There are 3 million African American Catholics in the United States.

Of Roman Catholic parishes in the United States, 798 are considered to be predominantly African American. Most of those continue to be on the East Coast and in the South. Further west of the Mississippi River, African American Catholics are more likely to be immersed in multicultural parishes as opposed to predominantly African American parishes.

Dioceses with significant number of African Americans include, in descending order, include:

  • Brooklyn, NY
  • New York City, NY
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Miami, FL
  • Detroit, MI
  • Galveston-Houston, TX
  • Washington DC
  • Orlando, FL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • San Bernardino, CA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Baltimore, MD

About 76% of African American Catholics are in diverse or shared parishes and 24% are in predominately African American parishes.

At present there are 5 living African American bishops, of who remain active.

Currently, two U.S. dioceses are headed by African American bishops, including one archdiocese.

There are 250 African American priests, 437 deacons, and 75 men of African descent in seminary formation for the priesthood in the United States.

There are 400 African American religious sisters and 50 religious brothers.

The African American or Black population in the United States is estimated to be just over 41 million people (12.9% of the total U.S. population and 3% self identify as Hispanic or Latino).

By the year 2050, the African American or Black population is expected to almost double its present size to 62 million, and it will increase its percentage of the population to 16%.

Sources: www.uspapalvisit.org/backgrounders/african_american.htm
The Catholic Church: By the Numbers, USCCB Office of Media Relations (2012)
CARA Report, Black Catholics in the United States (Aug. 2019)
Updated: Jan. 2020  

Predominantly African American Parishes

Good news! For travelers, students, military families and persons relocating for employment, there is no need to skip Mass. Likewise, African American Catholics who wish to grow in faith with other African American Catholics need not despair of finding a "Church Home” in the Catholic Christian tradition. What follows is a compilation of Catholic parishes that are predominantly African American Catholics. (read more)

African American Bishops currently active

Most Reverend Eminence Wilton Cardinal Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, DC

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington

Education
M.Div., St. Mary of the Lake Seminary (Mundelein, IL), 1973.
S.T.L., St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein, IL), 1974.
S.L.D., Pontifical Liturgical Institute, 1980.

Honorary Degrees
Wilton Gregory holds honorary doctorates from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Xavier University in Cincinnati, McKendree University, Lewis University, Fontbonne University, Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and Boston College in 2018.  He was awarded The Great Preacher Award from the Aquinas Institute of Theology in 2002.  In 2006 he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College.

Biography
Wilton Gregory was born on Dec. 7, 1947 in Chicago, IL. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973.  On Dec. 13, 1983 he was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He was appointed bishop of Belleville in 1993. He served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2001-2004. In 2004 he was appointed archbishop of Atlanta. Since 2019 he has been archbishop of Washington, DC. In 2020 Pope Francis elevated Wilton Gregory to the rank of cardinal.

Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop of Houma-Thiodaux

Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux

Education
B.A., St. Joseph Seminary, 1985
M.A., Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), 1989

Biography
Shelton J. Fabre was born Oct. 25, 1963 in New Roads, LA. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Baton Rouge on Aug. 5, 1989. In 2006 he was appointed auxiliary bishop of New Orleans. In 2013 he was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.

Most Reverend Jerome Feudjio, Bishop of St. Thomas

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Education
C.A.P.
  St. John's College (Mbanga, Cameroon) 1972
B.A. Oblate College (Washington, DC)
M.A. Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, IL)

Biography
Jerome Feudjio was born on September 30, 1955 in Dschang, Cameroon.  He attended St. John's College in Mbanga where he earned a degree in Business Accounting.  In 1980 he came to the United States where he entered the Catholic seminary at Oblate College and led a weekly ministry with Haitians and other French-speaking Catholics in Washington, DC.  He then joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and made his religious profession in 1987.  He later developed a pastoral interest in the re-education of juvenile delinquents and enrolled in a graduate program in the Administration of Justice at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.  On September 29, 1990, he was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Saint Thomas.  In addition to parish ministry, he served in various diocesan leadership positions including Director of Vocations, Vicar for Clergy, and Vicar General.  On April 17, 2021, he was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Most Reverend Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago

Education
B.A.
, St. Joseph College (Rensselaer, IN), 1971
M.Div., St. Francis Seminary (Milwaukee), 1975.
J.C.L., Catholic Univ. of America (Washington), 1981.

Biography
Joseph Perry was born on Apr. 18, 1948 in Chicago, IL. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on on May 24, 1975.  On June 29, 1998 he was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is chairman of the USCCB Committee on African American Catholics.

 

Most Reverend Fernand Cheri III, OFM, Auxiliary bishop of New Orleans

A paschal candle from 2015.

Education
B.A. St. Joseph Seminary College, (Covington, LA)
M.Div. Notre Dame Seminary (New Orleans, LA)
M.Th. Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)

Biography
Fernand Cheri was born on January 28, 1952 in New Orleans, LA.  He began his seminary education in high school at St. John Vianney Preparatory Seminary.  After completing college seminary and major seminary, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans by Archbishop Philip Hannan on May 20, 1978.  He served as parochial vicar and pastor of several parishes.  In 1992 he entered the novitiate of the Sacred Heart Province of the Order of Friars Minor and professed solemn vows on August 26, 1996.  As a Franciscan he taught high school in East St. Louis, IL and later worked in campus ministry at Xavier University of Louisiana and Quincy University in Illinois.  He was consecrated auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans on March 23, 2015.

Most Reverend Roy E. Campbell, Jr., Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, DC

Auxiliary Bishop Roy Campbell of Washington

Education
B.S. Howard University (Washington, DC)
M.S. University of Virginia (Richmond, VA)
M.Div. Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary (Weston, MA)

Biography
Roy E. Campbell, Jr., was born on November 19, 1947.  After a career in banking he was ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2007, and an auxiliary bishop in 2017.