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Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Detroit
Through your commitment to God as an ordained priest of the Society of St. Edmund, you have distinguished yourself as a vibrant, thought-provoking leader within the Church. In your endeavors as a scholar and pastor, you have enhanced the role and involvement of Black Catholics in the Church today. With your stately presence and resonant voice, you eloquently convey Christ's message of love and equality among people. As a recognized expert on Black theology and evangelization in the Catholic Church, you have presented numerous papers and lectures on the Black experience within the Church, resulting in foundation awards and honorary degrees. In 1982, you were appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit. In this role, you serve the West Region of the Archdiocese of Detroit, which encompasses the City and its northern suburbs, spanning 108 parishes. Last year, you were also appointed Pastor of Precious Blood Parish in Detroit, where your exuberant spirit has enriched the parish community. In encompassing authentic practices from African traditions within church liturgies and ceremonies, you have enabled African-Americans to become more active participants in the Church. Bishop Peter Sarpong, who has been called by Pope John Paul II the "father of inculturation in Africa," refers to you as the "father of inculturation in the United States." Your love and pride in your African heritage is reflected in your personal life, from collecting African art to being installed as a West African tribal chief. With your warm and caring personality, you extend friendship, kindness and comfort to many. In recognition of your scholarly work and leadership role in enhancing the involvement of Black Catholics within the Church, the University of Detroit Mercy is pleased to award you this Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws. Commencement, University of Detroit Mercy, May 15, 1993.