In the midst of the many national conversations about race and freedom now taking place in the public square, it is valuable to note one opportunity for continued conversations about diversity within the Catholic Church. November marks Black Catholic History Month, which was founded by the National Black Catholic Congress in 1990. The month was chosen because it includes both the birthday of St. Augustine (Nov. 13) and feast day of St. Martin de Porres (Nov. 3), and it is dedicated to celebrating “the long history and proud heritage of Black Catholics.”
National Black Catholic History Month serves as a reminder of something we should keep in mind throughout the year: at its best, ours is a diverse and welcoming church, and there is much to be learned from one another, if only we would make the effort:
Celebrate the witness of Sr. Thea Bowman a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, a scholar and public speaker “who inspired millions with her singing and message of God’s love for all races and faiths.”
Consider the history of Black theology and the legacy of oppression in an essay by M. Shawn Copeland, professor of systematic theology at Boston College.
See the world through the eyes of one young, black, Catholic women, who refuses to let the world define her. And then through the eyes of her mother, who offers support for her daughter’s faith experience and is challenged by it.
Accompany Cora Marie Billings, R.S.M., as she describes the joys and challenges of being a part of a church that once owned her great-grandfather as a slave.
Challenge our educational institutions to do more to undo the harms of racism.
Imagine a church that truly reflects the diversity of its people with Bishop Edward K. Braxton.
How else might our church celebrate this month and the diversity that exists within the kingdom of God?