The goal of the Black Catholic Initiative (BCI) is to come together and work together to give and serve our church and thereby our community. Building on what has served African American Catholics in the past, together we will prepare the Church for the next generation of Black Catholics.
The Black Catholic Initiative charges African American Catholics to be fully present and accountable to the mission of Jesus in our neighborhoods. African American Catholics are challenged to give their unique gift of blackness as called for by God in the beginning, urged by Pope Paul VI in Uganda in 1969, reiterated by the Black Bishops of the United States in 1984, and no doubt repeated by numerous active baptized Catholics for many years.
This initiative of faith will not be a gift from the Church to the people; it will be the gift of the people to the Church. Those who are part of this ethnic ministry will take the initiative to make our work a gift to the local Church of Chicago. We will practice kujichagulia, ujamaa and umoja (self-determination, collective work and responsibility and unity) to first give honor to God and to offer our Catholicity to the whole Church.
We will work with the Archbishop, not seeking employment, but striving to share in the pastoral responsibilities entrusted to all the baptized faithful. We will stand to give, not beg to receive. We will serve the poor, not be the poor. We will be one Church, not many parishes.
In this tried and true tradition, we will plainly and clearly be Catholic.