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A word cloud featuring terms associated with the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Civil Rights movement.
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Timely Ministry Resources for Black Catholics


African American Affairs E-Newsletter Archive

View past and current issues in the e-newsletter archive.

Addressing Racism

National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) XII Pastoral Plan of Action - Read the Pastoral Plan of Action which was developed by delegates who were appointed by bishops from every diocese in the United States. These women and men brought the concerns and needs of their local communities, and worked together to develop a list of pastoral priorities.

News Release - U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee Statement on the Life and Work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Read the USCCB's Administrative Committee's statement about the marking of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Portrait of Black Catholicism: Celebrating 40 years of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium - Read the article by C. Vanessa White about the Black Catholic Theological Symposium (BCTS) and how the organization has sought to share with the wider church the unique experience of living in a society that has not always valued the contributions or presence of black Catholics.

News Release - USCCB President Calls for Courage and Commitment on Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Read Cardinal DiNardo's statement in relation to the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Responding to the Sin of Racism - Read the initial resources developed by various USCCB offices describing work against racism in their respective areas of expertise.

News Release - U.S. Bishops' Anti-Racism Committee Chair Lifts Up National Day of Prayer - Read Bishop George V. Murry's statement calling on Catholics and all people of faith to observe an annual Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities on September 9, the Feast of St. Peter Claver.

News Release - U.S. Bishops Establish New Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism - Read the statement from Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo on the establishment of the Committee and watch the interview with Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, OH, who has been named Chair of the Committee.

National Conference Call - On February 2, 2017, a National Conference Call was held in which diocesan directors, coordinators and liaisons for African American Catholics/Multicultural Ministry participated to discuss what is being done in the (arch)dioceses to respond to concerns about law enforcement, mass incarceration and valuing Black lives. Read the diocesan reports, homilies, and articles provided by participants of the call.

USCCB Special Task Force to Promote Peace In Our Communities - Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, and chairman of the Special Task Force to Promote Peace In Our Communities shares the final report and recommendations for promoting peace along with activities for (arch)dioceses for the National Day of Prayer For Peace in Our Communities (September 9th).

The Racial Divide in the United States - Read the series of statements by Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D., Bishop of Belleville (Illinois):

Also, read the companion pieces:

Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (2010) by Bryan N. Massingale - This book examines the presence of racism in America from its early history through the Civil Rights Movement and the election of Barack Obama. It also explores how Catholic social teaching has been used--and not used--to promote reconciliation and justice.

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.

Rebuilding the Bridge: 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement - In the coming year, the U.S. will celebrate the 50th anniversaries of several important civil rights milestones. To commemorate these important events and the contributions of many Catholics to the civil rights movement, Cultural Diversity in the Church and African American Affairs, in collaboration with several other organizations, has launched Rebuilding the Bridge: African American Affairs' 50th Anniversary Initiative. Check back regularly throughout the year for resources, events and other information.

Reconciled Through Christ - Published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2013, this publication explores the reconciliation and greater collaboration between Hispanic American Catholics and African American Catholics.

Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself: U.S. Catholic Bishops Speak Against Racism - In 2001, several bishops brought together a series of essays on the perspective of the different cultural families and on racism in general. Their insight remains relevant today and still relevant excerpts, collated in 2013, are available. Read Bishop Edward K. Braxton's essay titled "Take Into Account Various Situations and Cultures" from the series.

Brothers and Sisters to Us - The pastoral letter on racism by the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 1979 explains how racism divides society. The Executive Summary Report on the 25th Anniversary of the U.S. Bishop's Pastoral Letter on Racism outlines the Church's progress in meeting the goal outlined in the pastoral letter.

Pastoral Statements from 1958-1968 - Read statements issued/approved by USCCB and its predecessors about the sin of racism:

Find more information and resources regarding the issue of racism on USCCB's Racism webpage.

Prayer & Liturgical ResourcesWoman praying the rosary

Foundational Materials

Below are additional foundation materials:

Marriage and Family Life Ministry

  Smiling Married Couple    Smiling Family

Young Adult Catholics

  Mass at Holy Redeemer Church in Washington, D.C., commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. CNS Photo     Youth & Young Adults

Read the report from the 2015 Black Catholic Young Adult Listening Session and related material at the Young Adult Resources webpage.


Below are some video and audio resources available:

Torture Awareness Month and International Day of Support of Victims of Torture

June is Torture Awareness Month and June 26 is the International Day of Support of Victims of Torture. The focus of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), a USCCB partner, now includes ending torture in U.S. prisons and campaigning against solitary confinement. Help end torture in U.S. policy, practice and culture by downloading a free toolkit of resources from NRCAT.

Additional Resources

On The Road to Sainthood - Pray for holy men and women on the road to sainthood.

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Check out the biographies and autobiographies reviewed on Recommended Reading about Inspiring African Americans. These reviews highlight the inspiring lives of persons of African decent. We will continue to update this page, so keep checking back for new ideas for an inspiring read.

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