“The 12th National Black Catholic Congress was held in Orlando, Florida immediately following the USCCB Convocation of Leaders for Evangelization. It was amazing to watch over 2200 attendees from all over the country come together to worship and participate in a historical event that is crucial to the Catholic Church and the African American Community,” says Fr. Reginald Norman, Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wilton and Episcopal Vicar for African American Catholics in the Diocese of Bridgeport.
The theme for Congress XII was “The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.” The workshops focused on topics that are grounded in many Catholic principles and were selected to teach us how to respond to many social justice issues such as: the right to life, the importance of ministering to incarcerated peoples, the need for vocations, the prevalence of domestic violence, healing of families, and the path to post-abortion healing. There was also a youth track that allowed our young people to voice their needs and to set a plan to address their concerns.
The Congress was blessed to have His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Turkson as a Keynote speaker and celebrant. The celebrations were lively and allowed the community to share the gifts they bring to the liturgy. As Bishop Cheri said, “I need this church to sing. I don’t care if you have a bad voice. God gave it to you and he wants to hear it.” And hear it, He did. Imagine a church full of 2500 plus people singing with Joy for the Lord. The Congress concluded with a beautiful mass and a presentation of a Youth Pastoral plan and a Congress Pastoral Plan. Our own Fr. Reggie Norman, Episcopal Vice for African American Catholics, was one of the 40 Delegates who drafted the plan.
The Diocese of Bridgeport had a delegation of seven who will come back and develop a local plan. For further information, please feel free to contact Fr. Norman at firstname.lastname@example.org.