Friday, February 7, 2014



African American Catholic Bishops

From Left to Right Standing: Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta; Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, Bishop Emeritus, Diocese of Pensacola - Tallahassee; Bishop Martin D. Holley, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington; Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago; Bishop Edward K. Braxton, Bishop of Belleville; Bishop George Murry, SJ, Bishop of Youngstown. Seated: Bishop Guy A. Sansaricq, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Brooklyn; Bishop J. Terry Steib, SVD, Bishop of Memphis; Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux; Bishop Curtis J. Guillory, SVD, Bishop of Beaumont.

Sr. Thea Bowman's address on Black Catholic Spirituality (above)

Sr. Thea Bowman (1937 – 1990) was a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration who dedicated her life to working for the African American Catholic community. She was instrumental in the creation of many Catholic multicultural and African American projects such as the first edition of Lead Me, Guide Me, an African American Catholic hymnal, and co-founded the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in Louisiana. Sr. Thea’s life mission was to share her rich cultural heritage and spirituality through song, prayer, teaching, preaching and writing.  Although diagnosed with cancer in 1984, she continued to give programs designed to encourage communication between cultures including this historic presentation to the U.S. Catholic Bishops about Black Catholic Spirituality in June 1989.

Black Catholic History Month

As we celebrate Black Catholic History Month, check out some of these great leaders of African decent who are On The Road to Sainthood

Letter from Birmingham Jail Study Guide

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail, Christian Churches Together, one of the largest ecumenical organizations in the U.S., offered a response and created a Study Guide to facilitate reflection either for groups or individuals.  The webpage for this important document also has an additional introduction for Catholics to the Study Guide and an introductory letter from Bishop Madden and Bishop Flores.  


  • There are 3 million African American Catholics in the United States.
  • Of Roman Catholic parishes in the United States, 798 are considered to be predominantly African American. Most of those continue to be on the East Coast and in the South. Further west of the Mississippi River, AfricanAmerican Catholics are more likely to be immersed in multicultural parishes as opposed to predominantly African American parishes.
  • About 76% of African American Catholics are in diverse or shared parishes and 24% are in predominately African American parishes. 
  • At present there are 15 living African American bishops, of whom 8 remain active.
  • Currently, five U.S. dioceses are headed by African American bishops.
  • There are 250 African American priests and 437 deacons in the United States. 75 men of African descent are in seminary formation for the priesthood.
  • There are 400 African American religious sisters and 50 religious brothers.
  • The Black population in the United States is estimated to be just over 36 million people (13% of the total U.S. population).
  • By the year 2050, the Black population is expected to almost double its present size to 62 million, and it will increase its percentage of the population to 16%.
The Catholic Church: By the Numbers, USCCB Office of Media Relations (2012)

Lead Me, Guide Me - Hymnal and worship resource

Second Edition, GIA Publications, Inc.. . . 
Pew Edition: $15.50/copy


Parish Social Ministry

Join the Free Catholic Charities USA Parish Social Ministry Professional Interest Section. . . Open to all interested in enhancing the "...vitality and quality of social justice ministries in our parishes..." Enjoy many ministry support and professional development benefits.

what-we-have-seen-and-heard-word-cloudWhat We Have Seen and Heard

Looking to the future, next year will mark the 30th anniversary of "What We Have Seen and Heard" Check it out to see what the Bishops were saying 30 years ago. And check back soon for additional information and resources like this...


National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life (NBCAL)

What can be done to end the violence in the African American community whether in the streets, behind closed doors or in the womb? As NBCAL suggests, "A Revolution is Warranted." See page 2 of this year's resource . . . for action ideas. 

Evangelizing With New Media

In the Diocese of Charleston, the Office of Black Catholics is bringing the Gospel message to youth, right where they are - on YouTube and Facebook. Check out the skit performed on April 6, 2013 at their Black Catholic Heritage program. Other videos and posts are available on their website and facebook page. Thanks for sharing, Kathleen!

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