Dedicated to improving the lives of Black Catholics across the United States 

What a year with Mary will do to you
Meg Hunter-Kilmer | Dec 29, 2018
It began as an assignment but ended up making her into a real person.

I wasn’t raised with much of an awareness of Holy Days of Obligation, so when I first learned that Catholics are obligated to go to Mass on New Year’s Day, I was suspicious. Skeptical atheist that I was, I assumed that the Church had instituted the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, in order to ruin people’s New Year’s Eve parties.

It was some years before I realized that the pope hadn’t convened the world’s bishops to scheme about how to put a damper on champagne toasts. The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, was fixed on New Year’s Day to focus our hearts on the Blessed Mother from the first day of the year so that she can continue drawing our hearts to Jesus all the year long.Read more...

“One thing I’ve learned is don’t really put limits on yourself. Just because you have this condition, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself. You can work; you don’t want to hurt yourself, but you can work. There’s things you can do.”

Calendar of Events​​

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Join the nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes, and their impact!

Understanding Our Faith

Position Available:  Front End Developer

Position Reports to:  Web Communications Director
Department:  Marketing & Communications (MarCom)
Schedule:  Full-time; Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
Please apply online:  Franciscan University Staff Positions

POSITION SUMMARY
The Front End Developer will create and manage University websites and Single Page Applications (SPAs) that support the mission and vision of Franciscan University of 

Employment Opportunities

The National Domestic Violence Hotline 
1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
www.ndvh.org

National Dating Abuse Helpline 
1-866-331-9474
www.loveisrespect.org

Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center 
International Toll-Free (24/7) 
1-866-USWOMEN (879-6636)
www.866uswomen.org

National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp 
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
www.childhelp.org

The Diocese of Biloxi Announces the Death of Bishop Joseph L. Howze

Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze, Biloxi’s founding bishop and the first black bishop in the 20th century to head a diocese in the U.S., died on January 9, 2019.
          “While we are saddened by the death of Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze, we rejoice in his life. His was a life well lived in faithful service to Almighty God and to the people of Mississippi, both as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson and later as first bishop of Biloxi from 1977 to 2001,” said Biloxi Bishop Louis F. Kihneman III.  
Read more...

Not all birth defects can be prevented. But you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and by adopting healthy behaviors before and during pregnancy. Taking care of yourself and doing what’s best for you is also best for your baby!Read more...

Black Catholic News 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Whenever you begin to pray, say "I unite my prayers to all the prayers being prayed around the world in this present moment."

O Good Shepherd, You never cease to seek out the lost, to call home the stray, comfort the frightened, and to bind the wounded. I ask you to bring all our fallen away brothers and sisters back to the practice of the Faith, and to remove all obstacles that prevent them from receiving your abundant mercy, which flows sacramentally through the heart of the Church. Make Your Power known to them today in every situation.

Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, their Guardian Angels, their Patron Saints and the every-prayerful St. Monica, may you pardon their sins and unshackle them from whatever hinders their freedom to come Home. For You O Good Shepherd, have loved us to the end, offered yourself to the Father for the salvation of all.  Amen.

Prayers for the return of a non-practicing Catholic also should be accompanied by sacrificial and private acts of fasting, and almsgiving in their name.

A peaceful place of prayer is found at the basilica in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast. (Courtesy of Drapikowski Studio)


JAN. 1, 2019
Adoring Christ With Mary: Eucharistic Devotion and the Mother of God Perpetual Prayer Effort Proliferates Across the Globe
Filip Mazurczak

Inspired by the teachings of Sts. John Paul II and Maximilian Kolbe, two Catholics from Poland have launched a new initiative on all the continents aiming to bring perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for the intention of world peace across the globe.

The “Stars in the Crown of Mary, Queen of Peace” initiative is the brainchild of sculptor Mariusz Drapikowski and Piotr Ciołkiewicz, president of the Comunità Regina della Pace (Queen of Peace Community), an international apostolate established in 2008 to encourage adoration of the Eucharist for world peace and reconciliation between peoples. Read more...

The National Black Catholic Congress | 320 Cathedral St. Baltimore, MD 21201 | 410-547-8496
© 2018 The National Black Catholic Congress, All Rights Reserved

JOB OPENING

National Sexual Assault Hotline 
1-800-656-4673 (HOPE)
www.rainn.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 
1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

National Center for Victims of Crime 
1-202-467-8700
www.victimsofcrime.org

National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project 
Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: HELP to BeFree (233733)
www.polarisproject.org

Mary, Mother of God:
The Theotokos

DECEMBER 31, 2018

By Marina S. Brungardt

​​​​We welcome you to submit your upcoming events!

We would love to include your parish activities, upcoming organizational conferences, or arch/diocesan events. Please email your information to: nbcc@nbccongress.org and feel free to attach a pdf of your flier, advertisement, or logo for us to include.

February 2019
Feb. 13-16, 2019

Plan to Attend the
Mid-Atlantic Congress
(MAC) in Baltimore, MD

Learn about current trends and best
practices. Renew your enthusiasm
and energy for ministry. Enrich your
spiritual life. Grow professionally
and as a pastoral leader. Watch the
video below to learn more, or click here to register. Below are sessions that may be of special interest for African American Catholic Ministry:

  • Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church - Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers (BICM) Training, 5 modules, a MAC Intensive, Wednesday February 13 - Friday February 15. 
  • Donna Grimes, USCCB Cultural Diversity - African American Affairs and Joe Paprocki of Loyola Press, Bootcamp for Catechetical leaders, Thursday, February 14, 8:30 - 11:30 am, six critical aspects of catechetical leadership drawing from the Effective Catechetical Leader series from NCCL and Loyola Press. Sponsor: Loyola Press.
  • Deacon Larry Oney, Archdiocese of New Orleans - keynote address, mega workshop on Thursday February 14 at 2:30 pm. 
  • Michael & Charlene HowardA Love Language That's Full of Joy, inspired by Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia (On Joy of Love in the Family), Friday February 15 at 1:30 pm, will reflect on the languages of love essential for the domestic church; participants will glean real-life practices for using their love language to reveal God's love in marriage and single life.​

Prayer for the Return of Non-practicing Catholics

Jim Coleman captured Father August Tolton’s love for the Eucharist on his journey to becoming the first African-American priest in America during the production, “Tolton: From Slave to Priest.” Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator

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God of Mercy and Love we place ourAfrican American and African Families before You today. May we be proud of our history and never forget those who paid a great price for our liberation. Bless us one by one and keep our hearts and minds fixed on higher ground. Help us to live for you and not for ourselves, and may we cherish and proclaim the gift of life. Bless our parents, guardians and grandparents, relatives and friends. Give us the amazing grace to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Help us, as Your children, to live in such a way that the beauty and greatness of authentic love is reflected in all that we say and do. Give a healing anointing to those less fortunate, especially the motherless, the fatherless, the broken, the sick and the lonely. Bless our departed family members and friends. May they be led into the light of Your dwelling place where we will never grow old, where we will share the fullness of redemption and shout the victory for all eternity. This we ask in the Precious Name of Jesus, our Savior and Blessed Assurance. Amen. Holy Mary, Mother of Our Families, pray for us.

Prayer composed by FR. JIM GOODE, OFM, who in 1989 founded this National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family

Trending Catholic News 

JAN. 1, 2019
5 Ways to Begin the New Year with a New Spirit
There are countless ways to make 2019 a year of growing deeper in love with the Lord. Here are just a few.

by Sherry Antonetti

Every year, we pick a theme which we hope will be a reminder throughout the year in our prayer lives. Some have proven themselves memorable, like “March on, God will provide.” Honestly, it happened. We’d outgrown our house, we would discover we’d be expecting our eighth. The state took our home and gave us a place big enough to house our whole family even when it expanded to ten. Another year, we picked “Be not afraid,” and yes, we spent the year growing in courage, as we learned our ninth would have Down syndrome and need open heart surgery. Read more...

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Noted actor sees God’s hand in latest role
By Richard Meek
The Catholic Commentator  

Moments before taking the stage, a familiar feeling of nervousness that often morphed into anxiety engulfed Jim Coleman.  


He immediately dialed in his checklist, including breathing exercises or in the most dire of circumstances, a call to his wife that would likely conclude with both engaged in prayer. 

For a seasoned actor of three decades, such feelings are surprising.After all, this is a thespian with an extensive resume that includes live theatre, 50 television commercials, recurring roles in the eponymous Law & Order series and several roles in major movies. 

But Coleman understands his current role is beyond entertainment, beyond any script he has previously undertaken. For the past year, Coleman has been portraying Father John Tolton, a childhood slave who would go on to study in Rome and become the first African-American ordained priest. Read more...

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Content Available through the website is provided as-is: You acknowledge that the NBCC does not make any representations or warranties about the material, data, and information, such as data files, text, computer software, code, music, audio files or other sounds, photographs, videos, or other images (collectively, the “Content”) which you may have access to. Under no circumstances is the NBCC liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to: any infringing Content, any errors or omissions in Content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content posted, transmitted, linked from, or otherwise accessible through or made available via the website. You agree that you are solely responsible for your reuse of Content made available through the website, including providing proper attribution.

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Jan. 1, 2019
5 Ways to Begin the New Year with a New Spirit
There are countless ways to make 2019 a year of growing deeper in love with the Lord. Here are just a few.

by Sherry Antonetti

Every year, we pick a theme which we hope will be a reminder throughout the year in our prayer lives. Some have proven themselves memorable, like “March on, God will provide.” Honestly, it happened. We’d outgrown our house, we would discover we’d be expecting our eighth. The state took our home and gave us a place big enough to house our whole family even when it expanded to ten. Another year, we picked “Be not afraid,” and yes, we spent the year growing in courage, as we learned our ninth would have Down syndrome and need open heart surgery. Read more...

LIVING OUR FAITH WITH BISHOP REED
Conversion In The New Year
by Bishop Robert Reed
On January 2, 2019
 
We all know how the “newness” and fresh feeling of a new calendar year can quickly be forgotten. That new year enthusiasm, manifested in resolutions to do better in this or that area of one’s life, soon gives way to the doldrums of this midwinter month. In some ways, our world seems to want to move quickly back into the mundane, as we take down lights and festive decorations even while the long nights still cast a gloom on the earth. We who just celebrated the birth of the Light of the World fall back into a kind of darkness. For some it’s a time of serious struggle with melancholy and even depression; for me it is always the most challenging time of the year.  Read more...

Prayer for a new year
By Debbie Ford

from U.S. Catholic


Dear God,

On this day I ask You to grant this request,
May I know who I am and what I am,
Every moment of every day.

May I be a catalyst for light and love,

And bring inspiration to those whose eyes I meet.

May I have the strength to stand tall in the face of conflict,
And the courage to speak my voice, even when I'm scared.

May I have the humility to follow my heart,
And the passion to live my soul's desires.

May I seek to know the highest truth
And dismiss the gravitational pull of my lower self.

May I embrace and love the totality of myself,
My darkness as well as my light.
 
May I be brave enough to hear my heart,
To let it soften so that I may gracefully
Choose faith over fear.
 
Today is my day to surrender anything that stands
Between the sacredness of my humanity and my divinity.

May I be drenched in my Holiness
And engulfed by Your love.

May all else melt away.

 And so it is

Don't be afraid to ask for things from God in prayer, pope says
by Carol GlatzCatholic News Service  |  Vatican

by JeffyBruno

VATICAN CITY — No one should be afraid to turn to God with prayer, especially in times of great doubt, suffering and need, Pope Francis said.

Jesus does not want people to become numb to life's problems and "extinguish" those things that make them human when they pray, the pope said Dec. 12 during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI audience hall.

"He does not want us to smother our questions and requests, learning to put up with everything. Instead, he wants every pain, every apprehension to rise up to heaven and become a dialogue" with God, the father, he said.  Read more...

National Prayer Vigil for Life
January 17-18, 2019
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is pleased to host the 2019 National Prayer Vigil for Life January 17-18. Below, please find important information regarding the Vigil.

 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Confessions - Our Lady of Hostyn Chapel Crypt Church (lower level left) and other locations TBD

5:00 - 5:15 pm

Chaplet of Divine Mercy - Great Upper Church
Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal

5:30 - 7:30 pm

Opening Mass - Great Upper Church
Principal Celebrant & Homilist:
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann,
Archbishop of Kansas City, KS and Chairman,
USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities

8:00 - 9:00 pm

National Rosary for Life - Crypt Church (lower level)

8:30 - 10:30 pm

Confessions - Our Lady of Hostyn Chapel the Crypt Church (lower level left) 

9:30 - 10:30 pm

Night Prayer (Byzantine Rite) - Crypt Church
Celebrant: Most Reverend Kurt R. Burnette, JCL, DD, Bishop of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic, NJ
Homilist: TBD
Slava Men's Chorus, Epiphany of Our Lord Church, Annandale, VA

11:00 pm

Holy Hours for Life - Crypt Church
Led by seminarians from across the country

   
Friday, January 18, 2019

12:00 am - 6:00 am

Holy Hours for Life - Crypt Church
Led by seminarians from across the country

6:00 am

Adoration - Crypt Church
Dominican House of Studies:
Priory of the Immaculate Conception
Washington, DC

6:30 am

Morning Prayer, Benediction, Reposition - Crypt Church
Dominican House of Studies:
Priory of the Immaculate Conception
Washington, DC

7:30 am

Closing Mass - Great Upper Church
Principal Celebrant & Homilist:  Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout,  Bishop of Richmond


More National Prayer Events for Life can be found on the USCCB website by clicking here.


Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2019
Monday, January 21, 2019

From the Reader's Digest

14 Rarely Seen Photos of Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Lauren Cahn
 
Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination at age 39, in 1968. Though his life was short, his impact will always be with us. Read more...

Steubenville (FUS), and facilitate communication to our internal and external audiences using consistent and continuous brand messaging.  This person will assist numerous FUS departments with creating digital media for IMC campaigns that drive traffic to FUS online platforms including websites, social media channels, e-blasts, and e-newsletters that further conversion with tracking and measurable results for ROI.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES
Assist with the creation and management of the newest version of the main University website, www.franciscan.edu
Maintain and update current websites and SPAs, as directed by the Web Communications Director, including the University Bulletin, Catechetics.com, the MarCom Resource Center, styles for the JRM portals, recruitment SPAs, and others
Develop and deploy new websites and SPAs, as directed
Provide consultation to superiors and, as directed, to other departments on campus regarding outside vendors to assist in fulfilling University web needs

Ascension is hiring!

We are a company built around the call to help people enrich their lives through the fullness of the Catholic Faith. We’re passionate, mission-driven professionals and we’re looking for talented people to join our team. 

Our four current openings:
General Manager  /  Marketing Manager  /  Product Manager  /  Accounts Payable Clerk

NBCC Winter 2018-2019 Newsletter

Now Available:

Pastoral Plans of Action from Past Congresses

These instruments, issued shortly after each Congress, provide action steps for addressing the topics of concern presented during the Congress events.

To download copies of the different Pastoral Plans, click button below. 

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 
1-800-537-2238
www.nrcdv.org and www.vawnet.org

Futures Without Violence: The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 
1-888-792-2873
www.futureswithoutviolence.org

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011
www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org

If you have gone through a traumatic experience, it is normal to feel lots of emotions, such as distress, fear, helplessness, guilt, shame or anger.  You may start to feel better after days or weeks, but sometimes, these feelings don’t go away.  If the symptoms last for more than a month, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. 

  • "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood."


PTSD is a real problem and can happen at any age.  If you have PTSD, you are not alone.  It affects over 14 million American adults (4.4% of the adult population) in any given year. Read more...

The image of the Holy Virgin of Częstochowa (before 1714). The collection of Radomysl Castle

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Celebrated on January 1 as a Holy Day of Obligation.

What Is the Feast About?
One of the most important dogmatic Marian teachings of our faith is that Mary is theMother of God. This title of “Theotokos” or “God-Bearer” testifies to the fundamental reality of the Incarnation: the Person of the Son assumed to Himself a human nature; He is fully God and fully Man. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that:

​Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus”, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord”. In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos).

Mary’s Divine motherhood follows from the fact that her son, Jesus, is truly God and truly Man, as the Gospel writers attest (c.f. Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38, John 1: 1-18).

Read more...

To learn more about these openings, click here.
Feel free to pass this email on to anyone who might be interested!

Real Stories: Living with Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually apparent at birth. It is a type of neural tube defect (NTD). To learn what it’s like to live with this condition or how families are affected, read these real stories from people living with spina bifida.


Nikia’s Story
“One thing I’ve learned is don’t really put limits on yourself. Just because you have this condition, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself. You can work; you don’t want to hurt yourself, but you can work. There’s things you can do.”

Spina bifida is a birth defect of the spine, and people with this condition may have physical and intellectual challenges that affect major life activities such as education and employment. Some people with spina bifida may have limited feeling or paralysis in some parts of their bodies, making it difficult to walk. They may also have problems with bladder and bowel control. Complications from spina bifida can range from mild to severe, depending on the person. Read more...

Domestic Violence and Mental Health Resources

  • Ralph McCloud, Director, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Prophetic Discipleship - Removing the Sting of Poverty in Our Communities, Saturday February 16 at 8:30 am, focusing on Corporeal Works of Mercy 5 practical steps to eradicating the sting of poverty eroding our communities; these steps will give direction to heads of households to strengthen their home church family and broader communities.
  • Charlene Howard M.A.,- Through Many - One: The Art of Universal Accompaniment, Saturday February 16 at 12:30 pm, workshop will explore what "Catholic" means and how the meaning is evident in today's Church; includes challenges to fostering Catholic life in our parishes and schools; will share best practices and practical applications in viewing Missional Discipleship as the framework for embracing, cultivating and being enriched by the diversity in our Church.
  • Michael Howard M.A., founder of Eat the Scroll Ministry, Saturday February 16 at 2:00 pm. Sr. Thea Bowman galvanized the world by calling for diversity in the Church; explore her philosophy of Cosmic Spirituality, develop strategies for building relationships with parishioners from other cultures and loving one another as God loves us.

REGISTER NOW! 


Early registration ends on 12/15/18

HOW TO CELEBRATE THIS DAY​​

  • WORSHIP together at the Eucharistic Table and pray as a family on the National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family
  • CELEBRATE a meal together and tell your FAMILY STORY
  • SET ASIDE some time together to discuss what you are willing to stand for.

    I WILL STAND FOR:

    • Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and forever
    • The Eucharist
    • Respect Life
    • Justice and Peace
    • The end of racismand hate
    • The end of abortionall acts of violence
    • Respect for the familyespecially our elders
    • Respect for our women and children
    • Protectionof our environment
    • All creation
    • With the poor and oppressed
    • With the forgotten, unwanted and unwelcome


  • PERFORM A Work of Mercy
    As a family, prepare and give a meal to a family in need in your Church or local community on this the National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family

The National Black Catholic Congress expresses its sympathy on the passing of Bishop Joseph Howze

Pope Francis talks tough to U.S. bishops, says credibility of church 'is at stake'Pope Francis tells U.S. bishops grappling with priest sex abuse scandal to stop "playing the victim or the scold."
Jan. 3, 2019
By Corky Siemaszko

Pope Francis delivered a blunt message Thursday to his American bishops — stop “playing the victim or the scold” and do something about the “culture of abuse” that has resulted in a crisis of credibility for the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.  Read more...

Prayer for a new year
By Debbie Ford

from U.S. Catholic


Dear God,

On this day I ask You to grant this request,
May I know who I am and what I am,
Every moment of every day.

May I be a catalyst for light and love,

And bring inspiration to those whose eyes I meet.

May I have the strength to stand tall in the face of conflict,
And the courage to speak my voice, even when I'm scared.

May I have the humility to follow my heart,
And the passion to live my soul's desires.

May I seek to know the highest truth
And dismiss the gravitational pull of my lower self.

May I embrace and love the totality of myself,
My darkness as well as my light.
 
May I be brave enough to hear my heart,
To let it soften so that I may gracefully
Choose faith over fear.
 
Today is my day to surrender anything that stands
Between the sacredness of my humanity and my divinity.

May I be drenched in my Holiness
And engulfed by Your love.

May all else melt away.

 And so it is

January is dedicated to

the Holy Name of Jesus

from Catholic Online


We give honour to the Name of Jesus, not because we believe that there is any intrinsic power hidden in the letters composing it, but because the Name of Jesus reminds us of all the blessings we receive through our Holy Redeemer. To give thanks for these blessings we revere the Holy Name, as we honour the Passion of Christ by honouring His Cross (Colvenerius, "De festo SS. Nominis", ix). At the Holy Name of Jesus we uncover our heads, and we bend our knees; it is at the head of all our undertakings, as the Emperor Justinian says in his law-book: "In the Name of Our Lord Jesus we begin all our consultations". The Name of Jesus invoked with confidence

  • brings help in bodily needs, according to the promise of Christ: "In my name They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover". (Mark 16:17-18)​  Read more...