Rapping Priest from the Bronx Named Youngest U.S. Bishop
Bronx native Father Joseph Espaillat made history in the Catholic church as the youngest bishop ever appointed by the Vatican in the United States and one of the youngest in the world. At 45 years of age, he is also the first New York bishop of Dominican descent. “Father J” as he’s affectionately known is currently the pastor of the Roman Catholic Church St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Bronx where he was appointed an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese. His ordination ceremony was March 1, 2022. Father Espaillat gained the moniker “The Rapping Priest,” from the podcast and YouTube series “Sainthood in the City” he launched April of last year online showcasing his skills as a rap enthusiast.
The Gospel World Mourns the Passing of Derrick Lee
The gospel community was stricken with grief upon the announcement of the passing of the Maestro Derrick Lee. Lee was a talented and beloved gospel producer/songwriter from Newark, NJ. The news came not long after long-time supporters had set up a GoFundMe to aid with his ongoing medical expenses. Lee, who underwent chemotherapy back in 2021 had been hospitalized for an extended time since the new year with multiple health challenges. Lee, was best known as the music director for Dr. Bobby Jones’ long-running show on BET for its 35-year tenure and later continued working alongside Dr. Jones for the new telecast “Bobby Jones Presents.”
Tamela Mann Tops Gospel Category in NAACP Image Awards
Gospel recording artist Tamela Mann is celebrating her recent wins at the 53rd Annual NAACP Awards. Mann received the only two awards in the gospel category including honors for Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album for her chart-topping project “Overcomer” and Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song for the single “Help Me, featuring members from the gospel quartet The Fellas. “Help Me” marked Tamela’s eighth #1 hit on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart. In her acceptance speech she said “I am so thankful to God, the NAACP, and the fans for recognizing my album and song. This is the most important body of work I’ve ever done. To be recognized for the project is a big blessing.” The live broadcast aired on BET on Monday, February 28, 2022.
Pastor Marvin Winans Resumes Construction on New Church Site
After eight years of stalled progress, Pastor Marvin Winans has again begun the work of completing the new 5,000 seat megachurch in Michigan. Construction on the on the new location for the Perfecting Faith Church ceased when funds ran dry but last month builders have resumed work on the massive 15-acre site. There was also some speculation that there may have been some looming skepticism among Winans’ 4500-member congregation as to whether the new church home would ever come to fruition, but Winans explained “We were moving right along and then we discovered we couldn’t borrow any money, so we shut down, and then we just started moving again. It’s just a work of faith, just praying and believe that we were doing what we should be doing.” The new complex is expected to have lots of bells and whistles including a 500-seat wedding chapel, a 1,000-space garage, and a baptismal pool large enough for a whole family according to Winans. A completion date has not yet been set.
Yolanda Adams Performing at 2022 World Games
Yolanda Adams will be among those slated to perform for the 2022 World Games that will be held in Birmingham, Alabama July 7th – 17th. The World Games are an international multi-sport event held every four years, a year after the Summer Olympic Games. These compromising sports categories are not included with those featured in the general Olympic games and they occur over the course of 11 days. Other gospel artists on this year’s roster are The Blind Boys of Alabama, Alabama native Pastor Mike Jr. and former American Idol and R&B crossover sensation Ruben Studdard. “The World Games will bring a once-in-a-lifetime level of focus and attention to Birmingham and Alabama,” says the show’s artistic director Dr. Henry Panion III who also noted that “Gospel Music and the sound of gospel have influenced virtually every form of music across the globe. So as an indigenous art form of America and Alabama, it is only appropriate that it be featured so prominently in these World Games.”