The National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus [NBCCC] serves as a fraternity for the Black Catholic Clergy and Religious to support the spiritual, theological, educational, and ministerial growth of its members. Our membership is composed of Black Catholic ordained Clergy (priests and permanent deacons), religious brothers and seminarians. We stand on the shoulders of our founding fathers that birthed this organization during the civil rights movement in 1968. We are a fraternity which nurtures and supports our membership. We provide leadership training and mentoring for our seminarians and deacon candidates and religious brothers in their formation process. We are committed to taking care of the spiritual needs of our African-American brothers and sisters. Our celebration is holistic and this is expressed in the joy and spirit of our liturgies and the character of our ministries. The NBCCC is a vehicle to bring the contributions of the Black Community to fruition within the Catholic Church.
The primary purpose of the NBCCC is to serve God and when we serve him we allow God to speak and act through us. We serve as the voice of those who are at the bottom of our society. We struggle with our brothers and sister and our collective hope is the struggle. We take a fundamental stand against the ills of society that produce the ditches that the poorest people inhabit. We stand in solidarity with them and serve as a voice crying out in the wilderness for social justice. We work to transform the minds and consciousness of the weak and powerless and have a special proclivity for our African-American brothers and sisters. We provide fish when we can and point them to where the fish are when we can’t. We teach the folks we serve how to fish for themselves. We reach back in our history from Africa through the Diaspora and we celebrate our giftedness and out identity and our spirit of survival. We celebrate our liturgies and our lives and we do whatever is necessary to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through our Words, our Sacraments and our Lives.
As Black Catholic men and women, we choose to stay in the Catholic Church in a different way and in a different way stay. We believe that the Church in her newness is evolving. It is browner and poorer, more feminine, more collegial, more concerned about charity and justice, more multilingual and polycentric. The Church in its diversity, reflects God’s Trinitarian life. Our task is to recognize and facilitate God’s Spirit acting in this birthing of the new. What we have seen and heard, we are now called in faith to speak in love and truth. As a people of sojourn we have fought to be Catholic. However, in the Catholic Church, at this moment we are gravely concerned about the abandonment and survival of the Black community. Yet, God trusts us to do what we must do for the greater good. Therefore, we the members of National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, National Black Sisters’ Conference, National Association of Black Catholic Deacons and their spouses, and National Association of Black Catholic Administrators re-commit ourselves to ushering in this new Church. We strongly encourage our Church to: •remain present and committed to bearing witness to the liberating power of the gospel in the African American community. •keep open diocesan offices for Black Catholic ministry and ongoing faith formation. •keep open Catholic schools in the Black community to educate and to foster the new evangelization. •renew and strengthen the Church’s commitment to encourage and nurture African American vocations to the ordained, consecrated, and lay ecclesial ministerial life of the Church. The social teachings of the Catholic Church compel and empower us to embrace this prophetic moment. We challenge ourselves and the other members of our Church to listen to those voices that for too long have been excluded and silenced. Signed: Rev. Anthony Bozeman, SSJ President, NBCCC Sr. Roberta Fulton, SSMN President, NBSC Rev. Mr. Paul Richardson President, NABCD Rev. Mr. Arthur Miller President, NABCA
“To serve alongside men and women who are your inspirational heroes is quite an unexpected honor and blessing … my own ministry would not exist without them.” So said Deacon Mel Tardy of St. Augustine Parish, South Bend, who along with his wife, Annie, attended the annual Joint Conference of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, National Black Sisters’ Conference, National Association of Black Catholic Deacons and the National Association of Black Catholic Seminarians, all held July 24-28 in San Diego, Calif. NBCCC was founded in 1968, followed in turn by the other groups. They began meeting jointly because of their commonalities. This was the first such gathering on the West Coast. The conference liturgies, meetings, discussions and prayers reflected the growing crises and urgent challenges facing black Catholic leaders around the country, particularly in urban areas. Other conference highlights included an uplifting address by Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Ill., based on his 2015 pastoral letter and study guide, “The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace;” Deacon Tardy’s election to a second term on the NBCCC board of directors; a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announcement calling for all U.S. dioceses to unite in a Sept. 9 Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities; and the naming Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory to head a special task force to promote peace and healing. At the conference, Annie “gained wisdom regarding current affairs and how we need to unite as a religion not just as a people,” she said. In particular, “being with the deacon wives helped recharge me for my own church work, reminding me that what I’m doing is in line with what others are doing; for we as deacon wives are also called to serve, we also have a ministry to help others.” Deacon Tardy and Annie are founding members of the Black Catholic Advisory Board of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. The annual diocesan Sankofa Celebration of Black Catholic Faith and Culture will take place Saturday, Nov. 12, at Saint Joseph High School in South Bend.
Planted: National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus – 1968
Planted: National Office for Black Catholic (NOBC)
Planted: Institute of Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University, New Orleans Co-founded: Black Catholic Theological Symposium www.bcts.org
Published: Declaration on Racism in the Catholic Church
Published: Black Catholic Men of God Supported: rebirth of the National Black Catholic Congress www.nbccongress.org
Partnered: National Black Catholic Seminarians Association (NBCSA)
Planted: Black Catholic History Month (November) seeded in 1992
Planted: Pan African Roman Catholic Clergy Caucus (PARCCC) seeded in 1991
Planted: National Association of African American Catholic Deacons – now National Association of Black Catholic Deacons (NABCD)
Bestowed on members whose ministry is shared on the national and global level in the black catholic community for 20 years or more.
The History of Black Catholics - Fr. Cyprion Davis, OSB, PhD
Black Unity and Spiritual Togetherness (B.U.S.T.) - Fr. Albert McKnight, CSSP
National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life (NBCAL) - Fr. James Goode, OFM, PhD www.blackcatholicsforlife.org
Ambassadors of the Word - Frs. Charles and Chester Smith, SVD www.bowmanfrancisministry.com