African American (Black) and African Catholics
The Office of Cultural Diversity was established in 2015 to accompany, serve, proclaim the Gospel among our diverse communities, and through pastoral accompaniment and service, bring them to a full and enthusiastic participation in the life and mission of the Church, strengthening the unity of one Body of Christ.
The former archdiocesan Office of Black Catholics, established in September 1974, is now part of the Office of Cultural Diversity and Outreach. It listens to the needs and concerns expressed by Black Catholics and answers and/or assists the Archdiocese in its responses. It provides and develops resources for education; participates in archdiocesan planning and decision-making; and implements and/or assists with relevant programs.
The office is expanding its outreach to the numerous African communities in the Archdiocese of Washington by maintaining contact with local and national groups with similar purposes and goals. The Office of Cultural Diversity and Outreach Program Director is active with The National Black Catholic Congress and The National Association of Black Catholic Administrators.
The Office of Cultural Diversity has responsibility for the following:
- Archdiocese of Washington Mass Choir with members representing 15 parishes. Goal: evangelization through liturgical and sacred music and service to parishes and the larger community
- Racial, ethnic, cultural sensitivity and awareness seminars, materials and workshops
- Lists of black Catholic resources within the Archdiocese of Washington to serve the parish and the Archdiocese
- Training and encouragement for potential and current African American Catholic parish leaders; and other parish leaders preparing for work in our parishes
To follow more events from the Office of Cultural Diversity and Outreach, see below.
Black/African American Catholic Resources
Black Catholic History Month
On July 24, 1990, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month to celebrate the long history and proud heritage of Black Catholics. Two commemorative dates fall within this month, Saint Augustine’s Birthday (November 13) and Saint Martin de Porres’ Feast Day (November 3). More importantly, November not only marks a time when we pray for all saints and souls in loving remembrance, but also a time to recall the saints and souls of Africa and the African Diaspora. Read more.
Blacks in Catholic History Month Moments Book
Blacks in Catholic Christianity have a long and vibrant history. Much of that history is generally unknown to Black Catholics as well as to the rest of the faithful. On July 24, 1990, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month to celebrate this long history and proud heritage of Black Catholics. During this month we celebrate the presence of our ancestors who kept the faith and are models of living the Gospel life.
About the book:
This booklet presents a glimpse of some of the Black Catholic Christians of our past and present. It celebrates the accomplishments of Black Catholics throughout the history of the Church with daily Blacks in Catholic History ‘Moments.’
Click here to order a copy from the Office of Cultural Diversity.
African American Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington: O, Write My Name
By Dr. Loretta M. Butler and Mrs. Jacqueline E. Wilson
Explore the story of African American Catholics from the landing of Fr. Andrew White, S.J., and his crew in 1634 to the 1990’s. We write the names and hear some of the voices of African American Catholics. The researched narrative “proposes to affirm the ideals of the universality of the Catholic Church and increase the understanding of the struggles of African American Catholics who remain, reclaim, and proclaim their rights and responsibilities as full members of the Church.”
Music in Liturgy
Music has always been a part of the worship life of the faithful. The African American Catholic voice is lifted up in praise and worship every time we gather at the liturgy. The exuberant and participatory expression of Gospel music you find in African American parishes is a wonderful example of the “New Evangelization” which the church has embraced. This video produced by the Office of Black Catholics and the Office of Multimedia celebrates the diversity of worship practices and spiritualities, which are the strength of our church. This Music in Liturgy video touches on how we are “Truly Black and Authentically Catholic” Order your copy today by Fax or mail using the order form below.”