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 predominating white parishes and 24% are in predominately African American parishes. Many others are in diverse or multicultural perishes, through often not in the majority. At present there are 12 living African American Bishops, including one Cardinal and one Archbishop. Also, there are 5 retired bishops. Currently, 4 U.S. dioceses are headed by African American bishops.

According to our most recent data, 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) many also identify as Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino or Haitian. 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 U.S. population to 16%.

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. Notify the Subcommittee of updates to this list via email to: @email. (read more

African American Bishops currently active

Most Reverend Eminence Wilton Cardinal Gregory, Archbishop of Washington

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington

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.

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, Archbishop of Louisville

Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux

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

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. In 2022, he was appointed archbishop of Louisville.

Most Reverend Jerome Feudjio, Bishop of St. Thomas