Demographic shifts led to the opening of a new church, with sacred art designed to resonate with the African-American Catholics who make up the parish.
Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, located in the southwest side of the city, was once home to many Irish and German immigrants, who in the 19th century started a flourishing Catholic community. The first church ever built in the area was in fact a Roman Catholic parish, St. Anne’s Church, established in 1869.
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception has served black community for over 200 years
Norfolk, Virginia, is home to St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, the only historically African-American Catholic church that is also a minor basilica. Like the histories of both African-Americans and Catholics in this country, its own history is full of struggle and misunderstanding, faith and hope.
Founded as St. Patrick’s parish in 1791, it displayed the “catholicity” of the Church from its earliest days: Irish and German immigrants, slaves and freemen, all worshiped together.
A planned pastoral letter addressing racism is on schedule for a November vote by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Knights of Peter Claver National Chaplain, Bishop Sheldon J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, chairman of the bishop's Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, said during the bishops' spring general assembly June 14 that the document would reflect recommendations from the various audiences that have reviewed drafts of the document.
The bishop said the document will focus on contemporary concerns affecting Native Americans and African-Americans and the "targeting" of Hispanics with racist language and actions. Read More
For the first time in the 46-year history of the Catholic Theological Society of America's highest award, an African American theologian has been honored for "distinguished theological achievement." Black and womanist theologian M. Shawn Copeland received the John Courtney Murray Award at this year's CTSA convention in Indianapolis. Read More
On the very grounds where Jesuits once helped fuel one of the most divisive issues in American history, slavery, by selling off human beings to pay down the university’s debts, more than 200 individuals gathered on Monday to discuss ways in which a divided country might become more unified by harnessing the powers of Catholic social teaching. Read More
Andrew, a member of St. Francis Xavier Parish in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, believes that solutions to violence, whether in suburban schools or on the streets of the Austin neighborhood, will happen only if people come together and overcome divisions and political polarization.
"The only people who benefit from us being divided is an industry that sells guns," he said.
The programs offered by Catholic Charities and other organizations at the new building in Austin — named for Fr. Augustus Tolton, a former slave and the first African American priest — will address issues of poverty, racism and despair, which is critical to violence prevention, Andrew said. Read More
The Catholic Church possesses clear doctrine that racism is a sin, even defining it as a broadly "pro-life" issue in a sweeping new document. It offers dozens of programs and opportunities to address it.
Yet the church's leaders in Southwest Ohio admit to a frustrating disconnect with many of the faithful on the topic.
"We're not getting the message across as clearly as we should," said Cincinnati's archbishop, the Most Rev. Dennis Schnurr.
"The dignity of the human person knows no color. We're all made in the image and likeness of God. We all have our own talents, so we don't all reflect God in the same way. Color is one trait, but it's a trait that comes from God. Read More
On the streets of post-Civil War Denver, Julia Greeley was unmistakable as she stood at doorsteps of poor families in the middle of the night, pulling a red wagon behind her and wearing a floppy black hat. Because the former slave lost an eye as a child when she was whipped by a slave master in Hannibal, Mo., some people in Denver knew her as one-eyed Julia.
But most called her an angel of charity.
She brought food, coal and clothing, sometimes even hauling mattresses on her back to help families in need. Working as a housekeeper for white families, Greeley, a devout Catholic, gave away much of what she earned to the poor. Read More