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Connecting with Black Catholics

After months of preparation, I finally made it to the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) in Washington, D.C.

The NBCC is held every five years in different states throughout the U.S. The purpose of the congress is to bring together Black Catholics to fellowship and learn from one another. Members of congress work together to develop a Pastoral Plan for Black Catholics over the next five years.

My Congress Experience

This year’s event was my third time attending the NBCC. I enjoyed my previous experiences and looked forward to the one this year.

Unfortunately, the weekend got off to a rocky start. I was unable to get to the Congress as early as I wanted to due to flight delays. I ended up arriving a day later than expected, which caused me to miss some of the early events. It was one of God’s reminders that we are not in control of everything and that we have to take our worries to Him in times of uncertainty.

My favorite moments from the congress were Mass at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with Cardinal Wilton Gregory. Before moving to D.C., Cardinal Gregory was the Archbishop of Atlanta for 14 years. It was great to see him in person and hear one of his homilies again.

After Mass, we went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture for heavy hors d’oeuvres, live music and fellowship with Congress attendees. It was great to meet new people and experience the museum in a different atmosphere.

While I enjoyed meeting people and the various sessions I attended, I realized that I wasn’t the same person who attended the congresses in the past. After my church hurt experience and healing journey, I realized that the congress is not the best Catholic space for me going forward.

This doesn’t mean the congress was a bad experience. It just means I need to take the time to find the Catholic spaces that best fit who I am today.

As we grow and change throughout life, we sometimes outgrow people and spaces that feel very familiar to us. And as we grieve what was lost, we must also remember that God is creating space in our lives for something new. As we experience seasons of change, may we be open to the blessings God is giving us.

Spiritual Reflection

  1. Think of something you used to dislike that you enjoy now. How has this change impacted your life?
  2. Reflect on a time when you moved into a new season of your life. What lessons did you take with you?
  3. How has God helped you move into a new season of life?

Read my story in The Georgia Bulletin on the Atlanta experience of the National Black Catholic Congress.

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