Those looking forward to the next gathering of the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) will have to wait an extra year due to the ongoing pandemic, the organization has announced.

On March 23rd, the organization released a letter from NBCC president Bishop Roy E. Campbell, dated for five days prior.

The message detailed that a meeting with the country's Black bishops (who have operated as something of a unit since they reached notable numbers in the 1970s and 80s) played a part in the decision.

"...it has been decided that the National Black Catholic Congress 13, originally scheduled for 2022, should be postponed to 2023.

This decision was made to ensure that the event could be held in person, as the safety of our constituents—especially in light of the necessity for travel and accommodations—is of the highest concern."

The Congress has met every five years since 1987—welcoming delegates from around the country, celebrating large-scale inculturated liturgies, and formulating a Pastoral Plan (which is meant to help guide Black ministry and address specific concerns within the community).

The 2017 gathering in Orlando featured a number of notable moments, including an opening keynote from Ghana's Cardinal Turkson and the revealing of a new mural designed by Enzo Selvaggi of Heritage Liturgical.

Plans for Congress XIII have not yet been revealed publicly, but some diocesan Black ministry coordinators had begun holding preparatory meetings as early as last year. More were scheduled for 2021. (Such meetings are typical for about a year before the next Congress.)

Now, with an extra year to plan and to reflect on (and implement) the previous pastoral plan, the nation’s Black Catholics are sure to have their eyes set on 2023.

Questions concerning the upcoming gathering can be sent to the NBCC via their contact form.


Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).