Deacon Dixon joined us and shared his recipe for a lasting marriage, the challenges of Renew my church, and his impressions of homilist, Fr. Maurice Nutt for the newly appointed St. Catharine Drexel Parish.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Karonn Walker was our guest, who talked about his childhood life as a young kid whose mom founded a little league Baseball team to help keep him and his friends active and safe. He is a product of De La Salle H.S. who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals and he founded Big Baseball Academy that instructs young people on baseball but most importantly, the game of life. He was recently hired as a local scout for the Chicago Cubs.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Deacon Alfred Coleman shared with us his calling to the diaconate not long after returning from duty. He quickly began thinking about serving God by supporting the homeless and the poor through his church. He is the director of Zacchaeus house that serves homeless men for various reasons. The homeless are provided a room, food, and clothing. In December they will celebrate 15 yrs serving the community.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Deacon Greg Shumpert updated us on the convocation and St. Francis dinner success for the Deacons of Chicago. He also shared his experiences with Renew my Church as a companion member and finally, he discussed the great ministry work he and others have accomplished with building three new mental health centers in the Chicagoland area.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Todays guest were Jason Damon and Steve Keuhn. They shared their experiences in becoming friars, how they see their vows in the larger community and committment to Hales Franciscan high school.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Deacon Michael Taylor joined us the morning and shared his spiritual walk that led to the diaconate and he shared the blessings of his work, marriage, and ministry.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Our guest Jonathan Banks, ordained minister of the gospel, radio host, and author of the book, "Raise your GPA" which is on Amazon's best seller list. It has led him across the country to speak to groups everywhere about raising your God Knowledge to unlock your true potential in succeeding in todays classroom of life. Minister Banks, is married with two boys and has a passion for the youth of the world. He has developed a vehicle for youth to overcome today's obstacles and challenges.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Host Deacon John Cook and co-host Kianda Boyd spoke with Bobbi Levy, vice grand lady of the ladies auxiliary of St.Peter Claver. Bobbi shared with us who St.Peter Claver was as he ministered to slaves in the republic of Colombia. There are 6 districts throughout the U.S. and chapters include the 3rd degree knights, ladies of Grace, junior daughters and junior knights whereas scholarships are afforded to youth interested in higher education.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Today host Deacon John and co-host Monica Chapman interviewed Kevin McFall, member of St. Ailbe church. He discussed he role in the Christ renews his church initiative and the reaction to the new name, St. Catharine Drexel. Kevin also spoke of his faith life as he is becoming acclimated to a new job responsibiltu, his only child, a daughter off to college, and his wife Karen and how they both are managing their careers and household.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Brooklyn Gervais, author, consultant, and voice talent, among other titles, including elementary school teacher at Holy Angels, spoke to us about her newly published book entitled "The Last What If...." a self awareness reading that searches the soul to achieve it's destiny.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Today we interviewed our Youth host Kianda Boyd of St. Ailbe who updated us on her educational journey and vision for the youth group "Youth On the Move" She interviewed 16 year-old Kylie Norman of King College Preparatory and also a member of St. Ailbe church. She related her wonderful experiences at the recent youth retreat and recommendation for other youth to get involved.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Our guest was Deacon Art Miller, Author, Revivalist, and Retreat Master from Connecticut's St. Mary's Church. He spoke to us about his life growing up Catholic, his friends Emmit Till's death and how it influenced America during the civil rights era, and he spoke how his mother's influence shaped his faith.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Monsignor Edward Branch joined us this morning and shared his Catholic Upbringing and his call to the priest-hood. He also shared his Longtime Chaplain work at Atlanta University Center and the impact of the first Native American African American youth retreat and the history of the Black Clergy Caucus and it's 50th Anniversary.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Deacon James Norman, was our guest and shared with us his experience with Renew My Church specifically for Sts. Ailbe, Felicitas, and Joachim. He gave us an update as well regarding the Black Catholic Deacons prayer service and the annual St Stephen's award event this weekend.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Dr. Wrenetha Julion, PHD, MPH, RN spoke to us about How she became a Catholic as she was mostly influenced by her soon to be husband and his family. She said that she was currently active as a lecturer at her church but enjoys her research work at Rush University where she had been overseeing a study of black fathers who were living in a separate household than their black children but providing some sense of support. She is evaluating all of the data collected over the duration of the program to determine it's effectiveness and variances of households without fathers so, she can see what would be the next steps to continue the support for black families in their communities.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Dr. Timone Davis discussed her Catholic upbringing and humble beginnings as a coordinator for the youth ministry R.E.C.I.L, She obtained her masters and her doctorates and serves as an associate pastor of Loyola University. She has also begun a new business with her husband and partner Orlando Davis.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Today's guest was Peyton Ashford of St. Ailbe church. Peyton shared with us her excitement in going away to college to major in broadcasting in New York. She shared her feelings on Renew My Church and how that landscape may be different and how she stays grounded. Finally, she has been working this summer as an intern in the Department of Parish Vitality and Mission with Jeana Rummelhart, Senior Communications Coordinator who shared with us the joy its been having Peyton work with them.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Sister Anita shared her call to sisterhood, the need to reach young people (millenials) and the time she took for a sabbatical and her busy travel schedule. Lastly she shared some thoughts on how we could get involved in making things better, including Fr. Phleger's effort on shutting down the Dan Ryan in protest of the violence in Chicago.
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