NBCC News and Information | March 2017
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The National Black Catholic Congress

March 2017 News and Updates
Join us for Congress XII

The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: act justly, love goodness,
and walk humbly with your God.

- Luke 4:18; Micah 6:8

July 6-9, 2017 | Hyatt Regency Orlando Hotel

Registration and Hyatt Reservations NOW OPEN

Early Bird Registration Ends April 7! Register now for lower rate.
Register Here
The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me:
act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.
The focus of Congress XII on justice, love and walking humbly with God, challenges us to be true evangelizers.  We are called to acknowledge the modern world’s rejection of human beings, and we are encouraged to speak out in meaningful ways as people dedicated to the Gospel.  “Our concern for social justice, moreover, goes beyond denouncing injustice in the world around us.  It brings us to the examination of our own hearts and intentions.” (What We Have Seen and Heard, p. 33).  Let us pay close attention to those in need, let us respond with love and then, perhaps, we can walk humbly with our God. The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.” If we truly value our Catholicity, what will we do? How will we respond to this modern world around us? It is clear that we must do something. Read more...
Join bishops, priests, and your fellow Catholic lay men and women
as we listen to dynamic speakers and presenters, and explore strategies for deepening our faith, and evangelizing our brothers and sisters who do not belong to the fold. There will be workshops, and opportunities for individual prayer and sharing your faith with others from all parts of the country.

Congress Registration Fees

Adult Early Registration . . . $350.00
Adult Registration . . . . . . . .$375.00
Youth Grp. Discount Reg.. .$195.00
(Ages 14-17, groups of 15+ youths)
Early Youth Registration . . .$225.00
(Ages 14-17, individual registrations or groups of 14 or less)
Youth Registration . . . . . . . $250.00

Early Registration
Cut-Off Date is
April 7, 2017

Register now to receive the lower rates!

Hotel Fees

NBCC Room Rate . . . . . . . $138.50
Per day, includes taxes & fees

Registration includes:
Continental breakfasts; a reception on Thursday; lunch and a reception on Friday; admission to all General Sessions ​at the four-day conference, including inspirational messages from much sought-after speakers; workshops and activities presented by leading experts in their fields of study; and much more!

The NBCC has received many inquiries about the ages of youth permitted to attend the Youth Track at Congress XII. We will firmly enforce our stated policy that Youth Track attendees be between the ages of 14 to 17. Younger children will not be issued badges and will not be permitted in the youth program areas. Badges must be worn to access all Congress XII sites, including the Gospel Concert and transportation to the opening mass at the Basilica of Mary, Queen of the Universe. This mass is open to the public; therefore, unbadged individuals may attend if they provide their own transportation to and from the Basilica.
Click the image below to download flier.
Click the image below to download the first page of the Schedule-at-a-Glance.
Click the image below to download the second page of the Schedule-at-a-Glance.
Click the image below to download an advertisement order form.
Click the image below to download an Exhibitor's Registration form.
Advertise in the Congress XII Program Book
Complete the form above and return by mail, fax or email to:
The National Black Catholic Congress
320 Cathedral St., Balt., MD 21201
Fax: 410-752-3958
Exhibit at Congress XII
Do you have items to sell or materials that you would like to distribute to Black Catholics? Complete the form above and return to the NBCC office at the mailing address, fax, or email address at left.


Pope Francis names Rev. Roy Campbell, Jr. Auxiliary Bishop of Washington

Bishop-elect Roy E. Campbell, Jr., was born on November 19, 1947 to Roy Edward Campbell, Sr. and Julia Ann (Chesley) Campbell, and has been a life-long member of the Archdiocese of Washington. He was baptized at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Indian Head, MD, received his First Holy Communion in 1956 at Saint Cyprian Church in Southeast Washington and the Sacrament of Confirmation in 1959 at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church in Northwest Washington. Read more...

Meatless Friday for Catholics in Lent called off for St. Patrick's Day

About once every decade or so, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during Lent, as it does in 2017. In such years, devoted Roman Catholics are faced with a March 17th conundrum: The Lenten rule requiring them to abstain from meat on Fridays collides with the ancient practice of eating corned beef and cabbage in honor of the Irish patron saint who ministered Christianity in the 5th century.

What's a good Catholic to do? Relax, says New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond. Along with numerous other bishops in the United States, Aymond has granted dispensation to local Catholics who want to indulge in the salty, stringy red meat this Friday and maintain their Lenten commitment.

In a statement sent out to priests in the archdiocese, Aymond decreed: "If a Catholic residing in the Archdiocese of New Orleans wishes to participate in St. Patrick's Day activities and desires to eat meat, they may be dispensed and choose another day of the week for abstinence or may choose to perform an act of penance that is a greater sacrifice." Read more...

Cooking up compassion

From delicious recipes to “hunger banquets,” Operation Rice Bowl takes Catholics into the heart of Lent

By Marialisa Calta


Cathy Voxland, an avid home cook from Newnan, Georgia, knows how to whip up a chicken and mushroom casserole for a church luncheon or put on a spread of “gooey desserts.” But during Lent, Voxland presides weekly over a kitchen of volunteers at St. George Parish, making dishes like a collard green, tomato, and peanut stew from Angola, sour soup from Cambodia, and lentil dishes from Pakistan. Her inspiration? Operation Rice Bowl (ORB), a Lenten program established by Catholic Relief Services.

“The theme of Operation Rice Bowl is ‘pray, fast, learn,’ says Steve Swope, a deacon at St. George, which he describes as a working class parish of some 700 families southwest of Atlanta. “We pray for those who are hungry, we eat a spare meal such as people in a developing country might eat, and we learn about their circumstances,” he says. They also donate; the parish raised $7,000 last year. It is a recipe, he says, for both a visceral and spiritual understanding of people’s suffering.

On Friday nights during Lent, Voxland and seven other volunteers get together to prepare the ORB recipes. Parishioners gather to eat and to talk about hunger in faraway places as well as hunger close by. Portions are small. There is no salt and pepper on the table. Beverages are limited to water and coffee. “The food is always satisfying and tasty,” says Voxland. But, she says, the ORB message comes through when “we stop to think that we eat three times a day — at least! — and this may be a person’s only meal. Plus, they may eat the same thing every day. We realize how blessed we are to have access to food, clean water. It’s humbling.”

Operation Rice Bowl began in 1975 with an ecumenical group of religious leaders in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who were responding to a drought in Africa, according to program adviser (and Deacon Swope’s daughter) Jennifer Swope. A year later, the program fell under the aegis of the Baltimore based Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Now, Swope estimates, some 13,500 faith communities around the nation participate in Operation Rice Bowl every year to help those in need in their own community and around the world. The program combines fasting, praying, learning, and giving concrete assistance to those who are hungry. Last year, she says, participants raised about $8 million, 75 percent of which went to relief efforts overseas. The remainder was designated for domestic relief.

The mission of Catholic Relief Services is to alleviate human suffering, foster justice and charity, and enhance the development of people all over the world. Swope says the group works in five main areas: agriculture, microfinance, health, education, and HIV/AIDS. Money raised by the relief agency through Operation Rice Bowl and other efforts are used to target problems in these areas.

But Operation Rice Bowl is not just a fund-raising program, Swope stresses. “It’s about praying and learning,” she says. “It’s about understanding the challenges that face people in developing countries, or in our own backyard.”

Different faith communities use Operation Rice Bowl in different ways. At St. Matthew’s Parish in Baltimore, for example, Father Joseph Muth says that on the Sunday before Lent, the paper donation boxes — folded, origamistyle, to look like rice bowls — will be lined up on the altar rail. The congregation will dedicate prayers to the hungry, and then those who wish to may take a rice bowl home, he says. At the end of Lent, the rice bowls are returned, with donations for Catholic Relief Services. Some participants might give up a specific food or amusement and put the money in the paper rice bowl; others may simply donate. On Holy Thursday, the parish will hold a simple meal featuring meatless recipes from around the world, courtesy of Operation Rice Bowl.

“It’s a wonderful way to acknowledge our connection to the rest of the world,” says Muth. Not that that is difficult for his parish, in which the 812 member families represent 42 different countries. “It’s a concrete tool for the kids, a statement about the interconnection of learning, praying, and sacrificing.” Read more...

Celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage!

Sunday, March 26, 2017 is Black Marriage Day. We invite your parish to include the Sacrament of Marriage as a focus for the homily that day. The scriptural themes of light and darkness, sight and blindness are opportunities to illuminate the role that Sacramental Marriage can play in the community. God is more evident through the powerful witness of the blessings and burdens, the grit and grace of committed vocational marriage. Our vision of family life is clearer and our awareness of God’s presence in family even more evident through the daily sacrifice of committed, self-giving, healthy marital unions in our midst.
Black Marriage Day is an opportunity to recognize the marriages in your parish and community. Perhaps a brief reflection by a married couple would be beneficial at Mass that weekend. Or invite all married couples to stand and receive a public blessing by their fellow parishioners. Should there be a couple preparing for marriage in the parish, perhaps this is an opportunity to introduce them the parishioners. Ideas are boundless!


We Have Been called: Wisdom from Black Catholic History
This presentation by Paula Manchester brings the key figures and events of our Black Catholic History to life. Listen in to this engaging and educational session and be moved by the rich wisdom of our elders. If you are hungry for an uplifting talk and a reason to be hopeful in 2017, tune in!


The Mass or Liturgy is the central act of divine worship in the Catholic Church. [1] The term "Mass" is derived from the Late Latin word missa (dismissal), a word used in the concluding formula of Mass in Latin: "Ite, missa est" ("Go; it is the dismissal"). [2] "In antiquity, missa simply meant 'dismissal'. In Christian usage, however, it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word 'dismissal' has come to imply a 'mission'. These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the Church" [3]  Read more...

Want to know what Congress is all about? This video of Congress XI from 2012 will give you a glimpse into the infectious joy of celebrating our Black heritage.
Bishop's Vestments:


A mitre is a distinctive hat worn by a bishop.
For more information about the different apparel worn by bishops, go to:

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