Whether it’s at school, church or in his spare time, Kyle Alexander wears a number of metaphorical hats. A parishioner of St. Bernardine in West Baltimore and a senior at Mount St. Joseph High School, Alexander volunteers on various projects, groups and committees.
Alexander’s selfless dedication to his church was acknowledged at the 24th annual Mother Mary Lange, O.S.P., Awards Celebration Feb. 12. Held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, he was one of 29 parishioners of urban churches honored in the categories of service, leadership and youth.
Alexander received two awards from St. Bernardine, the youth award and the leadership award, the latter being shared with 10 other members of the church’s “Stream Team,” which enhanced the church’s ability for its members to virtually access liturgies.
“Back in March 2020, people in the church were still trying to figure out how to get the service to those who couldn’t make it,” he said. “I was interested in joining the group because I was interested in working with the technology we use for it, and wanted to learn more about how it worked.”
Though the parish was already streaming Sunday morning Masses on its YouTube channel and Facebook page prior to the pandemic, it has since picked up a much larger following. Sunday worship has doubled to 950 views, and weekday Masses, which had an average of 5-12 people in the pews, is now viewed in approximately 125 homes.
“People knew about it but it wasn’t that big yet,” Alexander said of virtual Mass. “Once the pandemic hit and everybody was quarantined, it was a way for people to hear the word of God and still get their blessings.”
In addition to the Stream Team, Alexander is president of St. Bernardine’s youth group, the youth representative on its pastoral council, a member of the youth choir and dance ministry, and an altar server, which he began doing as a fourth-grader. He said he is most proud, however, of the fundraisers and donation drives in which he has participated, which gave to the less fortunate.
“I like to help others in any way possible,” he said. “It breaks my heart seeing homeless people in the city. I’ve always wanted to give back to people, and it just makes me happy to know that I can make somebody’s day.”
At Mount St. Joseph, Alexander writes articles for its website, is a member of the Black Student Union, manager of the football team and participates in track and field. His academic honors include the honor roll, President’s List and National Junior Honor Society.
On his own, Alexander has a YouTube channel, “KLA Sports,” where he discusses various topics taking place in the sports world, and co-hosts a podcast called “Unpopular Black Thoughts” where racial issues, stereotypes, politics and other issues that affect the black community are discussed.
Held annually during Black History Month, the Mother Lange Awards honor the memory and example of the immigrant woman who helped found the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first order of black religious women, and what is now St. Frances Academy, the first and oldest continuously operating Catholic educational institution in the United States.
Sister Rita Michelle Proctor, superior general of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, offered greetings and closing remarks during the Feb. 12 webinar. Bishop Denis J. Madden also offered a greeting.
Mother Lange Award recipients
Twenty-nine men, women and children received awards for Leadership (L), Service (S) and Youth (Y). They are listed below, by parish.
St. Ann: Mary Sewell (L); Kojo Abdulai (S).
St. Bernadine: Kyle Alexander, Valerie Anderson, Morgan Belt, Caleb Dixon, Lora Hargrove, Jakob Lee, Kamiya Littlejohn, Kendall Muse, David Wainwright, Floyd Williams, Eliana Wilson (L); Tiara Roles (S); Kyle Alexander (Y).
Church of the Blessed Sacrament: Wilma J. Myles (L); Mary Cooper (S).
St. Cecelia: Charles Robinson (L); Nadine Sheppard (S).
St. Francis Xavier: Cecelia Johnson (L); Venia Andrews-Cheatham (S); Karlo Norwood (Y).
St. Gregory the Great: Leon A. Epps (L); Brenda Rigby (S); Ryan Fowlkes (Y).
Immaculate Conception: Linda Taylor-Porter (L); Gary Pulliam (S).
St. Peter Claver and St. Pius V: Veronica M. Case (L); William Ragin (S); Kiya Katie Outlaw (Y).
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