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Featured Article: New Bible Is Designed Specifically for Young Black Catholics - In January Saint Mary’s Press will publish The African American Catholic Youth Bible®, the first Bible designed specifically for use by young black Catholics in the US. It has taken five years for the initial concept to become a reality. In 2009 John Vitek, president of Saint Mary’s Press, talked with Bishop John Ricard, president of the National Black Catholic Congress. Read Full Story

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 “2015 Keep the Dream Alive” Mass and Awards Ceremony
January 9, 2015
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January 17, 2015
 Archdiocese of Washington Annual Mass to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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 National Prayer Vigil for Life
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February 7-10, 2015
In The News
 Bishop: Catholics should ‘rekindle’ commitment to end racism
 US Catholic theologians call for Police reforms and racial justice in America
 Dear U.S. Catholic Theologians: Lives of Black Women & Girls Always Matter
 Vatican report calls U.S. women religious to continued dialogue
 Diverse A.C. church plans fight to stay open
 Pope: Missing something in your spiritual life? It’s probably love
 What the CIA’s torture apologists could learn from the Catholic Church
 Diocesan black advisory board; Leaders of the New Evangelization
 Injustice in Ferguson
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Pope Francis appoints Bishop-elect Fernand J. Cheri, III, OFM, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans

Please join the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) in congratulating Bishop-elect Fernand J. Cheri, III, O.F.M., appointed by Pope Francis to be an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Bishop-elect Cheri was a member of the NBCC Board of Trustees, very active in NBCC events, and we join our church family in celebrating him with this prestigious honor. May God be praised.


Many blessings to you, Bishop-elect Cheri. The NBCC family is extremely happy for you, and we will pray for you!

God be with you!

Valerie Washington
Executive Director

Bishop: Catholics should ‘rekindle’ commitment to end racism

Bishop John H Ricard said that the divide between blacks and whites must be addressed. The racial divide that exists between blacks and whites is not addressed adequately except when tragedies such as this happen,” said retired Bishop John H Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, who is president of the National Black Catholic Congress.

...When asked what can be done to work toward this “positive change,” particularly by the Catholic community, the bishop said Catholics should return to the passion many of them showed during the civil rights movement. Full Story

US Catholic theologians call for Police reforms and racial justice in America.

As Catholic theologians, we wish to go on the record in calling for a serious examination of both policing and racial injustice in the US. The time demands that we leave some mark that US Catholic theologians did not ignore what is happening in our midst - as the vast majority sadly did during the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Full Story

Dear U.S. Catholic Theologians: Lives of Black Women & Girls Always Matter

As a practicing Catholic and citizen of the world, I reminded the theologians that all black lives matter. I also warned the group that if the Church failed to acknowledge black women and girls as both victims and the loved ones of victims of police and vigilante violence in their statement, they failed the black community as a whole. Full Story

Vatican report calls U.S. women religious to continued dialogue

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A massive, detailed Vatican-ordered investigation of U.S. communities of women religious ended with a call to the women themselves to continue discerning how best to live the Gospel in fidelity to their orders’ founding ideals while facing steeply declining numbers and a rapidly aging membership. While not news, the report presents striking statistics: “Today, the median age of apostolic women religious in the United States is in the mid- to late-70s. The current number of approximately 50,000 apostolic women religious is a decline of about 125,000 since the mid-1960s, when the numbers of religious in the United States had reached their peak.” Full Story

Diverse A.C. church plans fight to stay open

ATLANTIC CITY - “I’ve been here since the womb, I’ll be here until the tomb,” 66-year-old Marilyn Kirkland, of Atlantic City, said as the 11:15 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Monica’s let out.”

One of the only predominantly African American, Haitian, African and Spanish churches in Atlantic County may have to close its doors. St. Monica’s has to come up with $200,000 to pay off debt and stay in operation. Full Story

Pope: Missing something in your spiritual life? It’s probably love

God’s love and closeness to his people are so tender that they can be compared to a mother who sings a lullaby to her baby, the Roman Pontiff said, noting that God desires to caress his children with the same tenderness. Full Story

What the CIA’s torture apologists could learn from the Catholic Church

Needless to say, the CIA and the Catholic Church are very different organizations with very different goals and reasons to exist. The church strives to help shine God’s light in the world; the CIA was created to do America’s dirty work in the shadows. Religion holds itself up as a force of moral good; the CIA is conspicuously amoral. Full Story

Diocesan black advisory board; Leaders of the New Evangelization

Returning from the National Black Catholic Congress in July 2012, South Bend business consultant James Summers knew he had been given a Gospel mandate. Set afire by the joy of truly celebrating the Mass with more than 2,200 participants from across the United States, he returned to South Bend with a desire to help other black Catholics know the joy of the heritage of their faith. Full Story

Injustice in Ferguson

As Catholics, we are called to do more than merely bemoan the racism that corrupts our criminal justice system. Other Christians and holy men and women of God are doing that work in many jails throughout the country and in the neighborhoods and in the schools. Our nation has tried mass incarceration and it does not work. It is time to try the joyful incarceration of the Mass, at which we cleave to the Lord who delivers captives and unite ourselves with Him in the Eucharist.

There is work to be done and the Church must be at the forefront of that work. We cannot lose another generation of young black men to crime and to the system that polices it and prosecutes it. Unarmed black teenagers cannot continue to be killed with impunity. Justice must mean something again. Full Story

Pope Francis speech at the conclusion of the Synod

I can happily say that - with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality - we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.” And it has been “a journey” - and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour…And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned... Full Story

Biloxi’s retired bishop has been eyewitness to racial division, healing

Bishop Howze, 91, a native of Daphne, Alabama, was appointed the first bishop of Biloxi in 1977. He was the first black Catholic bishop in the 20th century to head a diocese, and at the time of his retirement in 2001, he was the top-ranking active black Catholic bishop in the U.S. The bishop recently shared some recollections of growing up in the segregated South and how racial healing was gradually brought about through the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Full Story

Houston carries out ‘witch hunt’ on pastors opposing ‘bathroom bill’

After citizens filed a lawsuit against the City of Houston for failing to accept petitions for the repeal of the controversial “bathroom bill” allowing members of each sex to use each other’s restrooms, the city has subpoenaed sermons and internal church communications of local pastors, some of whom are not even a part of the lawsuit. Full Story

Faith leads to generous love, not fake facades, hypocrisy, pope says

“Jesus condemns this cosmetic spirituality -- appearing good, beautiful, but the truth that’s inside is a whole other thing,” he said, according to Vatican Radio. “Jesus condemns people with good manners but bad habits, those habits you can’t see, but are done on the sly. But the appearance is alright: these people who like to stroll in the square, be seen praying, ‘disguise oneself’ by seeming a bit weak when fasting,” he said. Full Story

St. Louis archbishop calls for nonviolent response to racism

“The sin of racism in our cities and our nation must be dealt with, but never with violence,” he said. “There are small but vocal groups currently threatening violence. I urge anyone who feels the desire to violently lash out to first pause and consider the potential consequences of their actions....” Full Story

Synod: the Holy See Press Office has published the “Relatio post disceptationem” of the General Rapporteur, Card. Péter Erd?, October 13, 2014.

The Relatio illustrates what are the themes concerning the family that are currently being the object of analysis in the Extraordinary Synod on the Family 2014. These themes will be subject to further consideration and analysis until the next Ordinary Synod, which is going to take place in one year time, in 2015. Full Story

Sr. Antona Ebo recalls her ‘march on Selma’ in ’65

Sister Antona, who doesn’t consider herself a trailblazer, said she had no clue that her presence as the only black nun would have an impact until she entered Brown’s Chapel AME (African Methodist Episcopal Church) in Selma that day and the crowds parted as minister Andrew Young who was at the podium introduced her and she was seated in a place of honor at the pastor’s chair in the sanctuary. That same day, the press questioned her intent about being there. Full Story

Archdiocese says St. Peter Claver Center will close

The St. Peter Claver Center for Evangelization in Center City, which has served black Catholics for nearly 30 years, will close at the end of this month, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced. Full Story

Exorcism Performed By Catholic Archbishop After Black Mass In Oklahoma

Roman Catholic Archbishop Paul S. Coakley and a priest performed “prayers of exorcism” to rid the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma of evil spirits that might have been hanging around after a satanic “Black Mass” was held there, Tulsa World reported on Thursday. Full Story

Lykehouse marks a decade and a half of ministry to AUC students

“When I first arrived at Lyke House, everything made sense-it was everything I needed. Catholic young adults from the continent of Africa, the Caribbean and the United States embraced me, welcomed me and taught me more about who I was,” said Drummer. Lyke House provided Drummer the foundation that has helped shape the context of his Catholic and priestly formation. Full Story

"Do not fear the call of Jesus", Pope says in radio interview

"Each person has a role, each person has a job to do, a vocation, the Pope said. Pray that God sends workers to the harvest, that he sends shepherds." "Young people who feel the call of Jesus should not be afraid," he continued, explaining that life is not for achieving gains. Life is for giving it away." Full Story

The National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) African American Catholic Youth Bible receives Imprimatur!

African American Catholic Youth BibleWe are happy to announce the NBCC African American Catholic Youth Bible: New American Bible Revised Edition has received the imprimatur and is scheduled to launch, January 2015. The imprimatur is a license/permission granted by a bishop certifying the Church's approval of a book to be published.

John Vitek, president of St. Mary's Press and publisher of the bible said, "I wanted to create a bible that was unique for the African American teen audience and culturally complementary to the many various written and visual elements of the bible." Upon reading the articles, he said; " I have read the text myself and it is a beautiful, powerful work. May lives be transformed by His Spirit through this good work."

Many thanks to Fr. James Chukwuma Okoye C.S.Sp., D. Phil. (Oxon), L.S.S (PIB, Rome)
general editor, writers and editorial team for their dedication, time, and commitment to this youth bible. More news as it happens.

Scholar recounts Black Catholics rich History

"Black Catholicism is not something new. From the very first century, people of color have been involved in the universal Church," Dr. Camille Brown, author of the 2008 book "African Saints, African Stories," told CNA. "They have embraced the Universal Church with courage and with love of the Lord, just like everyone else. We need our families so in love with the Church that they have to support their sons becoming priests and they have to support and advocate for their daughters to become religious sisters," she urged. We need our families so in love with Jesus and so in love with the Church that we are going to church together, sitting in the pews together," she said. "We have to be at table praying, we have to be together saying our rosary. This is the time for us to pull our act together." Full Story

Meet the ‘evangelical’ Catholics who are remaking the GOP

The challenge for Catholic politicians might be finding the balancing act between a Catholic and an evangelical appeal, said Amy E. Black, a political science professor at Wheaton College in Illinois. “While the Catholic faith used to be a liability, it might even be an asset now,” Black said. “Evangelicals are a solid voting bloc in the Republican Party, whereas Catholics are likely to be swing voters. Republican presidential candidates know they need to appeal to evangelical voters, and they want to win over as many Catholic voters as they can.” Full Story

Black and Born to Succeed is Released

Samuel F. Black had served his country for four years and displayed loyalty to the Catholic university where he worked for a decade, but in the end his employer chose to let him go rather than honor his service. In Black and Born to Succeed, Black shines a light on issues of employment discrimination, racial discrimination, and the shameful treatment of veterans in the United States. Full Story

Phoenix priest killed, another wounded in attack

Father Kenneth Walker, 28, was shot and killed and Father Joseph Terra was wounded at a Catholic church Wednesday night near the state Capitol, a Phoenix police spokesman said. Police were responding to a burglary call shortly after 9 p.m. near 16th Avenue and Monroe Street at the Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission, Sgt. Steve Martos said…“He was very dedicated to Christ, his church and to his parishioners,” she said. Livingston described Walker as being warm and generous. She said the last thing he told her when she saw him Monday, June 9, was “humility is everything.” Full Story

Pope condemns mafia, says members are excommunicated

“When instead of adoring the Lord, one substitutes the adoration of money, one opens the path to sin, personal interests and exploitation,” Pope Francis said to applause from an estimated 250,000 people gathered in a field near the town of Sibari. “When one does not adore the Lord God, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live lives of crime and violence.” Full Story

Are We Willing to Die for the Mass?

Catholic doctrine teaches that the bread and wine, once consecrated at Mass, actually become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. This radical belief has been worth the cost of everything for countless Catholics throughout history. In a brief, two-and-a-half minute YouTube video entitled “Mass”, the well-known Catholic public speaker paints a powerful picture of what a privilege it is to attend Mass in freedom and how this can be so easily taken for granted. Full Story

Nudist Claims Catholic Saint Francis Embraced Body Freedom, Plans Naked March To Religious Shrine

Catholic clergy don their heavy black vestments every day, even covering their head with hoods and habits, but nude activist Gypsy Taub claims a pillar of the Catholic faith embraced nakedness, and is planning a naked march to the National Shrine of Saint Francis to make her point. Full Story

IRAQ: ‘Crisis on top of a crisis’ as food, water become scarce in upheaval

Black-clad fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (ISIL) have caused nearly half a million people to flee their homeland. The long-troubled Middle Eastern nation now faces the very real prospect of an all-out sectarian war. In the face of this upheaval, shelter, food and medical care are urgently needed in Iraq. Full Story

Perkasa thanks God for judgment

Hundreds of supporters of Perkasa and other Muslim groups rejoiced over the Federal Court’s judgment that did not allow the appeal filed by the Catholic Weekly, The Herald on the use of the word ‘Allah’. Full Story

Msgr. Leonard Scott Retires

Msgr, Leonard G. Scott, who has been pastor of Emmaus Catholic Community in Mount Ephraim since 2011, will retire June 30. Msgr. Scott, who holds a doctorate in canon law from Rome, served as Judicial Vicar of the Camden Diocese Tribunal from 1978-2002. He was the first black priest elevated to the rank of monsignor in the Camden Diocese and the second named in the United States. He also has served as president of the Canon Law Society of America Full Story

Faithful honor martyred Ugandan saint: Waltham service attended by 200

Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, from the Malaka Diocese of Uganda, served as the main celebrant during Sunday’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s canonization of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions. “ I bring you all greetings from your brothers and sisters in Uganda,” he said to applause. “They all love you, and they wish you a happy celebration today.”

Wearing long robes and bright traditional Ugandan dresses with pointed shoulders, parishioners sang, danced, and offered prayers honoring the men known as the Uganda Martyrs. The worshipers were led by a traveling choir that honors the men, singing from the gallery overhead. Full Story

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