(June 1, 2007)
Two thousand participants will gather in Buffalo July 12-15 for the National Black Catholic Congress X. The theme is "Christ is with Us: Celebrating the Gifts of the Sacraments." Hosted by the Diocese of Buffalo's Office of Black Ministry, the Congress will be held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202).
"The vision for Congress X is to help Black Catholics to articulate how the sacraments and the sacramental life, something that is central to our faith because they are gifts from Christ, are connected to our contribution to the Church and the world through our Core Principles," said Valerie Washington, executive director of the NBCC. Those principles were approved at the last Congress, held in 2002 in Chicago. The principles are statements of eight issues of importance to the African American community, including parish life, youth and young adults, Catholic education, social justice, racism, Africa and HIV/AIDS.
Washington added, "We hope that participants will leave the Congress with a renewed appreciation of the sacramental life, and foster this goal among their brothers and sisters. This will enable our parishes, diocesan groups and organizations to make connections appropriate to their local implementation of the Core Principles."
Preparing to welcome the participants, Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, bishop of Buffalo, said, "This is a historic gathering in our diocese. It will be a privilege to host so many African American Catholics who play such an important role in helping many of our local parishes to grow into wonderful centers where the Catholic faith is lived out with inspirational devotion and enthusiasm."
The keynote address will be delivered Friday, July 13 by Archbishop John Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Atlanta and former president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will preside at the closing liturgy on July 15.
Participants from all 50 states are scheduled to attend the Congress.
Black Catholics were the first to hold a National Lay Catholic Congress in the United States in 1889. The Congress offers opportunities for Black Catholics to speak for themselves on the issues of evangelization, spirituality, education and the plight of Black Americans.
For more information, please contact Kevin Keenan, (716) 847.8719 or go to www.nbccongress.org.