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Featured Article: May is dedicated to Mary as the season of the beginning of new life - According to Catholic Culture.org, “The month of May is the month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady.” The dedication of the month of May to the Blessed Virgin began at the end of the 13th century as a way for the Church to Christianize secular feasts. By 1700, the members of the Jesuit Order and the Gesu Church in Rome publicly practiced the May observance (https://www.catholicculture.org). Current celebrations include a daily recitation of the rosary and the crowing of Our Lady’s statue. Read Full Story

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 May is dedicated to Mary as the season of the beginning of new life
 Confirmation: Strengthened by the Spirit, Called to Action
 Prayer For Healing Your Family And You
 Pentecost Sunday - May 15, 2016
 What the CARA Report Tells Us About Our Newest Priests
 Getting to the Heart: Gratitude, servitude and attitude
 NET Ministries Puts Youth in the Church
 No Diets! How Parents Can Help Kids Learn Healthy Eating Habits
 26 Recommended Preventive Health Services for Older Adults: the Healthy Aging Checklist
 Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers
 WORLD YOUTH DAY, Krakow-2016
 Praise Through Poetry
Publications
 Recommended Reading:
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence
 Author Spotlight:
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
NBCC Spotlight
 The Catholic Church and The Black Lives Matter Movement: The Racial Divide in the United States Revisited
 IBCS At Xavier University
Upcoming Events
 Breaking the Silence: Confronting Race, Power & Privilege Retreat
May 7, 2016
 Domestic Violence Workshop
May 7, 2016
 14th Annual Asian and Pacific Island Catholics Marian Pilgrimage
May 7, 2016
 FREE Healing of Families Worldwide Webinar with Fr. Yozefu (Joseph) Ssemakula
May 9, 2016
 The Way Healing Retreat for Female Survivors of Abuse
May 13, 2016
 Together in God’s Love Marriage Retreat Weekend
May 13, 2016
 22nd Annual Memorial Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost
May 15, 2016
 St. Martin's Church 2016 Pentecost Concert
May 15, 2016
 Montclair’s African Heritage Day Parade
June 4, 2016
 GIVEN: the Catholic Young Women's Leadership Forum
June 7, 2016
 Interregional African American Catholic Evangelization Conference (IAACEC)
June 9, 2016
 WOMEN'S RETREAT: Finding Afresh the God of Our Longing
June 10, 2016
 Standing on the Rock, a guided retreat for Black Catholics
June 17, 2016
 “You Show Me the Path to Life”
June 26, 2016
 Xavier University of Louisiana Institute for Black Catholic Studies
June 27, 2016
 ALL UPCOMING EVENTS
In The News
 National Day of Prayer - Thursday, May 5th, 2016
 Makeup of mission dioceses reflects U.S. church’s changing demographics
 Chosen: Helping teens fall in love with the truth, beauty and joy of Christ and his Church.
 Parishes Shine in the Year of Mercy
 Will Birmingham Give Birth to National Racial Reconciliation?
 A Summary of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love)
 Pittsburgh’s 2016 Juneteenth Festival & Bicentennial Event
 Why there’s hope for Catholic liturgical music
 Father Stephen Thorne to receive Gesu School award - Catholic Philly
 Request for Religious and Laity Help
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 Black Catholic Young Adults

Why Go To Confession?

A person once asked about the need for the sacrament of confession when we can easily confess our sins directly to God. While there is some truth to this, there is something else that needs to be considered. Whenever we sin, our first response should be an immediate appeal to God for mercy and forgiveness. Repentance should be a regular part of the life of every human being, especially a believer. God is omniscient. Even when we repent in the secret of our heart, we are not telling Him anything that He doesn't already know. Rather, we are acknowledging our sin and taking responsibility for our actions and their consequences. The question that remains is whether or not this private, one to one conversation with God is enough. God does not need our repentance, we do. So God's gift of the forgiveness of sins is tailored to meet our needs.

One thing we should note is that human beings live in community and our actions affect others for good or for evil. So sin-even sin committed in private-is not a purely private matter. All of our actions have a communitarian dimension. That means our reconciliation after sin must somehow involve the community. The Sacrament of Penance provides that necessary link between the commission of sin by the individual and the reconciliation of the sinner with God and the community of believers, especially in cases involving serious or mortal sins, which require the influx of sacramental grace for forgiveness.

Did you ever notice that people usually don't question the communitarian dimensions of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders, or even Anointing of the Sick? But they always seem to question the need for an instrument, a human mediator, in the Sacrament of Penance! Why? Because confessing one's sins to another human being is difficult. It is often embarrassing. But that is part of the power of sacramental reconciliation. It makes one honest and humble before God through a human instrument-little chance for self-deception here!

The question still remains about the necessity of going to confession. Well, what does the Bible say? In St. Mark's Gospel (2:5-12), the Pharisees criticize Jesus for forgiving a man's sins. To prove that He has this authority, Jesus cures the man. The Pharisees couldn't bear the thought of a man acting as if He were God! They didn't know that Jesus was also God. As God, Jesus is unlimited in power and in St. Matthew's Gospel He shares His power and authority with His Church through St. Peter, who was just a man!

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Mt. 16:16-19).

Finally in St. John's Gospel (20:21-23), Jesus explicitly gives the disciples the Holy Spirit and the authority to forgive sins:

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Jesus gave this power to His disciples and the Church continues to make it present to the People of God. Our response to this gift should first be one of gratitude. Then we should be motivated to examine our consciences, confess our sins, be reconciled to God and our brothers and sister and discover the joy of living in God's mercy.

Article Index
What We've Seen and Heard...Black Lives Matter
The past three weeks have awakened a sleeping giant in Baltimore. For some, the incidents brought back horrible memories of a time long past.. Click for full story
We celebrate Most Reverend Fernand Cheri’s ordination
We are providing a link from you tube to the entire ordination of Bishop Fernand Cheri in New Orleans. Click for full story
Meeting Them Where They're At
As a youth minister I longed to help young men see another way. Click for full story
Now Soliciting Nominations For Participants 2015 Black Catholic Young Adult Listening Session
African American Affairs is seeking 25 Black Catholic Young Adults to help us begin to develop an approaches to effectively evangelize and cultivate leadership. Click for full story
Domestic Violence and Abuse
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. Click for full story
Empty Shell Marriages
Sociology textbooks define Empty Shell Marriages as: A marriage in name only, where a couple continues to live under the same roof but as separate individuals. Click for full story
Must See Sermon
In this Young Adult Service, the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, a Baptist minister from Alexandria, Virginia, challenges the young and young at heart to explore their trust in God by showing how God reveals himself. Click for full story
Sunday Prayer for Teens 2014-2015
Sunday Prayer for Teens provides a great way to support a teenager’s prayer life throughout the year in a cost-effective manner. Click for full story
Dying to Self
What does it look like to be crucified with Christ? What does it mean that “I no longer live?” How do I deny myself? Click for full story
Shining her Light: Proud Young Women, Black & Yes, Catholic!
In honor of Black Catholic History Month, 13 year old Vanessa was asked by her churches BCHM Committee to share with her Parish what it means to her to be Black and Catholic. Click for full story
Vocation, a Journey to Conversion
A reflection written by Fr. Davis when he was a deacon. He was ordained to the priesthood June 2013 in New York. Click link for full story
Online Resources for Teens: lifeteen.com
Check out the these resources for teens concerning alcohol, sex, living a pure life and more Click link for full story
Examination of Conscience
Every day we must examine our reflections and take account for the mark we have left on the world. Click link for full story
The Time has Come
On June 1, 2013, seven young men of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers religious community were ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC in what was both a festive and holy occasion. Click link for full story
The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) 2013
From November 21st through November 23rd, the young Catholic church of the United States will gather in Indianapolis, Indiana to play, pray, and praise as only they know how at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). Click link for full story
The Road to Youth Ministry: Discerning God’s Call
Ministry discernment begins with a call received at baptism. This call comes from God to every baptized Christian. Some folks would like to think that God dialed the wrong number and couldn’t possibly be calling them. They are wrong. God calls all of us to mission and ministry. Click link for full story
Is Waiting Worth It?
The boundary for sex is marriage. God instructs us to wait to express our physical sexuality with another human being. He knows the power of it and knows that the best place for it to be expressed is inside of marriage. When sex happens inside of marriage it acts as a bond that keeps two people together, for life. Click link for full story
My Reflections on the National Black Catholic Congress XI
I have attended Congresses in the past as a youth. But now as a young adult, I believe I learned more from the experience. Perhaps now, as I am developing my own relationship with God, I was able to comprehend the various topics discussed in a deeper manner. Click link for full story
Reflections on Keeping Young Adults in the Catholic Church
I see the kids and teens in my own church and while they may not be on fire with their faith yet, I see that spark that will soon ignite and want so much for them to keep that spark ignited. I want them to join their church committees, be a true member. I want them to stay with their faith and profess to the world that yes we are black, we are Catholic and we are just as on fire with our faith as other Christians. Click link for full story
Words from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress)
Reflections from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress) with pictures. Click link for full story
The Princess Within: 3 Steps to Realizing Your True Identity
The attack on our feminine souls can be strong and relentless. The war on our identity can seem like a never-ending nightmare. Where can you turn to find relief? Where can you go to find the answers to who you really are? How can you begin to realize that you are beautiful and perfect, a true princess? Click link for full story
The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction
The more we learn, the better we may be able to understand the abilities and vulnerabilities of teens, and the significance of this stage for life-long mental health. Click link for full story

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