New Bedford parishioners attend Black Catholic Congress

ORLANDO, Fla. — Members of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in New Bedford joined more than 2,000 participants from across the country who gathered in Orlando, Fla. earlier this month for the 12th National Black Catholic Congress, exploring themes of racism and reconciliation, and hearing speakers who stressed the importance of being active to work for change.

The congress drew its theme from the prophet Micah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me: act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.”

The National Black Catholic Congress, which is held every five years, stems from an 1889 meeting between President Grover Cleveland and a group of nearly 100 black Catholic men. The gathering was organized by journalist Daniel Rudd.

The 12th congress comes at a time of continuing unrest and racial tension in many parts of the country, ignited in 2014 with the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

In his keynote address, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana addressed themes of unity and reconciliation. “When Pope Francis speaks, he doesn’t speak to nations, races and tribes. He speaks to humanity, invited to be disciples of Jesus,” the cardinal said. 

“There is no Gospel for Africans. There is no Gospel for Americans. There is no Gospel for Italians or Europeans. There is one Gospel for all of us, created in the image and likeness of God.” 

None of God’s children should be marginalized or excluded, said Cardinal Turkson, who is the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Submitted by Father Sudhir Nayak, SS.CC., with contributions from CNA News.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts