Louisvillians welcome first Black archbishop Shelton Fabre

Hundreds came to celebrate the installation of archbishop Shelton Fabre Wednesday.
Hundreds came to celebrate the installation of the first Black archbishop Shelton Fabre on Wednesday.
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 7:20 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Celebrations surrounded a ceremony that will be remembered in Roman Catholic history.

Hundreds came to celebrate the installation of the first Black archbishop Shelton Fabre on Wednesday. Fabre succeeded Joseph Kurtz, who is retiring, as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville with a ceremony at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Fabre is the 10th bishop and fifth archbishop of the archdiocese. He is also the first person of color to hold the position in Louisville. Fabre previously worked for the Diocese of Baton Rouge as the director of the Office of Black Catholics.

”Today is not about me, today is about our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest,” Fabre said.

Priests from across the world came out to welcome in the first Black Archbishop Shelton Fabre. The mass began with a procession of clergy, bishops, and cardinals.

One attendee was Jaison Gardner, who said he is a member of Saint Augustine Church, the third oldest Catholic church in the nation.

“For me it is especially exciting, because a lot of young adults left the church and have recently come back,” Gardner said. “So this is a really exciting time.”

Gardner said as a Black gay man, what he appreciates most about Fabre is his commitment to change in Louisville.

”I think he was the perfect appointment because as most folks know our city has been through a lot in the last two years with racial justice protests,” Gardner said. “Louisville has always been a city committed to racial justice and social justice in general.”

Lolita Ewing said she was also excited to be at the event. Ewing said she is a member of Saint Martin de Porres Church.

”It makes a powerful statement, because we have been so understated in the archdiocese and Archdiocese of Louisville for so long,” Lolita Ewing said.

Ewing said she wants African Americans to become more valued in the Catholic faith and in the community. She said believes Fabre’s installation is a step in the right direction for future generations.

”This is a stepping stone for our youth,” Ewing said.

Matthew Burt was selected to visit the ceremony from Saint Edward School. He said he is in eighth grade and said he was honored to be there.

”I hope he does more stuff to integrate younger people to join the church, because the more people the better,” Burt said.

The Archdiocese of Louisville includes 200,000 Catholics spread across 24 counties, with more than 40 schools in the region.

Before leading in Louisville, Fabre led the Louisiana diocese since 2013. At 58 years old, Archbishop Fabre is now one of the 12 African American prelates in the United States.

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