back to the National Black Catholic Congress : Home Page THE NATIONAL BLACK CATHOLIC CONGRESS
The Black Catholic Monthly | African Americans | Catholic News Black Catholic Congress: "We hold ourselves accountable to our baptismal 
    commitment to witness and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ"
NBCC
Calendar Of Events Calendar Congress X Media Center  Subscribe to "The Black Catholic Monthly" Newsletter News      Contact Us Contact Us
NBCC
NBCC
To Black Catholic Monthly Home Page

Featured Article: We joyfully announce the ‘Daniel Rudd Fund for African American Catholic Ministries’ - The Daniel Rudd Fund (DRF) for African American Catholic Activities was established by the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) Board of Trustees on Friday, November 8, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a result of donations to the Congress to promote the ministry of African American Catholics. The Fund will financially support organizations who promote the NBCC Pastoral Plan. Read Full Story

NBCC STRUCTURE
 African American Catholic Bishops
 Congress Directory
 Board of Trustees
 NBCC Staff
Parish Search
 Find a Parish in your State
Black Catholic Newsletter
 We joyfully announce the ‘Daniel Rudd Fund for African American Catholic Ministries’
 “Influential” Ugandan Nun Shines Light on Sacred Tradition of Black Catholic Women
 The Death Penalty: It’s Adverse Impact on Communities of Color and The Poor, and Challenges to the Catholic Church
 Mental Illness Facts
 Marriage Retreat
 8 things you can do to prevent a stroke
Publications
 Book Of The Month:
The Catholic Church has the Answer
 Author Of The Month:
Sheree Brown-Johnson
NBCC Spotlight
 Fr. Juan Luxama
Black Catholic Profile
 Pamela R. Franco, Ph.D.
Upcoming Events
 Institute for Black Catholic Studies Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
June 30 - July 19, 2014
 The 2015 OCDS National Congress
October 14-17, 2015
In The News
 The National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) African American Catholic Youth Bible receives Imprimatur!
 Scholar recounts Black Catholics rich History
 Meet the ‘evangelical’ Catholics who are remaking the GOP
 Black and Born to Succeed is Released
 Phoenix priest killed, another wounded in attack
 Pope condemns mafia, says members are excommunicated
 Are We Willing to Die for the Mass?
 Nudist Claims Catholic Saint Francis Embraced Body Freedom, Plans Naked March To Religious Shrine
 IRAQ: ‘Crisis on top of a crisis’ as food, water become scarce in upheaval
 Perkasa thanks God for judgment
 Msgr. Leonard Scott Retires
 Faithful honor martyred Ugandan saint: Waltham service attended by 200
NBCC Media
  Visit the NBCC Media Center
  Listen Live to Vatican Radio
requires Real Audio)
RECOMMENDED SITES
 Site Links

NBCC Featured Article

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

Article Index

View Featured
Article Index

Become a Friend of the National Black Catholic Congress

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

Son, They Have No Wine! Reflections on the Importance of Devotion to Mary

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

Research That Matters

Silent No More: A Major Crisis in the African-American Community

The Best Kept Secret

The Food Crisis in Niger

The Passion of Mel Gibson's "Passion"

To Marry or Not To Marry - That is the question!

View Featured
Article Index

After 25 years their message is still relevant. Black Catholic Bishops call for dynamic evangelization in the Black community.

In each generation, the Spirit gives a specific assignment to its spiritual leaders. The assignment given usually is a unique, yet prophetic call to move God's people to a higher level of mission. This is what happened twenty five years ago (1984) when the African American Catholic Bishops acted in unison to speak about evangelization within the African American Catholic community through the Pastoral Letter, "What We Have Seen and Heard". This was a Letter to us about evangelization.

In its Introduction, the Black Bishops speak… "Within the history of every Christian community there comes a time when it reaches adulthood. This maturity brings with it the duty, the privilege and the joy to share with others the rich experience of the 'Word of Life.' Always conscious of the need to hear the Word and ever ready to listen to its proclamation, the mature Christian community feels the irresistible urge to speak that Word … We write to you, Black brothers and sisters, because each one of us is called to a special task. The Holy Spirit now calls all to the work of evangelization."

If you are interested in reading a quick overview of "What We Have Seen and Heard", please download pdf.

Requires the Free Adobe Reader

At that hour, the Black Bishops called to memory a quote of Pope Paul VI to the peoples of Africa when he said to them in Kampala in Uganda:"You are now missionaries to yourselves"…And Pope Paul VI laid out for all sons and daughters of Africa the nature of the response: "You must now give your gifts of Blackness to the whole Church ( The Pope Speaks, 1969 Symposium in Kampala, Uganda).

Twenty five years ago, through this landmark document, the Black Bishops speak of the role that culture plays in the ministry of evangelization. "There is a richness in our Black experience that we must share with the entire People of God." A discussion on the universality of the Catholic Church follows the previously mentioned statement. The Bishops then remind us that to be "universal does not mean to be uniformed", instead a sharing of the gift of Blackness is our part of building up the whole Church. They continue…"We have heard with Black ears and we have seen with Black eyes and we have understood with an African heart". It is through this understanding of culture and the universality of the Church that the Black Bishops call forth the specific task of African American Catholics to evangelize among our own… "it is our way to witness to our brothers and sisters within the Black community that the Catholic Church is both one and also home to us all."

Comment on Featured Articles in the forum

The Pastoral Letter "What We Have Seen and Heard" also discusses and provides other strategies for evangelizing. They include…

  • Understanding that African American spirituality is based on Sacred Scripture and the hope it promises.
  • Proclaiming that the "good news" is a message of liberation and that evangelization calls for forgiveness and reconciliation… "Without justice, meaningful reconciliation is impossible."
  • Placing special interest and outreach on the family and the extended family. Church is extended family, that is why we call each other Brother and Sister. Our Parishes can evangelize just through family outreach and being family to one another, especially when family-hood is threaten.
  • Confronting racism as it particularly impacts Black men and at the same time calling forth Black men in their role of fostering a "vocation of fatherhood" and to assert their spiritual strength.
  • Supporting the role of women as sources of strength and examples of courage.
  • Promoting Black values, "especially new life within the mother, has always been a value to Africans and to African Americans… as a people of faith, it is our task to fight for the right of all of our children and in all the circumstances of their existence".
  • Nurturing Vocations. Sr. Thea Bowman said, "if you want vocations then each family and individual must raise them within our families." We've got to place into the imagination and heart of our young ones the awesome blessing and joy of serving God and God's people as Priest, Brother, Deacon or as a Religious Women.
  • Honoring Ecumenism within our evangelization efforts.

"What We Have Seen and Heard" was issued on the feast day (September 9,) of St. Peter Claver, who compassionately worked among Africans who were enslaved. In the coming months, let us examine this wonderful and inspiring Pastoral Letter with prayerful review and assess our evangelization efforts within our parishes and organizations.

The Spirit that moved among the ten Black Bishops of yesterday to compose this Pastoral Letter still has a potent force today, seeking to stir the souls of those who strive to please God. Let's "report for duty!" For a copy of the Letter call 410-625-8472.

By Therese Wilson Favors, Director
Office of African American Ministries
Baltimore, Maryland

This article originally appeared in "The Catholic Review" on September 2, 2009.

to top of page

Fatima and Gregory Washington at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.
Seated, left to right: Most Reverends-Joseph A. Francis, SVD; Harold R. Perry, SVD; Joseph L. Howze; Eugene A. Marino, SSJ; James P. Lyke, OFM; Standing, left to right- Most Reverends Wilton D. Gregory; Emerson J. Moore; Moses B. Anderson, SSE; J. Terry Steib, SVD; John H. Ricard, SSJ


Subscribe to the Black Catholic Newsletter
NBCC
NBCC

Web Design : Web Marketing : Web Management : Baltimore Maryland - SLEEPER Technologies
 
An STI Site | Web Design by SLEEPER Technologies
Copyright © 2003 www.nbccongress.org | All Rights Reserved | Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without the expressed written permission of www.nbccongress.org is prohibited.