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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
“Keep on Teaching,” a catechetical ministry established 21 years ago in 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.
Program Overview: M.A.A.C. Certificate Program
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.
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.
Program Overview: INSTITUTE FOR BLACK CATHOLIC STUDIES
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. http://www.xula.edu/ibcs/index.php#
The Certificate Program in African American Ministry is a two-semester program 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 and will draw upon national speakers and academics noteworthy in each of the topic areas.
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