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  • Congress XI!

    Congress XI is a time to renew our commitment to address the challenges of the present.

    Make plans now to join your fellow Catholic Christians to engage in this process of sankofa. Let us remember where we have been so that we can continue to move confidently in the present and the future. God is continuing to do great things through us!

  • Speakers & Workshops

    Read about our speakers whose desire is to share with you their experiences and expertise in ministry to Catholics of our day.  Also check out this section for workshops designed around our theme: "Faith Engaged: Empower. Equip. Evangelize." Write down the ones you want attend and get ready for lively discussions. Visit this section for workshop updates. There is something for everybody.

    Click here to read more

  • Hotel Accomodations

    The JW Marriott hotel is SOLD OUT  for our event. Register for the Congress and you will receive a list of the overflow hotels to reserve your hotel accommodations.

    Register Now!

  • Congress XI Schedule

    Congress begins Thursday, July 19th  at 9:00am and ends Saturday, July 21, 2012  in the afternoon after the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) award's ceremony. Stay with us as we honor outstanding African American Catholic leaders in our communities.

    view tentative schedule

  • Important Links

    Stay up to date!  Download the Congress XI Schedule and other important files. Get information   on Attendee Registration, Exhibits, Book Pavilion & Vendor Prospectus, Souvenir Program Book Ads and more. Sponsor a financial gift   at any level to show your support of this program with a ministry to African American Catholics.

    Click here to learn more

  • Register Online!

    Register now!  It is quick and easy. Save money by registering with the group rate of 10 or more people. Join us for a faith-filled event in Indianapolis! You don't want to miss it.

    Click here to register

Congress XI Information Center
Congress XI Logo

Bishop Ricard Welcomes Congress XI


Welcome Message from Joyce Lombard
Youth Track Coordinator

"Train a child in the way he should go
and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Proverb 22:6

Dear Congress XI Youth Attendees,

Welcome everyone to the National Black Catholic Congress XI, July 18-21, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. There is a lot of anticipation about what this year's National Black Catholic Congress XI Youth Track is offering. The Indianapolis youth are anxiously waiting with excitement to meet, greet and fellowship with other young Christians at the Wednesday night youth reception.

There is not anything more amazing and special than to have multitudes of African American teenagers from all over the United States to come together to worship God by bringing the Bible to life. The purpose of us gathering is to enrich our Catholic faith in prayer with our youth, to motivate them by using the Word of God filled with the Holy Spirit to carry with them throughout their lives. Today, it is not unusual to observe the younger generations falling victim to the pressures of the world. The Good news is that they can overcome all things through Christ, to make the right choices.

Most youth have difficulty deciding how to put their faith into action due to peer pressure. How does peer pressure affect teenagers? Well, it can make it very difficult for them to determine how to handle various social and moral issues such as Premarital Sex, Drugs & Alcohol use. Some situations are the gateway to violent behaviors which led to criminally charged dilemmas like illegal gang activities and bullying that are prone among our younger generations. In addition, to that there are more occurrences of cyber bullying (the internet) using technology to disrespect others and themselves.

So, this year's youth track will keep their "FAITH ENGAGED" through the Word and "EMPOWER" them through the faith journey of life. It will "EQUIP" our youth with biblical passages that prayer is the greatest weapon and the essential effective strategies to go "EVANGELIZE" to others as Disciples of Christ.

The Indianapolis Co-coordinators have been working very diligently to make this youth track a life changing experience for all. The speakers want to spark a renewed devotion to God allowing them to address the challenges of the present using the canonical teachings illustrated in the Bible. The most significant gift we can receive is Jesus Christ and his love for us. So, recommit yourself to God and do great things in his name.

Let's continue to keep a circle of prayer around all our youth to stay rooted in the Word and not in the world.

God's Blessings to All,
Joyce Lombard

Congress XI
"Celebrating 25 years of What We Have Seen and Heard"
Theme: Faith Engaged: Empower. Equip. Evangelize.

"[Jesus said,] 'Amen, Amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me
will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father'"
John 14:12

Congress XIMake plans now to join your fellow Catholic Christians to engage in this process of sankofa. Let us remember where we have been so that we can continue to move confidently in the present and the future. God is continuing to do great things through us! Empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped to fulfill our distinctive vocations within the Church, we are strengthened to joyfully fulfill our baptismal commitment to evangelize. Full Story

2011 National Black Catholic SurveyNBCC welcome's Immaculee' Ilibagiza as the Keynote Speaker for Congress XI

Immaculée Ilibagiza is a living example of faith put into action. Immaculée's life was transformed dramatically during the 1994 Rwandan genocide where she and seven other women spent 91 days huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor's house. Immaculée entered the bathroom a vibrant, 115-pound university student with a loving family - she emerged weighing just 65 pounds to find her entire family had been brutally murdered (with the exception of one brother who had been studying out of the country). Full Story

NBCC welcome's Fr. Reginald Whitt, O.P.
as the General Session Speaker for Congress XI

2011 National Black Catholic SurveyReginald Whitt, OP, is a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota who was born and raised in Baltimore and attended the city's public schools. While a student at Loyola College in Maryland, he made the Profession of Faith and was received into the Catholic Church from the Baptist fellowship. Upon graduation from he entered the novitiate of the Order of Preachers (Dominican Friars), after which he commenced theological studies at the Dominican House of Studies, from whose Pontifical Faculty he received the Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) in 1974. View Full Bio

"Celebrating 25 years of What We Have Seen and Heard"

Timone DavisThe National Black Catholic Congress recognizes that its sankofa look is not complete without young adults, our present and future. The theme of Congress XI, Faith Engaged: Empower. Equip. Evangelize. allows us to take a serious look at the faith lives of young adults and address their concerns in order to better engage them not only on Sunday, but into the full life of the Church. Full Story

2011 National Black Catholic Survey

2011 National Black Catholic SurveyThe National Black Catholic Congress, Inc. (NBCC) released an unprecedented national study of African American Catholics. The study reveals several significant insights into individual religious engagement and identifies several notable demographic trends facing the church. Full Story

Congress XI Youth TracK

The CHURCH has come to realize that we need to address the NOW, or we won't have a future. Youth are dealing with so many things ranging from racism to drugs and teen pregnancy. This year's workshop will not only "EMPOWER" you, but "EQUIP" you with the essentials to go "EVANGELIZE." We have truly SEEN and HEARD the youth's issues and concerns. Now the Challenge is up to you!

Survey Booklets are available at Congress XI

A complete copy of the National Black Catholic Survey conducted by Notre Dame University last November is available for purchase. Each booklet is $15 and it will provide an in-depth look into the survey that has helped shape our pastoral plan for 2012-2017. Please contact Megan Purpora at 410-740-5077 or email to place your order.

Sacrament of Penance for Congress XI participants

The NBCC will offer the Sacrament of Penance for Congress XI participants; and we need confessors. If interested in serving, please contact Fr. Stephen Thorne:

Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at Congress XI

Visit the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at Congress XI and spend time with our Lord. Notice the very beautiful and rare Saint Katharine Drexel's monstrance which was a part of her family donated to us for this event.

Registration alert!!!

All persons must wear their proper registration credentials to attend Congress XI activities. Name badges will be checked at the doors, and no one will be admitted to the events without them. If you have not registered yet, click here to get registered. 
Please note: **A hotel reservation is not admission to Congress XI.

Please download the Youth Code of Conduct form for anyone bringing youth to the Congress.

Rev. Christopher S. Rhodes
Homilist for the Closing Eucharistic Liturgy

Rev. Christopher S. RhodesRev. Christopher S. Rhodes, as of 26 May 2012, is a newly ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Louisville, Archdiocese of Military Service, and the only African American to be ordained to the priesthood for his archdiocese for more than twenty years. As a consequence, even as a seminarian, various Catholic Organizations, Parishes, and radio states around the country have called upon Chris to speak about promoting and sustaining vocations, particularly in the African - American Community. He has served as President of the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association (2010- 2011) renewing the organization's mission by establishing its first widely read newsletter (Pastores Dabo Vobis), first Annual National Day of Prayer for Vocations in the Black Community, and increasing its presence and mission through various forms of media, primarily through the support of the National Black Catholic Congress. He has served as student Chapel Assistant for Morehouse College and Ministry Assistant for the Lykehouse Newman Center, following his entrance into full communion with the Catholic Church in the year 2000.

Rev. Christopher S. Rhodes is a native of Dallas, Texas. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Economics from Morehouse College, Master's of Art in Philosophy from Saint Meinrad School of Theology, Master's of Divinity from The Catholic University of America, and is a licensed Family and Marriage Counselor. Before entering formal seminary training in 2006, he served actively in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer and Finance Officer for the Department of Defense obtaining the rank of Commander and Captain. He has and continues to receive various awards, honors, and distinctions as a Commissioned Officer for his continued military Service through the Kentucky Army National Guard as Chaplain.

The JW Marriott hotel for Congress XI is SOLD OUT.

We want to ensure everyone has a hotel room, so please register for the Congress XI program and you will then receive the overflow hotel information to make your reservations.

Welcome Daniel Cardinal DiNardo

The National Black Catholic Congress welcomes Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to serve as celebrant for a Eucharistic Liturgy at Congress XI, JW Marriott hotel. Join us for daily Mass!!!

Become a choir member!!!

"Engage your faith" at the The National Black Catholic Congress summer 2012 conference in Indianapolis in July. We are looking for choir members and cantors who would like to join our mass choirs for the celebrations. We will be singing a variety of musical styles including Gospel music. The theme is "Faith Engaged: Empower. Equip. Evangelize"!

Please contact Alessandra Shephard: ( )

Ground Transportation

Group Bus Parking Lots & Pricing

Bus Parking lots available to groups arriving at Congress by bus (You may also download this list for your records):

Zoo Parking Lot
1200 W. Washington Street - $20 per night
Contact Lisa Bockoski at 317-630-3254 for complete details and to reserve space.
White River State Park
650 W. Washington Street
Surface lot by permit only, contact 317-234-0231 for complete details.
CIB Lot 3
350 W. South Street (317) 916-1760
Lucas Oil Stadium
Contact 317-916-1760 to reserve space, based on availability.
Rates vary depending on events. Daily: $20 and Event: $40 - $60 a day
Courtyard Capitol / Residence Inn Canal
350 W. New York Street - $50 per night
Contact Jason Crumpacker at 317-684-7733 for availability.
IUPUI Campus – Blake Street Turnaround
$8.50 a day with permit
*Contact the Vermont Street Garage at 317-274-4232 to purchase parking permit.

Indianapolis Ground Transportation
(You may also download this list for your records)

  1. Carey Indiana Transportation Service
    Shared Rides (Van) - $19.68 per person/each way
    (800) 888-4639
    (317) 487-5217
  2. Taxi rate: approximately $31.00 -35.00 one way
    Press taxi call button which is located outside the baggage claim area, and a taxi will arrive in 15 minutes.
  3. City Bus Service

    IndyGo offers 29 fixed daily bus routes to all Marion County townships, major Indianapolis attractions, shopping malls, hospitals, downtown areas, and other locations.

    Day passes for all fixed IndyGo routes throughout Indianapolis are available for $4. For more information on route descriptions, trip planning, and pricing, call IndyGo at 317.635.3344 or visit
Service to airport
IndyGo's Green Line Downtown / Airport Express route provides non-stop service from the airport to convenient locations near major downtown hotels and the Indiana Convention Center. Green Line service runs daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. catch the Green Line at Zone 6. Cost is $7 per trip.

IndyGo's Route 8 provides non-express, fixed-route service from the airport to downtown via stops along Washington Street. Cost is $1.75 per ride.
Express Bus
The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) and Miller Trailways offer express service from Fishers and Carmel to downtown Indianapolis. For complete details, including timetables, maps of bus stops, and more, click here. Cost is $5.

Meet Our Musicians

Aaron Thompson
Congress XI Director of Music

Aaron Thompson | Congress XI Director of MusicAaron Thompson was born on the South side of Chicago in 1967 to attorney Walter and. Yvonne Thompson. Aaron's dad, a cradle Catholic, and his mom, a convert from the Episcopal faith, raised their four children to stay faithfully in the Catholic Church. Gang violence and hopes for better education called the young family from the city to the suburbs of Glencoe in 1972. There, Aaron and his three siblings received the Sacraments and grew in their faith at Sacred Heart parish in Winnetka. Toggle Full Bio

Aaron excelled quickly in music as a classical trumpet player and was granted a full performance scholarship at Northern Arizona University. The Newman Center at NAU became his home while a hunger for knowledge drove him to pursue piano, guitar, voice and composition. Aaron studied choral works, learned conducting and applied these skills quickly as a young music director at NAU.

Requests to perform at weddings gave opportunity to learn the pipe organ and classical vocal pieces. After graduation, Aaron accepted a full time position as Director of Music at Saint John Vianney parish in Sedona, Arizona, where he continued to deepen his understanding of liturgical music and hone his accompaniment skills on piano and organ.

Aaron continued his 18 year career in the Phoenix area as director of music at the parishes of Saint Helen, Saint Thomas the Apostle, and Saint Anne. He also taught music in the parochial school at St. Thomas the Apostle.

Aaron has the knowledge and ability to perform choral, contemporary and gospel music with equal excellence and authenticity! His music is published by World Library Publications and GIA Music and is found in hymnals across the country. Some of his top pieces include, "Rise Up in Splendor," "Blessed One," and "Tree of Life."

James (J.T.) Brown

James (J.T.) BrownPerformed with the D.C. Youth Symphony Orchestra as string bassist from September, 1966, to June, 1973; was selected to two International Orchestras (1970 and 1972) while with DCYO. James has also worked as a studio musician since 1975, recording in Washington, D.C., New York, Atlanta, Nashville and Los Angeles. He has performed on many recordings like W. Cliff Petty - Touch Jesus, Metropolitan Baptist Church Music Ministry - Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Live), John Angotti - Welcome Home, and went on the Tom Booth - Pascal Mystery Tour.

Dion Clay

Dion ClayA native Washingtonian now residing in the Nashville TN area, is a sought after musician lending his God given talents to many. He is known for his affable style and personality, and his ability to adapt to many musical applications as well as his solid groove. Dion began his liturgical music journey with the late great Leon Roberts. Dion is currently touring, recording, presenting as well as playing conferences with today's biggest Catholic artists.

Bobby Fisher

Bobby FisherA world-renowned guitar virtuoso, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, composer, and clinician. He has served for over 25 years as program coordinator for the NPM Guitar Schools and Guitar/Ensemble Institutes. During this time he has served as teacher and mentor to people of all ages at conferences, conventions, and workshops worldwide. From 1995 to today, Bobby has served as Director of Music Ministries at St. Agnes Church in Ft. Wright, KY.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas JeffersonA native of Galveston, Texas, pianist Thomas W. Jefferson currently serves on the piano faculty of the Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia Collage and at North Park University, where he teaches private lessons and keyboard skills classes. He is also music minister at the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago. Jefferson has been the music editor for the World Library Publications choral octavo series In Spirit and Truth: Music from the African American Catholic Community since the series' inception in 2002, and has been invaluable as an arranger, transcriber, performer, and collaborator. He has co-produced and arranged several WLP gospel recordings and music collections. Equally at home in a variety of styles including gospel, jazz, classical, blues, and popular music, Thomas has given WLP-sponsored gospel piano workshops for several years at NPM and gospel music conventions.

Clifford Petty

Clifford PettyA native of Eufaula, Alabama is a singer, musician, recording artist, producer, composer and arranger with several works to his credit. Mr. Petty has served as Music Clinician, workshop presenter, and performer at numerous conferences, conventions and Catholic/ Protestant churches throughout this country and abroad. An active conductor, composer, educator, and clinician, Petty has taught choral music at the elementary, secondary, and university levels.

Presently, he is the Pastoral Musician, and Artist in Residence Resurrection Catholic Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He also teaches music at Resurrection Catholic School. Mr. Petty is also a composer, producer and recording artist for World Library Publications, music and liturgy division of J.S. Paluch Company, Inc.

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