Our Lady of Perpetual Help…Seriously Tho!

 Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Today, I was reminded of the power of the intercession the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Walsingham, whichever. As my son would say, “Jesus’ mommy.” As an Anglo-Catholic / High Churchman, I fully believe in the power of the prayers of the BVM. It took me a long time to get to this place; especially coming from an African American Baptist upbringing.

Things were looking really bleak for me. I was stuck in a middle of a quarrel with a loved one. Those tend to be the hardest. I was having unkind thoughts. I decided to go to Confession and then prayed the Hail Mary several times. I felt the Spirit of the Lord provide me with the comfort I needed. And almost instantly, my phone rang. The loved one and I spoke and had a very pleasant conversation.

I do want to caution that it’s not magic or anything. I pray the Pater Noster (Lord’s Prayer/”Our Father”) and the Hail Mary with my kids most nights. I pray it alone every night (unless I pass out from exhaustion and wake up the next morning, in time for work). Sometimes I feel something, sometimes I don’t. Today, I wasn’t looking to feel anything. And yet, I did and know I felt something. It was authentic. As the HipHop group, Little Brother* said “He might not come when you want him, but he always on time!”


**Of course I’m fully aware that Black church mothers been saying that for eons. I’m just impressed that a progressive HipHop group would say it in 2019!**

Silent Warriors

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle”

-Psalm 144.1

Fresh off the heels of Armistice Day or more colloquially, Veterans Day I’m reflecting on the image of the Warrior, the military service member. The above photo depicts the stereotypical view (complete with ate up uniform, sloppy face paint, and arrogant facial expression) of the service member. This view has done more harm than good.

I must admit that the image works for recruitment. Who doesn’t want to be these guys team?!?

The issue is plain and simple, its promotes toxic masculinity. The kind that leads to toxic leadership which can result in death. The military is composed of all types of people, from all walks of life. The one uniting factor is the willingness to die for one’s country; regardless of whether or not their country would do the same for them.

– Fr. JMH

Seeing God in the Midst of the Storm


Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire came down on the earth. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; there was hail with fire flashing continually in the midst of it, such heavy hail as had never fallen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

 – Exodus 9.23-24 (NRSV)

As we enter the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and its impact on the State of Texas and the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma on the State of Florida, I have been reminded of the global impact of storms, both literal and metaphorical.

I’m reminded of the global impact of storms when I open Facebook and read my newsfeed. I see friends and relatives who have either been directly or indirectly impacted by the physical storm. I have friends and family in the Caribbean and in Florida who have fled their homes (most cases with families including small children) to seek safe shelter. I have friends who haven’t been able to reach their friends or family in the impacted areas.

That lack of knowledge of a loved ones whereabouts is a metaphorical storm. The traumatic reminder of a previous physical storm is a metaphorical storm. The interactions of those who have lost everything due to natural disasters can place one in a metaphorical storm. Overall, prayer and supplication are needed during this time.


-Fr. JMH+


Meeting My Flock at PAX-East


 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ’I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.

  – Matthew 9:9-13 (NRSV)


Serving as a correspondent for The Geek Down has been a great opportunity to merge theology and pop culture in its most grassroots form.  Going to PAX (Penny Arcade Exchange) was a blessing. I connected with video game developers, board game producers, and professional cosplayers. Most importantly, I connected with members of “my flock”; soldiers in my unit.

Connecting with them outside of the military context was an awesome experience. They were able to see me not only as a spiritual leader, Army officer, but as a fellow nerd. We were able to relax and build in a way that was authentic and yet complete. My hope was to show that ones identity does not change due to settings. If you are a person of faith, that is a part of you, regardless of you are cosplaying as Storm, or playing the new Call of Duty.

– Fr. JMH

Lenten Surprises


Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 – Collect for Lent I, Common Worship.

We are in our first official week of Lent 2017. This year for Lent, in addition to the traditional rituals (praying, fasting, etc), I’m participating in Lent Madness. It is a tournament of saints in which the winner is crowned with the “Golden Halo.” The winning participant not only learns about saints that are often looked over in the Church, but will have bragging rights in their local church should they be successful. I’ve completed my bracket and I’m doing pretty good. Suffered 1 early loss, but it happens.


However, I was able to learn about a man who impacted the Church and the southern part of the United States. That man is Bishop Henry Beard Delany.


Bp. Delany is the second Black Bishop in the Episcopal Church. He served as Suffragan in the Diocese of North Carolina (1918-1928). He also served as Chaplain at the historical St. Augustine’s College (now university) in North Carolina. He was instrumental in retaining Blacks in the Episcopal Church despite the segregationist posture the Church took post-American Civil War and during Jim Crow.

In all honesty, I am very much conflicted with Bishop Delany. On the one hand, he provided a refuge for Black Episcopalians by being instrumental in the creation of separate Black churches, religious facilities and ecclesiastical structure while remaining a member of the Episcopal Church. However, some of his contemporaries took the bold step and left the Episcopal Church and joined other communions, primarily the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, in order to model that Blacks should not be treated as second class citizens within their own religious communities.

It is the same situation that occurred between Bishop Richard Allen and Fr. Absalom Jones after their departure from the Methodist Church. Bishop Allen went on to establish the A.M.E. Church, the nation’s first denomination to be founded by people of African descent. Fr. Jones went on to establish the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Pennsylvania, and became the Episcopal Church’s (and the nation’s) first ever Black priest in 1804.*

I encourage you to use this Lenten season to reflect, pray, and grow in your relationship with God. Fasting is great but it’s not enough. Often enough, learning about the lives of those before us can inspire us to dive deeper in our spiritual lives.

– JMH+

*Fr. Augustus Tolton of the Roman Catholic Church was ordained a priest in 1886. Bishop James Healy, of the Roman Catholic Church was ordained in 1854, and self identified as Irish-American despite being biracial.

The End of an Era…


Former United States President Barack H. Obama II, Former First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha Obama.

My president is black, my Lambo’s blue
And I’ll be ***damned if my rims ain’t too
My money’s light green and my Jordans light grey…

 – Young Jeezy feat. Nas, “My President”, The Recession, 2008

The above rap song was recorded shortly after then Sen. Barack Obama clinched enough delegates to secure the nomination of the Democratic Party in the 2008 United States Presidential Election. How do I know? Jeezy states the date and time at the end of the track. This leads me to believe that he, like many Americans, was watching the final primary numbers come in for both Senators Obama and Clinton. It was a historical night for America, and especially Black America.

As a child, I NEVER thought I would live to see the day a Black man, with an unapologetic Black wife, with Black children would occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. At most, there may be one in Observatory Circle; and that was a stretch. This thinking was justified for many reasons. Considering that the closest Black person to achieve a Presidential nomination of a major party is also the same man who, in several circles, is thought of as an opportunistic charlatan. Other Black American candidates (Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), Rev. Al Sharpton (D-NY), Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL) and Alan Keys (R-MD) did not appear to have a viable chance in winning the “Highest Office in the Land” during their respective runs. They were often ridiculed for even attempting to run for the position. Many political pundits, sketch comedy writers/comedians, and talk show hosts wondered loudly “Why did they bother?”

However, in 2004, out came Barack Hussein Obama onto the world stage. He had a incredible pedigree; Harvard and Columbia graduate, State Senator, Constitutional Lawyer, and was “safe Black.” “Safe Black” is the Black person who wont cause people to cross the street, clutch purses, call the police, stop and frisk, or follow them around in the store. It also didn’t hurt that he is biracial; having a Kenyan father and White American mother from Kansas. It wasn’t long before he would become the 44th President of the United States.

In the midst of the eight years of the Obama Presidency,  the social climate in our country had ebbed and flowed. We have seen great racial unity in the midst of tragedy, but we have seen great division everywhere else. It was quite difficult because rather than celebrate the milestone of racial progress our nation had made, we spend it either legitimizing or attempting to make illegitimate Obama’s Presidency. From Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) selfish declaration to the rise of the Tea Party our nation had squandered a moment of progress and turned it to a moment of regress.

As a African American father (in both the religious and biological sense) it was difficult watching the news with my son. The anti-Obama rhetoric was deafening. It came from both Liberals and Conservatives and Black Americans heard it loud and clear. We heard two things:

  1. He has policies that some people disagree with, like any politician.
  2. He is a n***** who stole the election! He is a Muslim fraud and “WE” need to take our country back!

Let me make one thing clear: This is not an apology for President Obama. I fall into the first category. I have great misgivings on some aspects of his presidency. I know there are many Americans who do. However, the tone and tenor of our nation seems to be number two. It’s just that some people are willing to admit it than others. It crosses political persuasions. It’s not just racist, KKK card carrying White Southerners. Its a diverse crowd who bought into the racial rhetoric. Interestingly enough, I’m not alone in this. If I needed it, I have a former President saying the same thing not once, not twice, but multiple times. That same President is still speaking about the racist tone of our political landscape and American society at large.

With that said, I like many Black Americans are conflicted with President Obama’s term ending. For me, its bittersweet. Its bitter because I’m more doubtful now that ever that my children will seen another president that looks like them in my lifetime. This is evident of the election of someone who is President Obama’s complete opposite. Its sweet for two reasons:

  1. I don’t have to wonder, if my friend, neighbor, colleague, associate who is saying number 1, really means number 2.
  2. I don’t have to listen to unrelenting discrediting, racist bashing, and overall disgusting rhetoric directed to another Black man and his family, the same one who holds the “Highest Seat in the Land.”

In many ways, we as a nation, blew an opportunity to grow and prosper from within. In actuality, we are less safe (some more than others) than we before. And the threat lies in our lack saying what we mean, and meaning what we say.


Ecumenical Advent III

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

– Book of Common Prayer, 1979

Yesterday was the Third Sunday of Advent or Gaudete Sunday. “Gaudete” is the Latin translation for the word “rejoice” or “joy.” The color used to symbolize this theme is rose and the scriptural references pertain to the joy or rejoicing of the coming of the Lord.

This past Gaudete Sunday, I preached at a congregational church in my neighborhood. It was a surreal experience. The day before, I served on the Interim Pastor’s Ordination Council, who is a Baptist. This particular church is a beacon in my community. As a kid, I would go there and receive bread. I would from time to time shop at their thrift store. Being born into poverty, one appreciates the generosity and love of a community oriented church. If one were to ask 7 year-old JM if he would be preaching at that church, he would have been horrified at the idea.

It was difficult preaching to this congregation knowing that there are people who are not joyful because of the life circumstances they are in. It’s difficult knowing that during this Advent and Christmastide, there are people (inside and outside of this congregation) whose dinner tables and living rooms will be missing people who were there in 2015. It’s sad knowing that some people will not have a dinner table or a living room due to events in 2016.

Advent and Christmastide are to be joyous events. We are anticipating the arrival of the Christ child. However, it has been overshadowed by commercialism, selfish ambition and greed. It is my prayer that we can return to the true meaning of Advent. That we reflect on our lives, and the coming of the Lord. Perhaps if we do that, we can save ourselves from missing the true meaning of Christmas or the Mass of Christ.

– Fr. JMH

Mother Teresa Becomes Saint Teresa


Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.

 – Prayer of Mother Teresa

The first time I heard of Mother Teresa was the result of a punchline. I’m sure many of you have heard it before:

“Oh, you think you are a goody-two-shoes, huh? Who do you think you are, Mother Teresa?”

I had no idea who the, now, Saint Teresa was, but I knew she was someone who was deemed good, almost perfect. As time went on, I would see images of this little Albanian-Indian woman praying for those who were sick, impoverished, whom the scriptures would refer to as “the least of these”, worldwide. I would see images of people moved to uncontrollable tears while in her presence. It had a deep impact on me. I would dig deeper and find out what it meant for her to be a “Mother” and a nun. My Baptist upbringing did give me a good foundation to start from, with our cultural use of the term “Mother” in regards to an elderly woman who has had a tremendous impact on the local church community. Mother Teresa had an enormous impact on the world as a whole. She was often referred to as the “living saint.”

However; as to be expected in our increasingly anti-religious, Western society; there were critics afoot. People who could not stand having someone, an unabashedly religious person, who was deemed “saintly” revered worldwide. So, the critics started digging for dirt, and when you dig for dirt, you are bound to find some mess.

Critics of St.Teresa address primarily two issues, financial transparency and proselytizing of patients. In 1994, questions arose regarding the fact that her charity raises “millions of dollars” however her facilities are not in the best condition and her patients did not receive the best health care, according to western standards (including medication, treatment and the like). Also, that some of the money in which her charity received, may have been dirty (from dictators, embezzlers, mobsters, etc).

Prominent self-described “anti theist” Christopher Hitchens has been critical of the above, but his main critique is St. Teresa’s unabashedly Catholic message. He exposed Mother Teresa and her sisters baptizing dying patients (with or without their knowledge), her conservative stances (anti-abortion, anti-contraception, etc) and her embrace of suffering being a measure and test of faith.

Some Indian historians/authors, such as Chitrita Banerji, Aroup Chatterjee and Vijay Prashad have stated that St. Teresa is the representation of European paternalism on people of color in developing nations. There are accusations that she desired fame and the spread of the Catholic faith more than the health and well-being of the people of Calcutta. That in actuality, the city of Calcutta, its image, has been sullied. That its reputation is synonymous with being poor and destitute while St. Teresa is revered as a saintly woman.

All of these criticisms are warranted, however, I do wonder about the intent of those yielding the critiques. It is one thing if the criticism is done in a manner that is highlighting the flawed nature of humanity. As Congregationalist minister/theologian Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III refers to this as prophetic contradiction;  a person who has a prophet voice or calling, while also being flawed. If this is the intent, then I understand. However, it is an another thing when intent of the criticism is to besmirch the name or reputation of the subject. It is as if to say that their contributions and achievements are invalid because of their past mistakes. It seems to me that in our Western context, that seems to be the order of day.

Whit Sunday/Pentecost 2016


Chadwick, Enid M. My Book of the Church’s Year. London: Mowbrays.

O GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

 – Book of Common Prayer (REC), 2005


 On this Sunday, I returned to the small parish in southern Massachusetts that I served for four years. It was a different experience being there as a Priest Associate, rather than the Vicar.

The sermon focused on the act of listening to the Holy Spirit, especially when dealing with those who are caught in the vice grip of addiction. Knowing that the congregation includes members who have dealt either directly or indirectly with addiction, it was received relatively well. I am aware that some may have felt the sermon was a bit of a downer considering that Pentecost is usually a “happy” occasion.

There has been this overwhelmingly positive response to the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts in very recent years. Sentencing laws are being lessened. There is a refocus on health care facilities for addicts and an all hands on deck” response for those who may potentially overdose. It seems like every Tom, Dick and Harriet has a dosage of Narcan in their possession. There are scores of stories of addicts, neighbors, waitresses, nightclub bouncers and police officers administrating “the shot” to an overdose victim. All in all, it’s a positive response.

However, I’m concerned about the longevity of this compassionate response.


I highlighted the lack of care shown by the citizens of this nation towards those who were addicted to crack/cocaine in the 70s – 90s in the inner cities. In actuality, it was an adversarial response to addicts. And those addicts were disproportionately Black and poor.


They were not only laughed at (countless images of crackheads being lampooned on sitcoms), they were also feared (incarcerated at THE HIGHEST RATES IN THE WORLD). Television shows like Cops showed the inner city, “crackheads, welfare queens, and thug damaging America”. These “super-predators were destroying America!” This sort of response greatly damaged (perhaps destroyed) an entire generation of the Black race in the United States.


With this new response to the opioid epidemic that overwhelmingly impacts middle class whites in suburbia, one can not help but point the stark differences. In the end, this new compassionate approach is important. We are encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit when it comes to the least of these. It is my hope and prayer that we continue to do so, rather than smother Her (the Holy Spirit) voice, like we did 30 years ago.


 – JMH+

St. Anselem of Canterbury


Almighty God, you raised up your servant Anselm to teach the Church of his day to understand its faith in your eternal Being, perfect justice, and saving mercy: Provide your Church in every age with devout and learned scholars and teachers, that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 – Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2006


St. Anselm served as the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 – 1109 AD. He was a Benedictine monk, then abbot, and ultimately elevated to the rank of Archbishop. He was a reluctant to accept the appointment, as he was very introspective and did not have political aspirations. He was also involved (directly and/or indirectly) with the Investiture Controversy of the 11th and 12th centuries. His primary concern was serving the people of England, not advancing his clerical-political career.

It seems that I was destined to have a relationship, if only a passing one, with St. Anselm. I recall in high school, being pressed by one of the school administrators to attend “St. A’s” in New Hampshire “because its a good, small, Catholic school.” Despite me not being Roman Catholic, the Benedictines could not compete with the Jesuits, so I did not attend St. Anselm College.

Fast forward a couple of years, I am now an Anglican, reading about the lineage of the Archbishops of Canterbury. I stumble upon the name of St. Anselm. In the end, it kind of comes full circle for me.

St. Anselm represents what is needed in Christ’s Church;  clergy who are concerned with the souls of those who placed in their care. What I see now is a growing clergy body composed of careerists. His Holiness Pope Francis addressed this very thing early in his pontificate. This is something that affects all the church, not just non denominational, Pentecostal churches. The constant chase for purple shirts and titles is leaving those who need spiritual nourishment behind. Hopefully, we can address this before it’s too late.

 – JMH+