Catholics of African descent meet to empower, equip, evangelize

August 20, 2013

HOUSTON — On Saturday morning, Aug. 10, 133 Catholics of African descent from 17 parishes from across the Archdiocese gathered for a “Day of Reflection” in prayer, praise and fellowship at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the historic third ward of Houston to address the critical issues facing their faith communities. 

The theme was “Faith Engaged: Empower. Equip. Evangelize.” This revisits the theme which brought about 2,500 Catholics from all over the United States and beyond to Indianapolis, Ind., in July 2012, for National Black Catholic Congress XI, the 11th national assembly of Catholics of African descent. 

One outcome of the meeting was a Pastoral Plan of Action created to inspire and guide Black Catholics in ministry and action over the next five years. 

Through prayer, discussion and feedback, 10 areas of action were identified to better empower, equip, and evangelize Catholics of African descent. 

The 10 areas of concentration were Holiness of Life; Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Walking with the Saints; Engaged in Parish Life and Evangelization; Faith Informed; Schools Too Valuable to Sell; Reaching Out to the Next Generations; Vocations-Every Catholic’s Priority; Getting Married and Staying Married and The Social Apostolate. 

The mission bestowed on each diocesan’s Congress Core team was to return to their respective dioceses and design and implement a plan of action (with the assistance of their faithful) that met the needs of their dioceses and report those findings to the National Office. 

Here in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston the Day of Reflection focused on the areas of Engaged in Parish Life and Evangelization; Reaching Out to the Next Generations; Religious Life and marriage: Vocations of Love to Christ and His Church; and Walking with the Saints.

The day began with a welcome and remarks from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo followed by morning prayer and presentations from the aforementioned areas that filled the sanctuary and parish center of St. Nicholas. 

Evelyn Wagner-Wright, member of the Congress XI Core team and parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi, stated, “The Day of Reflection was perfectly timed and participants departed wanting to know more and to do more. There was a desire for more evangelization, beginning with our inactive Catholics, with the main question, ‘How do we bring them home?’ The people were especially delighted that Cardinal DiNardo was present to support the goals that we set in 2012.”