It gives me great joy to welcome you to the Subcommittee on African American Affairs webpage. As Chairman of the Subcommittee, I am honored to serve you along with the members of the Subcommittee concerning the important needs for our people of African descent, through the five priorities of the USCCB Conference and the many other kinds of events and celebrations throughout the year in the Church. The Church in our Black Catholic communities is indeed, alive!
Our Subcommittee on African American Affairs is comprised of bishops from various regions in the United States with a significant population of African American Catholics.
Joining the Subcommittee are two lay consultants who represent their organizations and bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise.
The mandate of the Subcommittee is to represent the voice of the African American Catholic community to the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.
This year, the Subcommittee decided its agenda will revolve around the broad issue of the New Evangelization with a major emphasis on identifying new and maintaining current leadership, promoting leadership development, and reaching out to younger Catholics. The subcommittee also restated its concern of finding ways to support pro-life and other major life issues in our Black communities, as well as sustaining Catholic education.
The heart of our ministry is the parish. It is there that our evangelization efforts are to be focused on the family, concerning today’s contemporary issues along with their present opportunities and challenges.
We are in need and encourage everyone’s participation, especially our youth and young adults who are the current and future leaders of the Church.
This year we are so pleased see some of our holy ancestors whose causes are being presented for beatification or canonization.
Let us unite our prayers with Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, OSP, Venerable Henriette DeLille, and Father Augustine Tolton, whose first cause we are privileged to celebrate this year. May our future include the experience of seeing many more from our Black Catholic community recognized and honored.
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI stated in his homily at Nationals Park that, “Two hundred years later, the church in America can rightfully praise the accomplishment of past generations in bringing together widely differing immigrant groups within the unity of the Catholic faith and in a common commitment to the spread of the Gospel.”
“At the same time, conscious of its rich diversity, the Catholic Community in this country has come to appreciate ever more fully the importance of each individual and group offering its own particular gifts to the whole.”
While our ancestors came not as immigrants, but slaves in chains, we are a grateful people for the many gifts and talents that God has bestowed upon us, and we humbly continue to offer them to the Catholic Church in America.
Let us always remember that, “His Mercy Endures.”
May God bless you and keep you and Our Lady of Rose Mystica protect you in the mantle of loving care.
Most Reverend Martin D. Holley,
Chairman, Subcommittee on African American Affairs