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BOSTON -- Aloysius and Agnes Lugira were honored at the 14th annual Bishop James Augustine Healy Award Dinner Nov. 18 for their “strong and effective leadership and service to the Black Catholic community.”
Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston Office of Cultural Diversity, the dinner was held at The Lantana in Randolph. Memphis Bishop J. Terry Steib, SVD was the keynote speaker at the event to commemorate the life of Bishop James Augustine Healy, who was ordained bishop of Portland, Maine in 1875 and became the first Black Catholic bishop in the United States. Bishop Healy was valedictorian of the first graduating class from Holy Cross College in Worcester. After completing his seminary studies he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Boston. He is credited for building St. James Church, Boston, and served as the first chancellor of the diocese.
The Healy Award celebrates an individual who has “fostered educational opportunities and demonstrated strong personal faith and compassion, and possesses intense interest in encouraging a healthy Black Catholic identity, has been an example of a lifestyle reflecting the meaning of the church universal, and is concerned with and sensitive to the social teaching of the Church.”
Aloysius Lugira is an associate professor of theology and religion in Africa at Boston College. He has authored many books and articles published on African religions and has presented more than 40 academic papers on the subject.
Agnes Lugira is an instructor in the Early Childhood Education Program at the Urban College of Boston, a two-year college that provides “post-secondary educational and professional mobility to members of the urban community who have traditionally been underserved by higher education.”
The Lugira’s, both from Uganda, are parishioners at St. Mary Parish in Winchester and have served on various boards and committees for their parish and the archdiocese. They have worked tirelessly to bring the Ugandan community together in the Boston area.
In addition to the Bishop Healy honorees, Mary Lanata, principal of St. Patrick Grammar School in Roxbury, received the 2006 Robert Leo Ruffin Award in recognition of her dedication to educating Black children. Father William Joy, pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Dorchester, nominated Lanata because of her work as principal at the recently-closed St. Matthew School.