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Featured Article: Series On Worshipping During Holy Mass - Part 1 - What is the most important invitation that we can receive in our lives? This article is the first of a series on preparing for Holy Mass, participating in its celebration, and going forth to praise God in our communities. Our desire for the Eucharist moves us to make Christ-life choices in thought, speech, and action during the week. Consider that the most important invitation is offered to us each time that our Lord Jesus Christ invites us into sacramental Communion with Him. Read Full Story

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NBCC Featured Article

Tenth National Black Catholic Congress

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Pastoral Letter: "What We Have Seen and Heard" Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Fundraising as Ministry: Vision, Invitation and Conversion

The Experience of God's Presence

The Basics of Being Married in the Catholic Church

Building a Bridge over Troubled Waters

Reading as a Subversive Act: Libraries as the Guide to Liberation

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Tenth National Black Catholic Congress

Appreciative Inquiry: Become a Positive Force for Change

Catholic Campus Ministry

Fundamentals of Appreciative Inquiry (Part I)

Fundamentals of Appreciative Inquiry (Part II)

His Greatest Gift

Joannes Paulus II, Magnus

Lent to Easter: Preparation for Celebration

Mary - Mother, Woman, Disciple

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Congress XGod has given us the privilege to gather as the Tenth National Black Catholic Congress. Formed by the convictions of the Gospel, filled with the Holy Spirit, and inspired by the witness of our ancestors, we are deeply grateful for the gift of our Catholic Christian and African heritage. Our contributions to our Church and society enriches the lives of people of every ethnicity.

Within the Church, we strive to be faithful to the teaching of Christ which has been handed down to us through the Apostles. In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, God the Father has made us His beloved children, followers of our Lord Jesus Christ within the fellowship of the Church.

While the Church that Christ founded is holy, the members of the Church continually need conversion (Catechism of the Catholic Church 825). Catholics of African descent in this nation have offered a prophetic witness. Bearing the mark of catholicity means that the Church must be vigilant in confronting racism and correcting its consequences. Some Black Catholics of my grandparents' generation remember sitting in a segregated area in church (either the back or the balcony) and receiving Holy Communion last. They knew that these practices were not a reflection of the true teachings of the Church. It was the grace of the sacraments that enabled Black Catholics to speak out that change must happen. Thank God that there were others who stood with us, including members of the hierarchy and other pastoral leaders.

The issue of whether it is appropriate for our Faith to influence our approach to public policy has not been a vexing one for us. Our people has experienced the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a liberating path through: preaching and teaching; spirituals and hymns; prayer and fasting; the celebration of the sacraments and our commitment to serve in our communities. Events in our nation since the last Congress - such as the slow governmental response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a popular talk show host using a nationwide platform to attempt to demean the achievements of African American women at Rutgers University - dispel any notion that racism is dead in the United States of America.

Since the first Congress in 1889, the Movement has cooperated with sacramental graces to have a positive impact in our Church, across our nation, and around the world. Now, we are gathering in Buffalo twenty years after the resumption of these Congresses. The sixth Congress met in Washington, D.C. in 1987. Over 1500 people responded to the call of the Lord by saying, "Here I am, send me!" (cf. Isaiah 6:8; This was the theme of Congress VI) They developed a pastoral plan to build on the momentum started by the Black Bishops in their pastoral letter of 1984, What We Have Seen and Heard.

In 1992, the seventh Congress met in New Orleans to approve pastoral and public policy strategies to strengthen the African American family. The eighth Congress met in Baltimore in 1997 to heighten awareness to be witnesses of Christ and His Church always and everywhere. We are ambassadors for Christ, speaking "on behalf of the Lord to heal, to mend, to comfort, to build [and] to restore" (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20; Congress 8). "What we have seen and heard, we proclaim and celebrate" (Ibid.; This was the theme of Congress VII). There was a great celebration of worship at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. when we dedicated Our Mother of Africa Chapel (Ibid.)


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