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The current pandemic challenges and forthcoming sustainability and recovery efforts highlight the need and urgency to have accurate and complete statistics especially from the communities we serve.
It was a little over a year ago that I decided to become a Catholic. I was raised in the Black church by a family of pastors, including my Baptist minister dad, Baptist minister grandpa and Pentecostal pastor grandma. (Most of my father’s siblings were ministers as well.) Converting to Catholicism was not easy, but when I was growing up, my dad emphasized two things to remember in my walk of faith: the power of prayer and having a personal relationship with God. These two sentiments clicked once I started going to Mass as a graduate student in Florida. In pursuit of my own personal relationship with God, I found Catholicism, and I am glad I did. But at a time like this, in which a major reassessment of the progress of civil rights is imminent, I am left to wonder what our response as Catholics will be. Read More
US Catholic provides a robust listing of suggested "required" Black Catholic readings to provide a better perspective of the history of police brutality, Black activism, and the legacy of racism in the United States from a Catholic Lens. Read More
Josephite Father Paul Oberg, the rector of the order’s retirement residence in the nation’s capital, confirmed that Father Hull and Father McKinley, who had underlying health issues, died from the coronavirus. The two priests died within hours of each other – Father Hull on May 26 at the age of 96, and Father McKinley on May 27 at the age of 83. The rector said Father Brady died of old age on May 20. The rector said another retired Josephite priest who had been living at the residence was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was in the hospital and recovering. “These were good priests, and they had very productive ministry. They were good examples to me and to so many others who followed after them,” said Bishop Ricard, who is also the bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, which he led from 1997 until his retirement from that role in 2011. Read More
A local scholar has released a new resource highlighting the voices of Black Catholics in assessing racism and its impact, particularly within the Catholic Church. Philadelphia-based sociologist Dr. Tia Noelle Pratt has launched the #BlackCatholics Syllabus, a compilation of written, visual and audio materials on an issue that has gripped the nation in recent weeks, following the death of George Floyd while under Minneapolis police restraint. The syllabus features perspectives from an array of Black Catholic thought leaders, among them Villanova professor Shannen Dee Williams, Fordham professor Father Bryan Massingale and recently retired Bishop Edward K. Braxton. Read More
When the Church was born at Pentecost, about 3,000 people “from every nation under heaven” were baptized,” St. Luke tells us in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. “I tell people all the time that Pentecost Sunday celebrates diversity with a capital D,” said Auxiliary Bishop Joseph N. Perry of Chicago, who told Our Sunday Visitor that St. Luke’s account underscores the truth that Christ was crucified for the salvation of all people. “The Church was meant to be diverse from the beginning,” Bishop Perry said. Read More
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve interviewed and spoken with several black Catholic leaders in the course of my reporting on racism and the Church’s response to the systemic bigotry and discrimination experienced by black-and-brown-skinned people in the United States. The breaking point for many protesters marching in the streets was the horrific video of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, having his neck pinned by the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, for nearly nine minutes. Before dying, Floyd, 46, cried out for his momma and repeatedly told the officer – who has since been charged with second-degree murder – “I can’t breathe.” The video elicited some strong visceral responses from the black Catholic ministry leaders and Church officials I spoke with. Here is what they had to say: Read More
St. Augustine High School, a historic Catholic high school for African American teenagers in New Orleans, announced a $1.5 million donation Wednesday as part of a coronavirus-relief fund run by Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of the tech giants Twitter and Square. Dorsey’s gift marks the largest one-time donation ever made to the school, officials said. Read More
Recent statements and demonstrations by Catholic leaders condemning the sin of racism and in a few instances calling for change have been encouraging. However, Catholic statements that fail to acknowledge and confront the church’s direct complicity and agency in the contemporary crisis and its sin histories of colonialism, slavery and segregation ring painfully hollow. This is especially true for black Catholics who have long shouted with their actions and words that “Black Lives Matter” in the face of church opposition. Read More