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Featured Article: Our Black Shepherds - Given the traditional European/American profile of the Church in the United States, there has always been urgings from the smaller ethnic groupings, Hispanic, African American, Italian, Polish, Asian, etc to have episcopal representation. And each group has its own story to tell with getting bishops appointed. Read Full Story

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May 21, 2015
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May 29-31, 2015
In The News
 Newsmaker: The Rev. James Chukwuma Okoye
 Sister Bowman's presence, energy recalled 25 years after her death
 Cuomo’s Political Ploy Could Cost Catholic-School Tax Credits
 The Shroud: Not a Painting, Not a Scorch, Not a Photograph
 Fernand J. Cheri ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans
 Mass marks 50 years since Selma civil rights marches
 Students pray for safety of Pope Francis more than 1 million times
 Bishop addresses race in the U.S.
 Cardinal Sarah: Catholic Africa will resist any effort to change Church teaching
 Pascagoula priest returns home to celebrate golden anniversary as a Josephite
 Pope Francis to Address a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress
 Catholics On Campus
 Haitian man who lives in roadway berm finds help hard to come by
 Archbishop celebrates Shipwreck centennial Mass
 Career Opportunity Principal
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History Bee shines on African-American history

The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Delta Rho Chapter, invite the coaches of all the elementary and middle schools for a meeting at the beginning of the school year. Students begin studying for this event in early fall and continue to do so until the competition is held in mid-February. This way, we learn about black history six months and hope real soon, with the encouragement of our district, parents and the community, we can celebrate human history all year long by sharing the contributions to the prosperity of this great nation by our American Indians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Caucasians, Mexican Americans, African Americans and other cultures, as we all have made significant contributions and no one should discount anyone. Full Story

Newsmaker: The Rev. James Chukwuma Okoye

Okoye, director of Duquesne University's Center for Spiritan Studies, edited a newly published adaptation of the Bible written from an African-American point of view. The African-American Catholic Youth Bible includes articles, introductions and graphics that make Scripture more accessible to young black Catholic readers. Full Story

Sister Bowman’s presence, energy recalled 25 years after her death

There is no doubt that Sister Thea Bowman possessed a presence. Many of those who knew her well speak of how she enveloped those around her with love, encouragement and positive energy, no matter if they were a lifelong friend or someone she just met. Full Story

Cuomo’s Political Ploy Could Cost Catholic-School Tax Credits

For the second consecutive year, it appears that an education tax-credit bill that would help parents afford to send their children to Catholic and private schools will be left out of New York state’s budget. Full Story

The Shroud: Not a Painting, Not a Scorch, Not a Photograph

This June, Pope Francis will be making a pilgrimage to Turin, Italy, home of the famous Shroud of Turin, which many believe is the 2,000-year-old burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The pope's June 21-22 visit will include time venerating the Shroud at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Francis will then visit the tomb of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, buried in a nearby altar. The trip will also include a commemoration of St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesians and patron saint of youth who worked in Turin; this year marks the 200th anniversary of his birth. The papal visit will take advantage of April 19-June 24 exposition of the Shroud, which was last displayed in public in 2010. Full Story

Fernand J. Cheri ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans

The Episcopal Ordination Mass of Most Reverend Fernand J. Cheri, O.F.M. took place at St. Louis Cathedral on Monday (March 23). He was appointed by Pope Francis and has begun his ministry as Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. According to the Archdiocese of New Orleans website, Bishop Cheri grew up in New Orleans and has served in several parishes in the city. Full Story

Mass marks 50 years since Selma civil rights marches

The message of the civil rights movement has always been that all people are created in the image and likeness of God and that the dignity of all must be respected, said Mobile Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi. He was the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass March 8 at Queen of Peace Church in Selma marking the 50th anniversary of the 1965 civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery. Respect for the dignity of all remains the challenge for today, Archbishop Rodi said, adding that he wondered what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led the marches and was "first and foremost a religious leader," would think about things today. Full Story

Students pray for safety of Pope Francis more than 1 million times

The prayerful protection of Mary has been showered upon Pope Francis 1 million times over, thanks to students and their friends at St. Charles Borromeo School in the New Orleans archdiocese. On Holy Thursday, April 2, just before the start of the school's monthly rosary, religion teacher Lisa Benoit, accompanied by seven students bearing numbered placards, made a joyful announcement: The school's 2014-2015 goal of praying 1 million Hail Marys for the safety of Pope Francis had not only been met, but exceeded. The count: an incredible 1,031,840 Hail Marys. Full Story

Bishop addresses race in the U.S.

On Wednesday, April 8, SLU's Catholic studies program hosted Bishop Edward Braxton, bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, in the Center for Global Citizenship. Braxton, who is a nationally published commentator on Catholic theology and social issues in America - his works have been published in the Jesuit magazine "America" and in "Commonweal" magazine, to name a few - gave a talk entitled "The Racial Divide in the United States." It was a presentation that sought to examine the relationship between racially divisive issues - the shooting in Ferguson, grand jury decisions across the country and police profiling in jurisdictions nationwide - and Catholicism in the United States. Full Story

Cardinal Sarah: Catholic Africa will resist any effort to change Church teaching

L'Espresso profiles Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, speculating that he could be the first Pope from black Africa. Cardinal Sarah, a native of Guinea, was the world's youngest bishop when he was first appointed by Pope Paul VI in 1978. As Archbishop of Conakry, the nation's capital, he clashed with the President Ahmed Sekou Toure, and was at the top of a list of enemies that the brutal dictator planned to kill when Sekou Toure himself died suddenly in 1984. Full Story

Pascagoula priest returns home to celebrate golden anniversary as a Josephite

Throughout his priesthood, Norvel has been a trail blazer. He is the first African-American to be elected superior general of the Josephites in their 143-year history and the only African-American to head a community of Catholic priests in the United States."His courageous leadership and his ability to build church through the engagement of parishioners in ministry has strengthened community by fostering pride in the cultural and spiritual heritage of African-Americans," Lewis said. Full Story

Career Opportunity

This is an exceptional opportunity to lead a Catholic educational institution comprised of children and families from a wide range of ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Primary functions are to lead and inspire a culturally diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. Full Story

Report: Hundreds More of African Americans Lynched Than Previously Thought

...the Montgomery, Alabama-based EJI, released a detailed report, entitled, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.” The report notes that there are at least hundreds of lynchings that occurred after the Reconstruction period until after the Second World War that went not only unreported, but also ignored, ultimately shaping the often combative racial experience between Blacks and Whites in the United States. Full Story

Research uncovers new information about Mother Mary Lange

Many bits of misinformation have cropped up around Mother Mary Lange, the pioneering woman who founded in Baltimore both the Oblate Sisters of Providence (the first sustained religious community for African American women) and St. Frances Academy (the first Catholic school in the United States for black children)…As many in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and around the world pray for Mother Lange’s canonization, the Catholic Review separates fact from fiction. Full Story

Xavier receives $80,000 grant from Black and Indian Mission Board

Xavier University in New Orleans has received an $80,000 grant from the Black and Indian Mission Board to support the university’s educational ministries. Full Story

First black parish in Arlington Diocese turns 100

The history of St. Joseph Church began March 8, 1915, when the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament signed an agreement with Richmond Bishop Denis J. O’Connell granting $8,000 to the Richmond Diocese for a church to be built on Columbus Street in Alexandria. That was half of the expected cost of the church, with the remaining amount to be raised by the parishioners, a difficult task at that time, but a monument to a parish’s commitment to the faith. Full Story

Middle Passage historical marker unveiled

In one of many commemorations of St. Augustine’s 450 year history, on Saturday, the St. Augustine Middle Passage Committee, the Black Catholic Commission of the Diocese of St. Augustine, and representatives of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Commission, honored their African ancestors. Full Story

Oakland Priest Learns Boxing, Gets Large Donation For Church

Father Aidan McAleenan is pastor of St. Columba’s Catholic Church in Oakland. At Christmastime, he was contacted by a stranger who said he wanted to donate some money.
“And he took 40 bills, $100 bills, and spread them out on the table,” McAleenan told KPIX 5. “And said the only the only way you can pick this money up is…” Full Story

Catholic priest pleads guilty to helping imprisoned Chicago mob killer

Klein, the 66-year-old former prison chaplain at the Federal Penitentiary in Springfield, Mo., admitted he’d tried to help prolific mob hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. recover a rare, multimillion-dollar violin reputedly once owned by Liberace. Full Story

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ gets black marks from bishops, pastors

The Catholic bishop of Buffalo, N.Y., has warned fellow prelates to step up preaching on the true beauty of sex-within-male-female-marriage - and do it pronto. Full Story

Why I send my kids to Catholic school

When my kids come home, they tell me their experiences with church and school subjects, and they learn from both. I think it helps with behavior. Once they know what God expects of them, they want to please God as well, and they want to please others, and they want their parents to be happy and proud of them. Full Story

Pope Francis to Address a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress

The Holy See Press Office has confirmed that Pope Francis will address a Joint Session of the United States Congress on 24 September 2015 during his pastoral visit to the U.S.A. Full Story

Catholics On Campus

While it is not true that all Catholics stray from the flock in college, a shocking number cease to practice their faith. Up to 80 percent of U.S. Catholic youth stop practicing their faith by the time they graduate college according to Catholic apologist Sherry A. Weddell. Why? Full Story

Haitian man who lives in roadway berm finds help hard to come by

Homelessness in Haiti is not prevalent and social services for homeless people are few. In the city, the occasional homeless person -- usually identified by their ragged clothing, dirt-covered bare feet and generally unkempt appearance -- is seen silently sitting against a wall with a few coins at his or her feet. Most Haitians manage to find someplace to stay rather than risk life alone on streets. Full Story

Archbishop celebrates Shipwreck centennial Mass

The pastor, Conventual Franciscan Father Paul Gawlowski, said the Mass was one of a yearlong series of events the parish community has planned to mark the history of the church. Full Story

Prejean to retire as Black Catholic Ministry director

After nearly 15 years heading up the Office for Black Catholic Ministry, Charles Prejean is retiring. The 73-year-old Lafayette, Louisiana, native will be spending more time with his wife of 50 years, Carmen, their three children and their five grandchildren. Prejean plans to remain in the area where he attends Most Blessed Sacrament Church, Atlanta. Full Story

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

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