Catholic Congress Aims to Promote Evangelization of Blacks

CHICAGO, SEPT. 1, 2002 ( Participants at the National Black Catholic Congress were aiming to establish an agenda for the evangelization of black Americans.

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This four-day congress was ending today. Its theme was “Black Catholic Leadership in the 21st Century: Solidarity Action.”

Among the speakers was Bishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle of Koforidua, Ghana, who asked American blacks to engage in a show of solidarity by helping Africa overcome its problems.

Conferees focused on topics such as the development of spirituality, education, youth, parish life, social justice, racism, Africa and AIDS.

According to the U.S. bishops’ conference, 3.2 million, or 5%, of the country’s Catholics are Afro-American. There are 11 black prelates, including conference president Bishop Wilton Gregory.

The congress chose Sudanese slave Josephine Bakhita as its patroness. Bakhita, who became a nun, was canonized in 2000.

The U.S. bishops have centered the devotion of the black faithful in a chapel dedicated to Mary Mother of Africa in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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