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Building Leaders in the Black Catholic Community for service in the Church


The Subcommittee on African American Affairs prioritizes a focus on leadership development

Regarding the question of leadership within the context of the African American Catholic community, we recall the statement delivered to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1985, which noted that African American Catholics are not highly visible in our Church.The statement of our African American Bishops, delivered by Bishop Joseph Howze, said "If we are to change our image in the larger Black community, Black Catholics must be visible in many different aspects of Church life."It is also stated that in order for there to be more visible Black leadership, there first must be "appropriate training, opportunity, and visibility."

The Black Catholic community has accepted this challenge and have enrolled in many of the institutes which are now available. The following Leadership institutes offer numerous educational and pastoral programs from enrichment to Lay Ecclesial Ministry.

Statement by the Black Bishops of the United States, "Origins 15 (November 28, 1985):395-399

Black Catholic Institutions

The Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program

Program Overview: Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies, Master of Arts in Theology, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry with mentoring and formation aspects

The Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union is a one of its kind academic, scholarship, formation and mentoring program that prepares Black Catholic women and men for ministerial leadership in the Church.  The roots of the Tolton Program reach back into Chicago's distinctive Catholic history.  In the late 1800's, the first recognized Black Catholic Priest in the United States, Augustus Tolton became the pastor of a vibrant Black Catholic parish.  The courageous and faithful path he walked as a priest and pioneer has inspired generations of Black Catholics to service in the Church.

Institute for Black Catholic Studies

Program Overview: Th.M Degree, certification and enrichment programs

The Institute for Black Catholic Studies is important because it is a laboratory for African American Catholic inculturation. Founded in 1980, the Institute prepares lay men and women, vowed religious, priests and deacons for a more meaningful ministry within the Black Community. It is the only such program in the nation offering an interdisciplinary Master's Degree in Black Catholic Theological Studies, along with certification and enrichment programs focused on educating catechists, youth ministers and pastoral leaders for a variety of ministries in the Church.

Keep on Teaching

Program Overview: Catechetical Workshop

"Keep on Teaching," a catechetical ministry organized by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, engages catechists who serve in the African-American Catholic community. Its emphasis is to inspire and encourage catechists to factor culture – both black and Catholic – and its deep roots into their catechetical planning and implementation. Highlighted by the Catholic Review.


Program Overview: African American Ministry professional certificate program

The Certificate Program in African American Ministry is  suitable for those with some theological background as well as lay people interested in learning more about the African American church. It is designed to recognize the importance of African American cultural relevance in the church. The program is not currently accepting new students as it moves to an online platform, but check back soon.


Program Overview: An undergraduate program leading to a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry to African-American Catholics

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, in cooperation with the Office for Black Catholics, Secretariat for Catholic Life and Formation, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, offers an undergraduate certificate program especially designed for those engaged in and/or preparing for involvement in pastoral service to parish communities of largely African-American Catholic membership. The program is also open to all interested persons, regardless of religious or ethnic background.

Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership

Program Overview: Degree programs at the Masters and DMin level and continuing education events

The Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership is committed to developing and supporting pastoral leaders, men and women of all races and backgrounds, for the African American Christian community within the context of the universal Christian mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Sankofa Institute provides opportunities for intellectual, professional, and inspirational development through classes, lectures, symposia, worship, leadership workshops, internships and practical field education, as well as social outreach and cultural celebrations. Check the website for interdisciplinary categories.


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