The National Black Catholic Congress, Inc.

Calendar of Events​​

April 2017

​NCEA 2017 Convention & Expo
America’s Center , St. Louis, MO. Convention is held in partnership with the Catholic Library Association (CLA), and is a time to celebrate, to acquire new knowledge, and to renew your spirit. NCEA 2017 is just the place for that to happen to you! Visit for more information.


Black Catholics: What's Our Future?
Lecture speaker is Darren W. Davis, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Director of the Center for Social Research, and Lilly Presidential Fellow, The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Event begins at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at the Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion Auditorium at Xavier University of Louisiana - 1 Drexel Drive, New Orleans, LA. For more information, call the Institute for Black Catholic Studies office 504-520-7691. There will be a reception following the lecture.

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 

For more information about the Congress XII schedule and programs, click the button below.

Cooking up compassion
From delicious recipes to “hunger banquets,” Operation
​Rice Bowl takes Catholics into the heart of Lent


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

In a time of digital consumption, here’s how the church can lead the way on healthy media fasting.

Adult Early Meeting Registration . . . . . . $350.00
Adult Meeting Registration . . . . . . . . . . . $375.00

Youth Group Discount Registration . . . . $195.00
            (Ages 14-17, groups of 15 or more youths)
Early Youth Meeting Registration . . . . . .$225.00

(Ages 14-17, individual registrations or groups of 14 or less)

Youth Meeting Registration . . . . . . . . . . .$250.00

 Early Registration Cut-Off Date is April 7, 2017

Reserve Yours Early:

​Complete the form below and return to the
​Hyatt Regency Orlando.

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Lenten Video Resources

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

Lent, Unplugged


With 6.4 billion digital devices connected to the Internet at the end of 2016 and 20 billion expected to be online by 2020, consensus is growing that tech’s best feature may be its off switch.

This week we entered Lent—a time for abstaining from the things that disconnect us from the divine, from God, from that which gives us life. For 40 days, we set aside distractions and vices in order to practice self-denial, focus on repentance, seek clarity in prayer, and pursue intimacy with God and others.

For many, the smartphone has become the ultimate vice. We are living in a never-off culture, where the speed and gloss of our screens often makes the connection to those far away seem more interesting and urgent than the people and experiences right in front of us. It's happening to teens at prom, parents on soccer fields, and CEOs in boardrooms. Our energy, creativity, and time—perhaps the best of us—are being spent committed to screens.

As Christians, we’re not exempt from this vice. 


Early-Meeting Prices End on April 7, 2017!

praying, learning, and giving concrete assistance to those who are hungry. Last year, she says, participants raised about $8 million, 75 percent of which went to relief efforts overseas. The remainder was designated for domestic relief.

The mission of Catholic Relief Services is to alleviate human suffering, foster justice and charity, and enhance the development of people all over the world. Swope says the group works in five main areas: agriculture, microfinance, health, education, and HIV/AIDS. Money raised by the relief agency through Operation Rice Bowl and other efforts are used to target problems in these areas.

But Operation Rice Bowl is not just a fund-raising program, Swope stresses. “It’s about praying and learning,” she says. “It’s about understanding the challenges that face people in developing countries, or in our own backyard.”

Different faith communities use Operation Rice Bowl in different ways. At St. Matthew’s Parish in Baltimore, for example, Father Joseph Muth says that on the Sunday before Lent, the paper donation boxes — folded, origamistyle, to look like rice bowls — will be lined up on the altar rail. The congregation will dedicate prayers to the hungry, and then those who wish to may take a rice bowl home, he says. Read more...

HABARI GANI X High School Retreat
Fri Apr 28th 9:00am - Sun 30th 9:00am
St. Augustine Retreat Center, 510 N 2nd St, Bay St Louis, MS 39520, The Archdiocese of New Orleans is sponsoring Habari Gani X High School Retreat at the St. Augustine Retreat Center in Bay St. Louis, MS. The cost is $140/person which covers food, lodging, supplies, and transportation for the weekend to and from New Orleans. Registration forms and money are due to the CYO office by April 6, 2017. The retreat is designed for current Freshmen to Juniors in High School, and is designed to build strong leadership skills that can be used in the community and church, instill and build self-esteem and self-worth, reinforce your call as disciples and people of faith, and attain all of these goals from a black spiritual perspective.
Join in the fun, food, games, leadership training and more! For more information contact Dr. Ansel Augustine:, phone: 504-861-6207.

By Marialisa Calta

Cathy Voxland, an avid home cook from Newnan, Georgia, knows how to whip up a chicken and mushroom casserole for a church luncheon or put on a spread of “gooey desserts.” But during Lent, Voxland presides weekly over a kitchen of volunteers at St. George Parish, making dishes like a collard green, tomato, and peanut stew from Angola, sour soup from Cambodia, and lentil dishes from Pakistan. Her inspiration? Operation Rice Bowl (ORB), a Lenten program established by Catholic Relief Services.

“The theme of Operation Rice Bowl is ‘pray, fast, learn,’ says Steve Swope, a deacon at St. George, which he describes as a working class parish of some 700 families southwest of Atlanta. “We pray for those who are hungry, we eat a spare meal such as people in a developing country might eat, and we learn about their circumstances,” he says. They also donate; the parish raised $7,000 last year. It is a recipe, he says, for both a visceral and spiritual understanding of people’s suffering.

On Friday nights during Lent, Voxland and seven other volunteers get together to prepare the ORB recipes. Parishioners gather to eat and to talk about hunger in faraway places as well as hunger close by. Portions are small. There is no salt and pepper on the table. Beverages are limited to water and coffee. “The food is always satisfying and tasty,” says Voxland. But, she says, the ORB message comes through when “we stop to think that we eat three times a day — at least! — and this may be a person’s only meal. Plus, they may eat the same thing every day. We realize how blessed we are to have access to food, clean water. It’s humbling.”

Operation Rice Bowl began in 1975 with an ecumenical group of religious leaders in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who were responding to a drought in Africa, according to program adviser (and Deacon Swope’s daughter) Jennifer Swope. A year later, the program fell under the aegis of the Baltimore based Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Now, Swope estimates, some 13,500 faith communities around the nation participate in Operation Rice Bowl every year to help those in need in their own community and around the world. The program combines fasting, 

                      Hotel Room Fees:

                      NBCC Room Rate . . . . . . . $138.50

Per day, includes taxes & fees


       Join bishops, priests, and your fellow Catholic lay men and women, as we listen to dynamic speakers
​   and presenters, and explore strategies for deepening our faith, and evangelizing our brothers and sisters who do not belong to the fold. There will be workshops, and opportunities for individual prayer and sharing your faith with others from all parts of the country.

Lent, true Christian life and Pope Francis
Pat Perriello  |  Mar. 1, 2017  |  NCR Today

How can we best live the Christian life during Lent?

As we begin the season of Lent this year, it might be a good time to reflect upon what our Christian faith is really all about. Pope Francis is our best resource in making it clear what is important for living a good Christian life. The two articles from The Guardian, cited below, lay out pretty effectively, how we ought to live our lives as followers of Jesus, the Christ.

Pope Francis provided guidance in his morning homily at his private morning Mass. He 
​suggests that it may be better to be an atheist than to be a hypocritical Catholic. But what makes a Catholic a hypocrite? It seems to be a failure to live what he sees as the essentials for the Christian life. He does not include the externals of going to Mass or participating in church activities in the essential category. Rather, he says, I go to Mass, but "my life is not Christian,
​I don't pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money."

For Francis, the core of the Christian life is working for social justice. He condemns the sexual abuse of children by priests. He has noted that mafia members excommunicate themselves. He has told Cardinals that they must not act and live like princes. He also said that Catholics should see atheists as good people if they do good.

It is how we treat other people that really matters. While this is a hard saying, it should not be surprising since it is nothing more than a restatement of the Gospel. In the 15th chapter of Matthew it says, "What goes into the mouth does not defile a man; but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles a man." Matthew also tells us that salvation is gained or lost by what we do for others: giving drink to the thirsty, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, etc., Matt 25:31-46.

In an earlier article in The Guardian, Pope Francis also makes clear that he is talking about an active involvement in making this world a better place, especially for the poor and needy. Without mentioning a certain American President, Francis gives his full support to those fighting for social justice. In a letter read at the opening of a meeting of grassroots organizations that took place in Modesto, California, he stated that the involvement and participation of the people was necessary. Read more...

Continue on your Lenten journey withFREE seasonal formation and liturgical articles from our sister publication, Celebration Publications.

Visit the new online resource page here.

Registration includes admission to all General Sessions at the four-day conference, including inspirational messages from much sought-after speakers; workshops and activities presented by leading experts in their fields of study; the opportunity to interact with bishops, priests, deacons, and members of religious communities; the opportunity to network with Black Catholics from across the United States; complimentary daily continental breakfast; lunch provided on Friday; exhibits and merchandise geared to the interests of NBCC constituents; daily Eucharistic Liturgy, including transportation to the beautiful Basilica of the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe for Mass on opening day; and, accommodations steps away from world-class attractions ​and entertainment.