After Amanda Gorman Reads at the Inauguration, One LA & St. Brigid Catholic's Community Engagement is Recognized


At St. Brigid Catholic Church, the Rev. Kenneth Keke preaches that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not only about eternity, but about “having a human face, loving one another.” Keke’s message stresses unity and that a “common humanity is what we need for us to live in peace.”

“That is liberation theology and that is what we preach here,” said Keke, the St. Brigid priest from Nigeria.

This is the South Los Angeles church where 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, grew up singing in the youth choir, taking her sacraments and reciting her poetry....“We need to liberate our people more,” Keke said they tell him.

 “It’s like everybody here is a freedom fighter.”

St. Brigid has become known as a pillar in the community. It’s a member of OneLA, an organization made up of Jewish temples, schools and other nonprofit groups that work to improve housing insecurity, public transportation and criminal justice reform.

The church also turns into a voting center during elections and during the coronavirus pandemic has served as a COVID-19 testing site. St. Brigid also has a food distribution ministry....

Reflecting back on Gorman’s inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” Keke said it was about “democracy and unity,” and the importance of “living in the country as one people, recognizing one another and respecting one another.”

“That is the spirit of St. Brigid,” Keke said.

[Photo Credit: (left) Carolyn Kaster, AP News; (right) Alejandra Molina/RNS Photo]

At Poet Amanda Gorman's Black Catholic LA Parish, 'It's Like Everybody Here is a Freedom Fighter', Religion News Service [pdf]