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 NBCC Online! [ May / June 2016 ]  

Answering two calls…as priest and naval officer

Rev. Mr. Mark BristolRev. Mr. Mark Bristol, a Transitional Deacon to be ordained in June 2016, follows in the footsteps of pioneer Fr. Leslie Branch, the first black Catholic priest to serve as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Bristol acknowledges he has big shoes to fill, and that Fr. Branch forged the path, but adds that it is a path that few black Catholic priests have chosen to follow.

“Within the military, there is a drastic need for priests, period. There are [1.8 million] Catholics serving their country who need to receive the Sacraments, and few Catholic chaplains to fill that need,” Bristol stated. According to a recent CNS article, Catholic priests account for only 8% of the Chaplain Corps, creating a great disparity within the armed services.

When asked why he entered the military, Deacon Bristol laughingly replied that it was the best of his three options. Said Bristol, “I needed money for college and my parents told me I had three options: apply for scholarships, stay at home and attend a junior college, or join the military. I wasn’t the type of student to fill out lots of [scholarship] application forms and write essays and I didn’t want to stay home and attend a junior college, so the military was it!” Full Story

Special Report

Congress XII

Every fifth year, the NBCC convenes a Congress, complete with invigorating and deeply moving daily Eucharistic liturgies. We have a Gospel choir, ministry workshops, and serious discussions about strategies for responding to events that are occurring in African American communities today, and developing a meaningful and faith-filled response. Over 2,300 people have attended the two most recent Congresses, and a youth track attracted busloads of teens and youth ministers.

Full Story

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Black Catholic Newsletter
 Let the Children Come to Me: How We Saved Our Catholic School
 Identical Twin Sisters – Called to Religious Life
 Year of Mercy: Opportunities for Addressing Racism
 “Second Time Around”
 African Americans and Kidney Disease
 The Future is Bright in the Knights of Peter Claver!
 Setting yourself up for success: Things you can do while you’re an undergrad
 Recommended Reading:
Father Augustus Tolton: The First Recognized Black Catholic Priest in America
 Author Spotlight:
Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I.
NBCC Spotlight
 Jeff Mallory – Duquesne University
Upcoming Events
 Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers (BICM)
July 4-8, 2016
 Archbishop James Patterson Lyke Conference
July 5-9, 2016
 Hope, Help, and Healing: A Catholic Response to Domestic Violence and Abuse
May 7, 2016
 Year of Mercy Reflection Day!
July 18, 2016
 Third African National Eucharistic Congress
August 5-7, 2016
 Third African National Eucharistic Congress Sponsorship Opportunities
August 5-7, 2016
 Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Our Life, Our Sweetness, And Our Hope!
August 13, 2016
 Holy Spirit Men’s Retreat
August 19-21, 2016
 Heavenly Host of Stars Gala
August 21, 2016
In The News
 Congress XII Update: The National Black Catholic Congress
 Domestic Violence Workshop held at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Alexandria, Virginia
 New Data Shows Female-Headed Households See Higher Levels of Poverty, Hunger
 St. Katharine Drexel Shrine put up for sale
 After vision of Christ, Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Haram
 Christians in Nigeria are essentially ‘target practice’ – here’s one bishop’s response
 The Future of the African American Past
 Twelve inducted into Baltimore Catholic League Hall of Fame
 130th Anniversary of Ordination of Father Augustus Tolton
 You have my gratitude, Pope Francis tells prison chaplains
 Last Call for Large Photo of 10 African American Bishops
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Black Catholic Newsletter Articles

Lifestyle >>

What the CARA Report Tells Us About Our Newest Priests
What the CARA Report Tells Us About Our Newest Priests
- Each year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissions CARA to offer a detailed report on the hundreds of men from around the country who are up for ordination to the priesthood. (There are 595 men scheduled to be ordained this year; 411 of them completed the survey.) It’s a fascinating little study, and there’s a lot to learn from it, especially in terms of vocation work.

Getting to the Heart: Gratitude, servitude and attitude - The Year of Mercy is upon us (and) many of us are asking the question, “What is it all about?” To answer that question, we just have to look at the word itself. Mercy in Latin is “misericordia”. In that word, we see “miser” which means poor and “Cor” which means heart. So simply put, mercy is about having a “poor heart.”

NET Ministries Puts Youth in the Church
NET Ministries Puts Youth in the Church
- Since its inception, NET Ministries has proclaimed the Gospel to 1.7 million Catholic youth in the United States. In addition to helping awaken greater faith in so many young people, NET has trained over 2,000 young adult missionaries. Because they’re close in age to the youth they serve, these missionaries are granted a hearing that parents and church staff rarely enjoy...

Youth & Young Adults >>

Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers
Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers
- As you get older, you are starting to make your own decisions about many things that are important to you. You select what you wear every day, listen to music that you like, and spend time with friends that you choose. Are you also ready to take charge of decisions that affect your health?

WORLD YOUTH DAY, Krakow-2016WORLD YOUTH DAY, Krakow-2016 This year, the World Youth Day will be celebrated in Krakow, Poland from July 25-31. The official website,, has released a tentative schedule of events, with the Official welcome for pilgrims to be held on Tuesday morning, followed by the Opening Ceremonies and a holy mass celebrated by the local ordinary.

Praise Through Poetry
Praise Through Poetry
- “Years ago there was an assignment at Collinwood Middle School in Cleveland that would change Chris’s life forever. A teacher challenged an unruly class to try their hand at a new form of creative writing; poetry. As the class unwillingly obliged, Chris obliviously put pencil to paper and something happened that he describes today as “god-sent.”

NBCC Spotlight >>

The Catholic Church and The Black Lives Matter MovementThe Catholic Church and The Black Lives Matter Movement: The Racial Divide in the United States Revisited - A Pastoral Letter by His Excellency, The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D. Bishop of Belleville, Illinois During this past year, the racial conflicts addressed in “The Racial Divide” seem to have been exacerbated. It was my hope that my previous Pastoral Letter, in a Study Guide format, would be a contribution to the urgently needed conversation within the Catholic Church in the United States about the ongoing challenges Black and White Americans continue to face.

IBCS At Xavier UniversityIBCS At Xavier University - Xavier University, founded by St. Katharine Drexel, contains the Institute for Black Catholic Studies. The mission of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies contributes to the enhancement of the person, through teaching, learning, research, and community service seeks to promote the advancement of the African American Culture and the light of the Catholic faith.

NBCC News >>

National Day of Prayer
National Day of Prayer - Thursday, May 5th, 2016
- The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.

Bishop Curtis J. Guillory
Makeup of mission dioceses reflects U.S. church’s changing demographics
- “The challenge is to help people to realize that we are of one faith, one baptism and that we can enrich the church and each other through our cultural diversity,” Bishop Guillory said during an interview in Beaumont.

Chosen: Helping teens fall in love with the truth, beauty and joy of Christ and his Church.
- The Catholic Faith for Teens, Chosen is going to change the way we pass along our previous gift of the Catholic Faith to the next generation. Designed to offer young people a life-changing experience as they journey through their Catholic faith in all its richness and vitality, the goal is nothing short of winning over the hearts of teens and making them lifelong disciples of Christ.

Parishes Shine in the Year of MercyParishes Shine in the Year of Mercy - Harper’s Helpers Feed the Hungry, Clothe the Naked, begun by young adults with parishioner volunteers has become a parish site to care for children and families during the Baltimore unrest. St. Peter Claver, the venerable Westside parish, was the first parish in the Archdiocese of Baltimore to receive an award from Catholic Charities for its service to the needy during the Year of Mercy. How active is the parish in performing Corporal Works of Mercy? Consider these groups, programs and activities.

Will Birmingham Give Birth to National Racial Reconciliation?
Will Birmingham Give Birth to National Racial Reconciliation?
- The city of Birmingham is famous for its place in history as ground zero of the civil-rights movement - but a first-of-its-kind meeting of religious and civil leaders has possibly sown the seeds for a new national movement of racial reconciliation between black and white Americans

A Summary of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love)A Summary of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) - I don’t believe it’s an overstatement to say that Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation,Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) is one of the most anticipated documents in the history of the Church. Amoris Laetitia is officially a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation because it is the result of not one, but two Synods on marriage and family in 2014 and 2015.

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Spirituality >>

ConfirmationConfirmation: Strengthened by the Spirit, Called to Action
- Confirmation enriches the baptized with the strength of the Holy Spirit so that they can better witness to Christ in word and deed (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], no. 1285). Anointed by the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, Christians strengthen their bond with the Church and become better equipped to carry out the Church’s mission of love and service.

Prayer For Healing
Prayer For Healing Your Family And You
- Note: This three-part prayer is to be used as a follow up prayer to the Family Healing Prayer Service, or, as an “Emergency Family Healing Prayer” to bring relief to individuals and families, for those who haven’t been to a service yet. It reduces the seven-steps of liberation prayer explained in chapter 12 of the book, Healing of Families, by Fr. Yozefu-B Ssemakula, to just three steps, and hence the name “The Quick One.”

Pentecost Sunday
Pentecost Sunday - May 15, 2016
- Pentecost (Whitsunday), with Christmas and Easter, ranks among the great feasts of Christianity. It commemorates not only the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Disciples, but also the fruits and effects of that event: the completion of the work of redemption, the fullness of grace for the Church and its children, and the gift of faith for all nations.

Health & Wellness >>

No Diets! How Parents Can Help Kids Learn Healthy Eating HabitsNo Diets! How Parents Can Help Kids Learn Healthy Eating Habits
- Teens learn eating disorder behaviors, and often, they learn them in the home from a young age, and from well-meaning parents or relatives. No one single factor causes an eating disorder, but kids that learn good eating habits, a healthy body image and great self-esteem in the home, are almost completely inoculated against the risks.

26 Recommended Preventive Health Services for Older Adults: the Healthy Aging Checklist26 Recommended Preventive Health Services for Older Adults: the Healthy Aging Checklist
- This article covers The Healthy Aging Checklist, which is my list of six fundamental activities that will help any older adult maintain the best possible health while aging.


Recommended Reading >>

Trustful Surrender to Divine ProvidenceTrustful Surrender to Divine Providence - “To remain indifferent to good fortune or to adversity by accepting it all from the hand of God without questioning, not to ask for things to be done as we would like them but as God wishes, to make the intention of all our prayers that God’s will should be perfectly accomplished in ourselves and in all creatures is to find the secret of happiness and content.”

Author Spotlight >>

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Professor Gates has authored or co-authored twenty books and created fifteen documentary films, including Wonders of the African World, African American Lives, Faces of America, Black in Latin America and Finding Your Roots, his groundbreaking genealogy series now in its third season on PBS.

NBCC News >>

Pittsburgh’s 2016 Juneteenth Festival & Bicentennial EventPittsburgh’s 2016 Juneteenth Festival & Bicentennial Event - Pittsburgh and all surrounding areas, from Jun 17th-19th, 2016, join Stop the Violence-Pittsburgh for Pittsburgh’s Juneteenth Festival and Re-enactment Parade. This year’s programming coincides with other events highlighting Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial celebration and the City’s formation. Our Juneteenth Festival is named in honor of Pittsburgh’s iconic African American leader, Martin R. Delany.

Why there’s hope for Catholic liturgical music
Why there’s hope for Catholic liturgical music
- For decades, there’s been concern in many corners of the Church that Catholic music is in crisis. The 1992 book “Why Catholics Can’t Sing” outlined a history of modern Catholic Liturgical music and a rapid shift away from traditional chants and hymns in the later part of the 20th Century. Writer Damian Thompson decried “Bad Catholic Music,” such as folk-and-jazz-inspired “worship songs” in a 2015 essay in the British publication the Catholic Herald.

Father Stephen Thorne
Father Stephen Thorne to receive Gesu School award - Catholic Philly
- The National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) would like to congratulate Fr. Thorne. He is one of four black Catholic priests of the Philadelphia Archdiocese to receive the Gesu Spirit Medal on May 5 in recognition of his commitment to empowering and mentoring children who live in North Philadelphia.

Request for Religious and Laity Help - I am Fr. Theobald Mwanisawa, a Fidei Donum priest working in Tunduru Masasi Diocese of Tanzania, Africa. Tunduru Masasi Diocese undergoes the scarcity of Priests that affects the Apostolate in the Southern zone of Tanzania. The Catholics are surrounded by the Muslim people who are the majority. The Diocesan Priests from your Diocese are invited to join us in this Diocese for Clerical services.

Employment Opportunities >>

New Employment Opportunities - The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, is seeking a Youth Registration Coordinator. Ave Maria University is accepting applications for a Director of Counseling Services. A Director of Mission Advancement and Stewardship is needed for the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in the Good Shepherd Province, Illinois. Vision Exchange in Elmwood Park, Illinois is seeking a Superhero Illustrator.

Upcoming Events>>

For full details on upcoming events visit The NBCC Events or the Calendar page.

Recommended Sites >>

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