The members of the National Association of Black Catholic Administrators (NABCA) met in Pittsburgh, PA for its annual meeting to discuss the issues, needs and concerns of black Catholics around the nation.
The opening prayer set the tone of the meeting by drawing from the five priorities adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which embrace the life and dignity of the human person. The organization prayed for the elimination of the death penalty in response to the recent execution of Troy Davis in Georgia.
Participants asked directors to evaluate their mission statements to make certain that they were in concert with the Five Priorities. By understanding the priorities of the United States Bishops, each office is better capable of providing the people within their (arch)diocese greater direction and more applicable action plans.
“It is a ‘thread’ in all of our offices, indeed the sharing the faith is emphasized at every level of ministry to the African-American community as a part of our responsibilities,” said Margareta Tucker from the Pittsburgh diocese.
At the three-day meeting, which took place September 21 – 24, Deacon Arthur Miller, the current president of NABCA, addressed the unique history of African-American Catholics, describing it as an extraordinary culture.
“The rich faith of Black Catholics was formed by our forbearers who endured the degradation of slavery and the barbaric hatred of racism. Our deep and profound faith kept Black Catholics, Catholic.
Our faith has been tested as well as our belief in one universal Catholic Church and it has not been found wanting. The Catholic Church needs us to be us, simply because of our unique witness of faith for the church,” said Miller.
Also discussed was the need for specific planning for Congress XI, which will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana in mid July 2012. NABCA has voted unanimously to embark on a strategic planning process, which will address the ongoing fluidity of the people ministered to and how they can most readily have their needs addressed.
In addition, time was taken to reach out to the black Catholic community of Pittsburgh. One of the many comments made by one who attended the Mass at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church and witnessed the work of NABCA members cleaning up a local church was, “I thought I’d never see so many black Catholic priests and sisters and deacons at one place, ‘wow!’