Full name: Verdell Bunting Jr.
Parish: St. Bartholomew Church in Little Rock
Family: Verdell has a goddaughter, Hannah Jenkins. Father Warren Harvey of Pine Bluff is his cousin.
Why you want to know Verdell Bunting: Since 2008, he has served as president of the Diocesan Council for Black Catholics. He has been a member of St. Bartholomew Church for almost 30 years, where he serves as extraordinary minister of holy Communion, sings in the adult choir, helps direct the adult and youth choirs and belongs to the Men's Club. He chaperones the annual DCBC youth retreat and helps with the annual back to school block party. He teaches fifth grade at Indian Hills Elementary School in North Little Rock and is a graduate of Catholic High School.
In his own words
Arkansas Catholic's theme this year is "Catholic Beyond Sunday." How do you remain committed as a Catholic beyond Sunday? I remain committed as a "Catholic Beyond Sunday" by following the "golden rule" in all that I do -- treating others the way I want to be treated -- at my job, with my family and friends, and when I am out and about. It is important for people to see Christ in me and to be a good role model for my students in my classroom.
What is the Diocesan Council of Black Catholics? This is a council composed of members from the three predominantly black Catholic churches in the state of Arkansas – St. Augustine in North Little Rock, St. Bartholomew and St. Peter in Pine Bluff. We meet four times a year to discuss various issues related to the Catholic Church. We also plan activities to show our involvement in the diocese...which includes the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Mass in which the Daniel Rudd Memorial Award is given to a member of the black Catholic laity who has made significant contributions to their church and community.
Why is it important to have this in the diocese? It is important to have this in the diocese to show the involvement of African Americans in the Catholic Church. It shows that we are a part of the body of Christ.
Have you been Catholic all your life? No, my mom started bringing me to church at St. Bartholomew in the fall of 1982 when I started attending Good Counsel Catholic School. I was baptized the following year on Holy Saturday night.
What is the best thing about your parish? The best thing about St. Bartholomew Parish is the parishioners. They are my extended family. We are a small church where everyone knows everyone. We care about each other and we celebrate our successes and help each other in times of need. It is great to feel part of such a warm and loving community.
Who has influenced you most in your life as a Catholic? My parents have influenced me the most in my life as a Catholic, mainly my mom. She has made sure that I have had the best education and had the best Church family. She has sacrificed so much so that I could have what I needed to be a successful Catholic adult. She is the reason why I am who I am today. I will always be eternally grateful for all that she has done for me.
What is your favorite Scripture verse? My favorite Scripture verse is "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31).
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