In What We Have Seen Heard: A Pastoral Letter on Evangelization, the Black Bishops of the United States write, “There is a richness to Black experience that we must share with the entire People of God. These are gifts that are part of an African past. For we have heard with Black ears and we have seen with black eyes and we have understood with an African heart. We thank God for the gifts of our Catholic faith and we give thanks for the gifts of our Blackness. In all humility we turn to the whole Church that it might share our gifts so that “our joy may be complete.”
Black Catholics bring to the Church a spirituality that is contemplative, holistic, joyful and communitarian. There is a wide variety in a community which includes all people of Black heritage: i.e., African American, African and Afro-Caribbean. Black Catholics have coined the phrase, “truly black and authentically Catholic” which represents a serious search for meaning and validation in the face of evils such as racism, but also unwavering and steadfast faith in the midst of struggle. (Excerpt from the 2014 Archdiocese of Milwaukee Synod Background Paper on Cultural Diversity)
Black Catholic Ministry Commission
The Black Catholic Ministry Commission (BCMC, the Commission) of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is a representative body composed of laity, religious and clergy dedicated to fostering the spiritual, educational, economic and cultural lives of persons of African descent in the archdiocese, reaching out to Catholics and non-Catholics, those who are active in the church as well as the un-churched. The Commission works in collaboration with the Director for Intercultural Ministries for the archdiocese to articulate the mission, clarify the vision, develop and implement plans to address the needs and hopes of Black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and advance the implementation of the National Black Catholic Pastoral Plan as it applies to our local reality.
The BCMC is represented in the Steering Committee currently working on the development of a Pastoral Plan for Black Catholic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Click here to view the membership of the Black Catholic Ministry Commission.
Guided by the archdiocesan mission, To Proclaim Christ and Make Disciples through the Sacramental Life of the Church, the BCMC cooperates with parish and archdiocesan leadership bodies, with archdiocesan offices and agencies, to carry out its work. The Commission coordinates a number of annual events such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Prayer Service and contributes to the formation of archdiocesan goals and policies on behalf of the Black community, monitoring and implementing strategies to address these principles in accordance with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, its goals and objectives. In furtherance of these goals, the Commission has developed or is developing a number of committees.
Black Catholic Ministry Commission Committees
Brother Booker Ashe Lay Leadership Program
The mission of the Brother Booker Ashe Lay Leadership Program (BBALP), is to provide activities and programming that focus on the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, to promote the development of lay leaders in the ministry of life-long catholic faith formation and to ensure that events and programs will emphasize the contributions of Black Catholics within the history and traditions of the Catholic Church and Holy Scriptures.
African Catholic Ministry Committee
The mission of the African Catholic Ministry Committee is to provide a vehicle for nurturing and sustaining the pastoral, spiritual and sacramental needs of the African Catholic Community in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The Committee facilitates engagement in local parish communities that foster leadership development and increases active sharing gifts of faith, culture and skills. We promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding of African Heritage and spirituality, we serve as a resource to connect newly-arrived African Catholics with their communities of origin in their area or neighborhoods and/or help them find a parish home. We provide recourses to support faith building programs including but not limited to retreats; liturgical and cultural faith immersion celebrations.
Martin Luther King Prayer Service
Dr. King was a man of God who allowed scripture to guide him and motivate him. The prayer service is a way to experience his message and re-dedicate ourselves to the causes of Dr. King stood for and gave his life for. The service engages and challenges attendees to look within and access how are you living God’s call for you? How are you being Christ-like in your homes, in your communities, in your churches, in the world? The prayer service offers one of the many and varied ways of sharing Black Spirituality through spiritual music, sacred movement and scripture; shared with the greater community and offered as an expression of faith and love of God and the Church. Archbishop Listecki has been active participant at all of our services, since his arrival to this Archdiocese.