Archdiocese celebrates 55th birthday

It’s happy birthday time for the Archdiocese of Miami, which is turning 55. To honor the milestone, on Oct. 25, a gala to benefit the different archdiocesan outreach programs that serve the needs of the poor of the community, will be at 7 p.m. at the Miami Downtown Hilton, 1601 Biscayne Blvd.

The gala is called, "A Church for the Poor", and is a response to Pope Francis’ message of helping those who need the most and have the least. The evening will include entertainment by Gypsy Kings and Soul Survivor.

For tickets and for more information contact Juan A. Di Prado, Archdiocese Media Coordinator at 305-762-1046.

‘Light of Christ Award’

A Neighbors in Religion salute to Msgr. Franklyn Casale, who on Oct. 13, was presented with the 2013 Lumen Christi (Light of Christ) Award by the Catholic Educators Guild of the Archdiocese of Miami.

The award was presented to Casale, president of St. Thomas University, during a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Thomas Wenski at St. Mary Cathedral.

The Catholic Educators Guild was founded by Miami’s first archbishop, Coleman Carroll in 1976. The organization is open to all Catholic school teacher, whether teaching in private or public schools. Call Marjorie Wessel at 305-828-6419 for more information.

‘Pillar of Liberty City’ celebrates birthday

The community is invited to join Elder Johnnie L. Robinson and the congregation of Valley Grove Missionary Baptist Church in the celebration of the church’s 50th anniversary, to be Oct. 17 through Oct. 20 at the church.

Celebration services will begin at 7:30 p.m. today and Friday, with special activities. The celebration will culminate at 11 a.m. Sunday with the Rev. Major Frank J. Kelley Sr. of Walker Avenue Church of God at Sumter, S.C., as the guest preacher. At 3 p.m., the Rev. Moses Paschal , pastor of New Corinth Missionary Baptist Church here in Miami, will be the guest speaker.

The theme of the celebration is "Transformation: Moving Forward in the Right Spirit."

The church, at 1395 NW 69th St., has been a "pillar in the Liberty City community since Sept. 15, 1963," said Patricia Robinson, the pastor’s wife. "Over the past 50 years, many lives have been transformed at Valley Grove. We are committed to continue touching lives, both inside and outside of the church’s walls by enhancing the lives of others through various training, outreach programs and initiatives."

Sister Robinson said the church focuses on the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of individuals through the church’s programs.

For more information, call 305-835-8316 or email

Health screening

You are invited to a Bazaar and Health Fair to be at Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church from 8 a.m. til 2 p.m. Saturday. The event will include health screening in honor of Breast Cancer Month.

There will also be refreshments and "gently used" items for sale as a fund raiser for the church’s 46th anniversary celebration. Christian Fellowship is at 8100 NW 17th Ave.

Discussion group

The community is invited to a monthly discussion group at Biscayne Unitarian on the fourth Tuesdays of the month. This month’s meeting on Oct. 22, will be in Miami Shores at Sage Lifestyles, 211 NE 98th St.

The meetings, according to a press release, seek to help participants deepen their understanding of and express their own personal spiritual practices within a Unitarian Universalist setting. Discussions are based on the Unitarian Universalist Association’s adult education Tapestry of Faith curriculum program "Spirit of Life."

Biscayne Unitarian co-organizer Raquel Reyes said, "Meeting in an informal and intimate group encourages people to connect with others on a deeper level through meaningful discussions about spiritual practices and beliefs..."

The religious community of Biscayne Unitarian serves the residents along the Biscayne corridor of northeastern Miami-Dade. It’s first and third Sunday worship services and community programs give voice to liberal religious views and provide a spiritual space to meaningfully connect with welcoming, diverse, and open-minded individuals and families. To learn more, go online at or

The music of Max Helfman

Max Helfman, who died in 1963, was known as one of Judaism’s most respected and beloved educators, choral conductors and composers. On Friday the Bet Shira Congregation in Pinecrest will feature Helfman’s music in honor of the 50th anniversary of his death during a program of choral cantorial music to be sung by Rabbi Mark H. Kula, Cantor Shiree Kidron and Musica Judaica, a choral ensemble directed by Coreen Duffy, a Helfman Fellow.

According to information from Bet Shira, Helfman was a man of wide-ranging interests and abilities. He directed the Brandeis-Bardin Institute for 17 years, and composed for and participated in socialist-oriented Yiddish worker’s choruses, the synagogue and pro-Zionist causes and organizations. He also mentored several well known cantors and composers. From the late 1930s on, he turned much of his attention to new settings for Sabbath, High Holy Day and Festival liturgies as well as other services.

His choral pantomime "Benjamin the Third," based on a story by the Yiddish author Mendele Moykher Sforim, premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1938, followed by his complete Sabbath service, "Shabbat Kodesh, in 1942. He served as director of New York’s largest unabashedly leftist Yiddish chorus, the Freiheits Gezang Verein, which he took over in 1937 and which combined with some smaller choral groups of similar ideological sympathies to form the Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus.

For more information on the tribute to Helfman, call Kula at 305-238-2601 or go to

Black Heritage Music Series

On Saturday, Greater St. Paul AME Church ant the Coconut Grove Historic Black Heritage Music Series will host the Edward Waters College Concert Choir from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church. Directed by Barbara McNeely-Bouie, the concert is in honor of Greater St. Paul’s Mozart Choir.

Tickets to the event are $20 each and are available at the church at 3680 Thomas Ave. in Coconut Grove, or by calling Renita Samuels Dixon at 305-790-5836.

Fall Gospel Concert

Norland United Methodist church at 885 NW 195th St. will have its annual Fall Gospel Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday in the sanctuary. The Rev. Aurilus Desmornes, M.Div., has invited the community to come and enjoy the music of special guests Brother Clive Tennors, Brother Lou Tyler, Patrice Brown, Greg Sidbury and a performance by the Barry University Dance Company. .

Deacon Haldane Worrell of Metropolitan Baptist Church will serve as the master of ceremonies. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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