A Franciscan Parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit


June 20, 2021

My first assignment in 1980 was to a parish in Galveston, Texas, and that was the first I heard of Juneteenth, because that year it became a holiday in Texas. What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth -- a blending of the words June and nineteenth -- is the oldest regular US celebration of the end of slavery.

It commemorates June 19, 1865: the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves of their emancipation.

"In accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free," Granger read to a crowd. That day came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Even after Lincoln declared all enslaved people free on paper, that hadn't necessarily been the case in practice. African Americans and others mark Juneteenth -- also called Emancipation Day -- much like the Fourth of July, with parties, picnics and gatherings with family and friends.

Juneteenth has been celebrated informally since 1865, but Texas became the first state to make it a state holiday in 1980. (Taken from CNN website)

“Free on paper,” but not yet in reality. Let us continue the holy work of creating true freedom and justice for all!

Happy Father’s Day to all our Dads! May your holy work be blessed today and every day!

Fr. Jeff


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