The National Black Catholic Congress, Inc.

Calendar of Events​​

The National Black Catholic Men's Conference will be held in Miami, Florida, from October 5-8, 2017. The theme of this year's conference is: "The Challenge is to Silence the Mind." Register at: The cost is $150.00 for adults, $75.00 for College and High School Students, and $50.00 for youth ages 8-13.

​More information is available by contacting Fr. Chester Smith at or 317-259-0144. Or visit:


Thursday, 10/5 through Sunday, 10/8/17
The National Black Catholic Men's Conference 2017 

The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.

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© 2017 The National Black Catholic Congress, All Rights Reserved

many present and had the satisfaction of hearing both their hopes and wishes, as well as their challenges and concerns, addressed and shared with many like minded brothers and sisters from all over the country.
          I wish to express my personal thanks to the NBCC staff, especially Valerie Washington and Kimberley Hefner, as well as the dozens of volunteers who gave generously of their time and efforts for many months of discussion and planning to bring this event about.  These included not only experts in music and liturgy from almost all parts of the United States, but also Ralph McCloud and Donna Grimes of the USCCB, who helped in the development of social policies and programs; Sr. Callista Robinson and Sr. Patricia Chappell, both offering their expertise in education; and Fr. Raymond Harris and Sr. Gwynette Proctor, who convened to help develop an agenda, which was by all measures, well received and welcomed. To all of them I am profoundly grateful.
          I would like to highlight some numbers which illustrate the level of success which the participants enjoyed.    

          There were over 2000 registered participants. Of that number:

  • 221 were youth, ages 14-17; 107 dioceses were represented;
  • Attendees included one cardinal, 18 bishops, four archbishops, 123 priests, 45 deacons, seven seminarians, seven religious brothers, and 41 religious sisters.
  • There were 26 workshops, including adult and youth tracks.
  • There were five retreats for different groups, including one for priests, one for religious women, one for laywomen, one for laymen, and one for deacons.          

          A separate track was held for youth, and was directed by Howard Roberts and emceed by Seminarian Kingsley Ogbuji.
          The event was featured in reports by the Catholic News Service, and was subsequently picked up by most diocesan newspapers.
          Highlights of the event also included special greetings from Pope Francis to Congress XII attendees presented by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who was present for the entire event.  
          We were also blessed by the keynote address of His Eminence, Peter Kodwo Cardinal Turkson, head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and President of the Vatican Office of Justice and Peace, who also was present during the entire event.
          I offer special thanks to Fr. Claude Williams, a Norbertine priest of the Diocese of Orange, California, for his efforts in originating the concept, creation, and development of the beautiful mural that hung above the altar during the on-site liturgies. Information about the art and its availability will soon be available on the NBCC webpage.
          While most of us were enjoying the many features of the Congress event, Fr. Steven Thorne, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was quietly meeting with a select group of Congress participants chosen beforehand by their bishops. They were set with the task of developing the framework of a Pastoral Plan, which they will continue to develop and which will be available in a few months.       
          Before and during the event Ms. Tonya Dorsey of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia worked tirelessly in developing the musical program, composed of a variety of musical genres, including the contributions of most contemporary, as well as classical, African American and African Catholic composers and musicians.  Ms. Dorsey also developed and conducted a mass choir which greatly enriched the entire experience.
          In this time following Congress XII, it will be up to us to respond to those challenges that were laid out for us by the keynote speakers and the workshop presenters, and through the soon-to-be-completed Congress XII Pastoral Plan.
          In his address to us, Pope Francis urges “that the Congress … confirm[s] America’s Black Catholics in their evangelical commitment to the pursuit of justice and human dignity, while encouraging a deeper reflection on our common baptismal calling to be missionary disciples, sent to the farthest reaches of society to draw hearts and souls to the transforming love of Christ the Savior.”
          Again, my deepest thanks to everyone who made this event one which, I am confident, will be enshrined in our memory for years to come.

Very sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop John Ricard, SSJ
Bishop Emeritus Pensacola Tallahassee
President, The National Black Catholic Congress

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Congress XII Highlights

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July: month of devotion to the Precious Blood
​of Jesus

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of August is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The physical heart of Mary is venerated (and not adored as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is) because it is united to her person and is the seat of her love (especially for her divine Son), virtue, and inner life. Such devotion is an incentive to a similar love and virtue.

This devotion has received new emphasis in this century from the visions given to Lucy Dos Santos, oldest of the visionaries of Fatima, in her convent in Tuy, in Spain, in 1925 and 1926. In the visions Our Lady asked for the practice of the Five First Saturdays to help make amends for the offenses committed against her heart by the blasphemies and ingratitude of men. The practice parallels the devotion of the Nine First Fridays in honor of the Sacred Heart.

On October 31, 1942, Pope Pius XII made a solemn Act of Consecration of the Church and the whole world to the Immaculate Heart. Let us remember this devotion year-round, but particularly through the month of August.

Excerpted from The Prayer Book by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A.

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart

Pope Paul VI, on the floor of the Vatican Council at the close of the third session, renewed publicly the consecration of the Church and the world to Mary's Immaculate Heart. He said that his thoughts turned to the whole world "which our venerated predecessor Pius XII . . . not without inspiration from on high, solemnly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. . . . O Virgin Mary, Mother of the Council, to you we recommend the entire Church." When he visited Fatima on May 13, 1967, the same Pope recalled this "consecration which we ourselves have renewed on November 21, 1964 — we exhort all the sons of the Church to renew personally their consecration to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of the Church and to bring alive this most noble act of veneration through a life ever more in accord with the divine will and in a spirit of filial service and of devout imitation of their heavenly Queen."

Before making a consecration it is most desirable to make a careful preparation extending over some period of time. One good way to make that preparation is described in the last part of St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion book.

The most essential thing is not making an act of consecration, with or without some solemnity, though that is important. The essential thing is to live that consecration.

Living a consecration could be described as following three attitudes or spirits:

Union — Imitation of Jesus and Mary, so as to become like them, and trying to develop as constant as possible a realization of His and her presence.

Dependence — Give to Jesus and Mary the right to dispose of everything we have, temporal and spiritual.

Obedience — Jesus and Mary have the right to ask us to do anything at all, even without reward. In consecration, we recognize that right, give it on a basis of love, and plan to carry it out with fullest generosity.

St. Maximilian Kolbe liked to speak of the relation of consecration to our baptismal promises, in which we promised to renounce satan and all his works, and to follow Jesus, by whom we are "sealed" in baptism as His property. Consecration is the fullest kind of re-sponse to and carrying out of these promises. Mary, in view of her Immaculate Conception, was most fitted to respond most fully, and that she did, with a fullness and perfection beyond our ability to visualize — for we recall that Pius IX told us that even at the start of her existence, her holiness was so great that "none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it."

Excerpted from Our Father's Plan, Fr. William G. Most

Reparation to the Immaculate Heart

​​Our very consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary calls upon us to make reparation for the offenses that we and others have committed against her. The Church, in inviting us to consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, implicitly calls upon us for this reparation. But more explicitly, and even before Fatima, Saint Pius X offered a plenary indulgence to all who on the first Saturday of the month would observe special devotions in honor of the Immaculate Virgin in a spirit of reparation for the blasphemies uttered against her.

There is, however, an even more basic reason why each one of us owes reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: every sin of ours caused grief and suffering to her in union with her divine Son. For sin was the cause of that terrible day on Calvary when she, as the New Eve, shared in the torment of the great sacrifice, and, amidst indescribable pain, brought forth spiritually all the members of the Mystical Body of her divine Son. God willed that Mary should be intimately associated with His Son in bearing the burden of all sin; surely then, her Immaculate Heart, in union with His divine Heart, should receive reparation from us who have caused them such pain. If anyone causes hurt to even a very ordinary human being, he does not overlook the need to make amends. How much more do we owe to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary!

Excerpted Mary In Our Life, Fr. William G. Most

Articles from:

"Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said, "Send me!" Isaiah 6:8

October 2017

July 2017

07/06 - 07/09

We loved seeing you, worshipping with you, having fellowship with you, and learning about the issues we face.

Most of all we indeed felt that "The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God."

We thank our amazing speakers: Peter Kodwo Cardinal Turkson, Bryan Stevenson, Bishop Edward Braxton, Fr. Maurice Emelu, and Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley, and we appreciate the hard work and preparation by all of our workshop presenters.

Thank you for making this a most memorable event!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

          With profound gratitude, I write to express my thanks to those who worked on behalf of, or those who came to be counted among, the attendees of the National Black Congress XII event which took place in Orlando, Florida from 6-9 July 2017.
          This historical gathering of Black Catholics and those who minister within the African American Apostolate was an outstanding witness and affirmation of our Catholic faith and of our faith in each other.  The response to the call to once more meet as a group of Black Catholics was heartwarming, and the response embodied through the presence of so many of you was overwhelming. I received many comments from attendees who expressed joy and gratitude at seeing so

July 1, 2017 By Gretchen Filz

This article written by Cheryl Hadley, a Secular Carmelite of North Carolina.

From the time of the Passion, when Christ poured out His blood for our salvation, the faithful have practiced devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. In the month of July, the Church honors the Precious Blood and encourages us in this devotion. The traditional feast day devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ is July 1st.

The devotion has its scriptural roots in numerous references from the New Testament. In Romans 5:9, we read of justification by His blood. In Hebrews 10:19, we read of our sanctification and consecration by the Precious Blood. In 1 John 1:7 we are told that it cleanses us from all sin.

Romans 5:9: “Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.”

Hebrews 10: 19-22: “Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

John 1:6-7:  “If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are
walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin”

About the devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus

Many saints have spoken of devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus; notable among them is St. Catherine of Siena, who often wrote about the Precious Blood of Jesus in her Dialogue—a written account of her mystical visions. Below is the Constant Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena to the Precious Blood of Jesus.

In more recent times, this devotion has more widely taken root in our Catholic tradition. Devotion to the Precious Blood spread greatly through the prayer, preaching, and work of Bl. Gaspar del Bufalo, a 19th century Roman priest, and founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. You can read about his life and work here.

Blessed Gaspar brought this beloved devotion out of the sanctuary and into the hearts of Catholics around the world. It is through his life’s work that the devotion grew widespread in the Church.

The Constant Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena to the Precious Blood of Jesus

The faithful are encouraged to honor the Precious Blood always and especially during the month of July.  Consider making an act of love to the Precious Blood every day this month, such as an Act of Consecration to the Precious Blood of Jesus and the Litany of the Precious Blood as an act of love and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Precious Blood courses through the Church, giving life to the Body of Christ. It was the cleansing agent that allowed the holy saints and martyrs to wash their robes clean. It is the price of our redemption, the object of our salvation, and the assurance of our eternal inheritance.

As we honor the Precious Blood of Jesus in union with the Church this month, may it awaken in our hearts a love and gratitude for Christ’s gift to us, for He has saved us by His blood.

In recent times, devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus has more widely taken root in our Catholic tradition

This article has been updated and was originally published in June 2015 .
​© The Catholic Company

August is devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Please pardon us as we regroup...

Our list of upcoming events will be updated in August. We would love to include your parish activities, upcoming organizational conferences, or arch/diocesan events. Please email your information to: and include a pdf of your flier, advertisement, or logo for us to include.

Visit the Congress XII Page for more Highlights, Videos, and documents

From the President of the NBCC
Most Reverend John H. Ricard, SSJ