PODCAST: Whyte House Family Spoken Nonfiction Books #101: “100 Most Influential Black Christians in History”

Welcome to the Whyte House Family Spoken Nonfiction Books podcast: Black History Month edition episode #101. Today we are celebrating the life of James A. Healy from the book “100 Most Influential Black Christians in History” compiled and edited by the editors of BCNN1.


James A. Healy
First African-American Catholic Priest

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)

“Healy was a religious leader whose intelligence, spiritual conviction, and dedicated service inevitably defined him and created a devoted, if not wholly color-blind, following.” (Jay Mazzocchi)

James Augustine Healy was the first born of ten children to Michael and Mary Eliza Healy on April 6, 1830 on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Michael Healy was a former Irish soldier who immigrated to America. He became a planter after the war of 1812. In 1829 he fell in love with Mary Eliza, a mixed-race domestic slave, whom he purchased from her former owner. At that time Georgia law prohibited interracial marriage, but both decided that they would base their marriage on love and not the law, to create a family of their own.

However, James and his siblings were still considered illegitimate and slaves at birth under Georgia law. These laws banned them from attending school within the state, so to receive an education James’s parents sent their children to Quaker schools in the north in the 1840s.

In 1844, James Healy was sent to grammar, secondary and collegiate schools at the new Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. James graduated as valedictorian in the first graduating class of 1849. Two years later he earned a master’s degree. It was at Holy Cross where James decided to enter the priesthood. James began his ministry as assistant priest with the diocese of Boston where he served for the next 21 years.

In 1875, Pope Pius IX named James Bishop of Portland, Maine. In the following 25 years, under his administration, 60 churches, 18 schools and numerous convents and welfare institutions were established. Membership in the Catholic Church in his jurisdiction doubled to about 100,000. James Healy would also manage the diocese of Maine and New Hampshire.

Bishop Healy took a leadership role in the American Catholic hierarchy. He proposed three major pieces of church legislation that passed the Third Council of Baltimore. Bishop Healy also served on the commission that established the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and he was a member of the Council’s commission for Negro and Indian mission. Despite his church responsibilities Bishop Healy also found time to lobby on social issues such as Indian rights and child labor laws.

On April 5, 1900, Bishop James A. Healy died of a heart attack in Portland, Maine. Bishop Healy, as he wished, was buried in a simple graveyard rather than in the Portland Cathedral’s vault.


Thank you for joining us for this episode of Whyte House Family nonfiction books. You may purchase a copy of this book and any other Christian nonfiction books read on this podcast from Amazon.com.

Now, dear listener, please know that God—the divine Author of all things—wants to write a great story with your life as well. But first you must give Him the pen by trusting Him with the life He gave you and surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ as Savior. Here is how:

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

May God bless you until next time.