Black graduates celebrate decades of culture at Howard University

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Under slightly overcast skies, but an otherwise beautiful day, Troy Adam Duffie, 21, one of my several godsons, last weekend received his master’s degree on Howard University’s famed “The Yard.” The day before, I watched him march to receive his bachelor degree. Like his parents, Troy and Cecily Robinson Duffie, his siblings Cecil Andrew, Anastasia (Stacy), Caitlin and Trinity, and his other godparents Dr. Homer and Grace Humphry, I beamed with pride.

There is just something about graduation ceremonies – be they kindergarten, high school or college – they all offer to those participating a new beginning. At the Howard ceremonies, there was something more. Howard is a black university and just stepping on its campus puts you in another world, both culturally and intellectually.

I was proud to see young blacks express how they felt the first time they set foot on the Howard campus. Some said they weren’t sure who they were. Once there, they entered a world of culture they had not known before, and “found” themselves. That is because many of the students came from high schools where black culture had not been a priority. The culture at Howard changed that for them.

Last Saturday, they got another culture boost when Chadwick Boseman, the man behind the “Black Panther” mask, spoke at Howard’s 150th commencement exercise.

From the time Boseman stepped on the stage and gave a soul-stirring speech, it was “Wakanda Forever.” Boseman himself was a 2000 Howard graduate and he was welcomed back by thousands of students, families and friends.

In his speech, Boseman told the graduates to “love the the university enough to struggle with it” and to continue the fight because the fight is not only for you, but for those who come after you. He told the graduates that struggle in life will come but they should not be seen as obstacles, “rather they are meant to shape you for your purpose.”

New seminarians

It was a blessed event when Archbishop Thomas Wenski ordained four new seminarians for the Archdiocese of Miami last Saturday, welcoming them into the family of faith. Their ordinations increases the number of active priests to 237 serving in the Archdiocese of Miami, which serves Broward, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties.

One of the four new seminarians – Matthew Gomez, 27, was born right here in Hialeah. The others – Omar Eugenio Ayubi, 55; Gustavo Manuel Barros, 45; and Juan Gomez Franyutty, 37, are from Colombia and Mexico, respectfully.

  • Gomez was born Sept. 4, 1990. He is the first of three brothers born to Luis Fernando and Laura Gomez. He is a graduate of Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Hialeah in 2005, and Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens in 2009. He served as the coordinator of Encuentros Juveniles, the youth movement of the Archdiocese of Miami. After high school, Gomez attended St. Thomas University for a year and then entered St. John Vianney College Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 2013. He currently attends St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, where he is studying for a Master’s in Divinity.
  • Ayubi, born April 13, 1963 in Medellin, Colombia, is the son of Antonio Ayubi (deceased) and Judith Giraldo. The first of four siblings, he is a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Colombia and has a degree in Computer Science from Universidad del Norte in Colombia. He graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor of arts in philosophy from St. John Vianney College Seminary and is currently studying for a Master’s in Divinity at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary.
  • Barros, the oldest of three siblings, wais born in Santa Maria, Colombia, to Gustavo Barros and Gloria Goenaga de Barros. He studied social communications at Universidad Autonoma del Caribe in Barranquilla, Colombia, and graduated in 2008 from the University of Miami with a master’s in journalism. Before entering the seminary, he worked as a journalist in Colombia, Seattle and Miami. In 2013, he earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy from St. John Vianney College Seminary, and is currently studying for his master’s in divinity at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach.
  • Franyutty is the fifth of seven brothers and sisters born to Juan Gomez and Catalina Roman. He graduated from high school in the Bachillerato in Acayucan, Veracruz, Mexico, and earned his bachelor of arts degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He earned his doctorate in sacred theology at Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, Catholic Theological Institute for Oceania affiliated to the Pontifical Lateran University. He is studying for a master’s in divinity at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary.

Gospel concert

You can dust off your shouting shoes for this one: The Graig Walden and Company Reunion Celebration.

This spirited gospel concert will feature the original members of the gospel group, singing all their hits. The concert will feature Pastor Marc Cooper and the Miami Mass Choir and Pastor Avery Jones and the Spirit of Life Choir.

Also featured will be Lady Christina Robinson and Psalmist Paula Coleman Newman.

The musical event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International, 2300 NW 135th St. Bishop Victor T. Curry is the host pastor. Come early for a good seat. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m.

Free concert

If your musical taste leans toward the classics, Marvin Goldstein, a noted pianist with Fort Lauderdale ties, will be presented in a free concert along with internationally acclaimed vocalist Vanessa Joy at 6 p.m. Sunday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 851 NW 112th Ave. in Plantation , FL.

Goldstein, who has traveled the world sharing his musical talents, began his musical training when he was 9. When he was 18, he was awarded a music scholarship to study at Tel Aviv University School of Music in Israel. He also studied at the famed Mozarteum of Salzburg, Austria and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida State University in French Horn Performance.

He said his “life-changing moment” was when he was 18 and was watching the New York Philharmonic being conducted by Leonard Bernstein. “The spirit of music delighted my soul,” he said.

On New Year’s Eve in 1999, Goldstein performed in the Tabernacle at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is listed in Who’s Who in Music in Europe and has been named a National Keyboard Artist with the Kawai America Corporation. He has more than 50 recordings to his name and says his greatest passion is his Peace with Music Program, where he tries to bridge the cultural, religious and political difference of people everywhere through music.

Vanessa Joy has performed for the USO at the Wounded Warriors Center in Frankfurt, Germany. She has been the guest artist with the “Ensemble Vocale and Orchestra in Nesselwang, Germany. She was also the featured soloist at a concert with the Concierto de Navida in Santiago and Concepcion, Chile, performing before an audience of 10,000. She has recorded three solo albums: “Sweet By and By”, “The Voice” and “Joy to the World”.

The concert is open to people of all faiths and ages.

‘Spiritual Dimension of Work’

The community is invited to hear Gerald Schwartz in a presentation of “The Spiritual Dimension of Work” hosted by the Bah’ais of Miami at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Miami Bah’ai Center, 9300 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 209.

“We are all, in a sense, experts about work. And while we can argue over exact statistics, it is clear that today many people do not like what they do for a living,” said Schwartz, an adjunct professor of English at Miami Dade College. “In America, work is usually valued according to the complexity of the responsibilities, but it is interesting that the Baha’i teachings suggest a much different approach.”

Schwartz will go deeper into his topic at the event, which is a part of the center’s monthly Community Fireside series. The discussion is open to everyone.

Also, the center will host a community devotional at 10:30 a.m.May 27. There is never an admission charge or a solicitation of funds at the Center’s events. Call 305-915-7247 for more information.

Retirees brunch

Retirees from the Jackson Health System invite the community to a brunch dedicated to all former employees, friends and families of the healthcare organization.

The brunch will be at 12:30 p.m.June 9, and the cost is $25 per person. If you plan to attend, the deadline to RSVP is May 25. Fore tickets and more information contact Dorothy Heard at 305-965-8205 or email her at

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