10 Things to Know About the BCI

February 2018

  Just like the Faith, the Drum works for us if you pass it on.




For the respect and protection of human dignity and human solidarity.

Lord, Hear Our Prayer!


Please submit all prayer request to BCI@archchicago.org .


By Bishop Joseph N. Perry

In this one great family of God, the Church, we celebrate a oneness that society at large dreams about, but for racial and ethnic differentiation, economic and social inequities of varying description, cannot achieve. As the ancient Romans marveled about the early church, “See, how those Christians love one another!”  There is something special about us that we can easily take for granted. We do try to sew in our lives the message of Jesus that we love and care for one another.

As our numbers get smaller, our buildings belch and ache and groan and cost more to repair. As we age and become limited in what we can offer, the church has taken courageous steps to come together, clasp hands and hearts to carry on the mission of Jesus that larger numbers and larger resources can afford.

Sponsored by our faith and hope we can admit that a move like this is inspired by the narrations of scripture with the faith ancestors of the past who have made similar moves along their journey to the kingdom beginning with Abraham and Sarah whom the Lord asked to pack up their tents, flocks and herds, employees and supplies and move to a land He would show them. The result of Abraham and his wife Sarah’s “yes” to God resulted in the Savior Jesus Christ being given to us. Had they said “no” we hesitate to imagine what our condition would be.

Similarly we can expect grace as a gift from God to us from our move to merge with our fellow brothers and sisters in Catholic faith so that our communities heretofore can do even better the good things we have done for the Lord these many years. We are re-grouping for the honor of God and the mission of His Son, Jesus Christ.

I am deeply grateful to each of you for your reflection on all this, your attentive listening to your pastors, the Renew My Church team members of the Archdiocese and to me about the numbers, the finances, the city trends, the buildings, the potential entailed with current resources, and what appears to be decisions that need to be made in light of all the above.

I bless you for your faith, your loyalty to our Catholic traditions. I share with you hope for the future, the light and direction of God.

As we become a larger family shortly, I look forward to sharing with you the memory of the Lord in his Eucharist at his holy table!

We are nudged to see and appreciate the benefits of a larger congregation of Catholic faith and a wider donation and use of resources to carry forth the mission of the gospel among us in Word, Sacrament and service. Alone we are limited and may disappear on the vine without a necessary pruning for sake of the good fruit that can appear on the vine for a good harvest given the Lord.

I bid you look out for one another. Let us encourage one another.


Public Act 094-0285
HB0383 Enrolled
LRB094 06620 RSP 36713 b
     AN ACT establishing the Amistad Commission. 
     Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,represented in the General Assembly:  
    Section 5. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Act is amended by adding Section 22 as follows:

    (20 ILCS 3405/22 new)Sec. 22. Amistad Commission.

    (a) Purpose. The General Assembly finds and declares that all people should know of and remember the human carnage and dehumanizing atrocities committed during the period of the African slave trade and slavery in America and of the vestiges of slavery in this country; and it is in fact vital to educate our citizens on these events, the legacy of slavery, the sad history of racism in this country, and the principles of human rights and dignity in a civilized society.

    It is the policy of the State of Illinois that the history of the African slave trade, slavery in America, the depth of their impact in our society, and the triumphs of African-Americans and their significant contributions to the development of this country is the proper concern of all people, particularly students enrolled in the schools of the State of Illinois.

It is therefore desirable to create a Commission that, as an organized body and on a continuous basis, will survey, design, encourage, and promote the implementation of education and awareness programs in Illinois that are concerned with the African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the contributions of African-Americans in building our country; to develop workshops, institutes, seminars, and other teacher training activities designed to educate teachers on this subject matter;and that will be responsible for the coordination of events on 
(a) regular basis, throughout the State, that provide appropriate memorialization of the events concerning the enslavement of Africans and their descendants in America and their struggle for freedom, liberty, and equality.

(b) Amistad Commission. The Amistad Commission is created 
within the Agency. The Commission is named to honor the group of enslaved Africans transported in 1839 on a vessel named the Amistad who overthrew their captors and created an international incident that was eventually argued before the Supreme Court and that shed a growing light on the evils of the slave trade and galvanized a growing abolitionist movement towards demanding the end of slavery in the United States.

(c) Membership. The Commission shall consist of 15 members, including 3 ex officio members: the State Superintendent of Education or his or her designee, the Director of Commerce and Economic Opportunity or his or her designee, and the Director of Historic Sites and Preservation or his or her designee; and 12 public members. Public members shall be appointed as 
        (i) 2 members appointed by the President of the Senate and one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate;
        (ii) 2 members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives; and
        (iii) 6 members, no more than 4 of whom shall be of the same political party, appointed by the Governor.

    The public members shall be residents of this State, chosen with due regard to broad geographic representation and ethnic diversity, who have served actively in organizations that educate the public on the history of the African slave trade, the contributions of African-Americans to our society, and civil rights issues.

    Each public member of the Commission shall serve for a term of 3 years, except that of the initial members so appointed: one member appointed by the President of the Senate, one member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and 2 members appointed by the Governor shall serve for terms of one year; the member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate, one member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and 2 members appointed by the Governor shall serve for terms of 2 years; and one member appointed by the President of the Senate, the member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and 2 members appointed by the Governor shall serve for terms of 3 years. Public members shall be eligible for reappointment. They shall serve  until their successors are appointed and qualified, and the  term of the successor of any incumbent shall be calculated from 
the expiration of the term of that incumbent. A vacancy 
occurring other than by expiration of term shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, but for the unexpired term only.

    (d) Election of chairperson; meetings. At its first meeting and annually thereafter, the Commission shall elect from among its members a chairperson and other officers it considers necessary or appropriate. After its first meeting, the Commission shall meet at least quarterly, or more frequently at the call of the chairperson or if requested by 9 or more 

    (e) Quorum. A majority of the members of the Commission constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a meeting of the Commission. A majority of the members present and serving is required for official action of the Commission.

    (f) Public meeting. All business that the Commission is authorized to perform shall be conducted at a public meeting of the Commission, held in compliance with the Open Meetings Act.

    (g) Freedom of Information. A writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by the Commission in the performance of an official function is subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

    (h) Compensation. The members of the Commission shall serve without compensation, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for all necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties as members of the Commission from funds appropriated for that purpose. Reimbursement for travel, meals, and lodging shall be in accordance with the rules of the Governor's Travel Control Board.

    (i) Duties. The Commission shall have the following 
responsibilities and duties:

        (1) To provide, based upon the collective interest of the members and the knowledge and experience of the members, assistance and advice to schools within the State with respect to the implementation of education, awareness programs, textbooks, and educational materials concerned with the African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the contributions of African-Americans to our society.

        (2) To survey and catalog the extent and breadth of education concerning the African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the contributions of African-Americans to our society 
presently being incorporated into the curricula and 
textbooks and taught in the school systems of the State; to inventory those African slave trade, American slavery, or relevant African-American history memorials, exhibits, and resources that should be incorporated into courses of study at educational institutions, schools, and various other locations throughout the State; and to assist the State Board of Education and other State and educational agencies in the development and implementation of African slave trade, American slavery, and African-American history education programs.

        (3) To act as a liaison with textbook publishers, 
schools, public, private, and nonprofit resource 
organizations, and members of the United States Senate and 
House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate and House 
of Representatives in order to facilitate the inclusion of 
the history of African slavery and of African-Americans in 
this country in the curricula of public and nonpublic 

       (4) To compile a roster of individual volunteers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience in 
classrooms, seminars, and workshops with students and 
teachers on the subject of the African slave trade, 
American slavery, the impact of slavery on our society 
today, and the contributions of African-Americans to our 

        (5) To coordinate events memorializing the African slave trade, American slavery, and the history of 
African-Americans in this country that reflect the 
contributions of African-Americans in overcoming the burdens of slavery and its vestiges, and to seek volunteers who are willing and able to participate in commemorative events that will enhance student awareness of the significance of the African slave trade, American slavery, its historical impact, and the struggle for freedom.

        (6) To prepare reports for the Governor and the General Assembly regarding its findings and recommendations on facilitating the inclusion of the African slave trade, American slavery studies, African-American history, and special programs in the educational system of the State.

        (7) To develop, in consultation with the State Board of Education, curriculum guidelines that will be made available to every school board for the teaching of 
information on the African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the 
contributions of African-Americans to our country.

        (8) To solicit, receive, and accept appropriations, gifts, and donations for Commission operations and programs authorized under this Section.

    (j) Commission requests for assistance. The Commission is authorized to call upon any department, office, division, or agency of the State, or of any county, municipality, or school district of the State, to supply such data, program reports, and other information, appropriate school personnel, and assistance as it deems necessary to discharge its responsibilities under this Act. These departments, offices, divisions, and agencies shall, to the extent possible and not inconsistent with any other law of this State, cooperate with the Commission and shall furnish it with such information, appropriate school personnel, and assistance as may be necessary or helpful to accomplish the purposes of this Act.

    (k) State Board of Education assistance. The State Board of Education shall:

        (1) Assist the Amistad Commission in marketing and distributing to educators, administrators, and school 
districts in the State educational information and other 
materials on the African slave trade, slavery in America, 
the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the 
contributions of African-Americans to our society.

        (2) Conduct at least one teacher workshop annually on the African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the contributions of African-Americans to our society.

        (3) Assist the Amistad Commission in monitoring the inclusion of slavery materials and curricula in the State's educational system.

        (4) Consult with the Amistad Commission to determine ways it may survey, catalog, and extend slave trade and American slavery education presently being taught in the State's educational system.

    The State Board of Education may, subject to the 
availability of appropriations, hire additional staff and 
consultants to carry out the duties and responsibilities 
provided within this subsection(k).

    (l) Report. The Commission shall report its activities and findings, as required under subsection (i), to the Governor and General Assembly on or before June 30, 2006, and biannually thereafter.
    Section 10. The School Code is amended by changing Section 27-20.4 as follows:

    (105 ILCS 5/27-20.4)  (from Ch. 122, par. 27-20.4)
    Sec. 27-20.4. Black History Study. Every public elementary school and high school shall include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of Black History, including the history of the African slave trade, slavery in America, and the vestiges of slavery in this country. These events shall include not only the contributions made by individual African-Americans in government and in the arts, humanities and sciences to the economic, cultural and political development of the United States and Africa, but also the socio-economicstruggle which African-Americans experienced collectively in striving to achieve fair and equal treatment under the laws of this nation. The studying of this material shall constitute an affirmation by students of their commitment to respect the dignity of all races and peoples and to forever eschew every form of discrimination in their lives and careers.
The State Superintendent of Education may prepare and make available to all school boards instructional materials, including those established by the Amistad Commission, which may be used as guidelines for development of a unit of instruction under this Section; provided, however, that each school board shall itself determine the minimum amount of instruction time which shall qualify as a unit of instruction satisfying the requirements of this Section.

(Source: P.A. 86-1256.) Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law.

The 2018 Commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement recognized the joint conference
 of the

National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus
National Black Sisters Conference
National Black Catholic Seminarians Association





Tuesdays 8-9:00 a.m.
Deacon John Cook hosts this weekly half-hour program that explores a wide range of topics relevant to Chicago's Black and Catholic communities. Deacon Cook serves at St. Felicitas Parish in Chatham, and is very involved in overseeing youth programs in the Bronzeville neighborhood. 

Tune in and Call in

Feb 6th - Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Chicago Alumnae Chapter                    

Feb 13th - Superintendent, Eddie Johnson; 

Feb 20th - Frances Jackson, Publisher, The Chicago Defender                       

Feb. 27th - Surprise Guest *Listeners call in name of guest to win a prize

Make Them Hear You! 


Join Bishop Perry!
Cruising for the Tolton Cause

Fundraiser in support of the Cause for the Canonization of Fr. Augustus Tolton

Who: Your host, Bishop Joseph N. Perry !
What: 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise to benefit the Tolton Cause
When: Departing Ft. Lauderdale, FL - August 18, 2018; Returning Ft. Lauderdale, FL - August 25, 2018
Where: Fort Lauderdale, FL., Nassau , Bahamas , Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas Basseterre St. Kitts,   Fort Lauderdale, FL
How: As low as $929.00 per person (subject to change based on availability)

STEP ONE:  A registration fee of $100 is required.

100% of the registration fee benefiting the Tolton Cause.

Call 312-534-8376 to register and be the VIP guest of
Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Postulator of the Cause 
STEP TWO:   A deposit of $500.00 is required.
Payment plans available after registration and deposit is made.

Call 1-800-398-9819
Fundraiser in support of the
Cause for the Canonization of Fr. Augustus Tolton
The BCI received the following announcements from parishes, schools and organizations for the purpose of sharing information and invitation.

Please seek permission to publish items in this newsletter from the pastor or person responsible for the sponsoring agent. Please take care not to violate copyrights.

Cardinal: Talk of Slavery Impact a Must
by Steve Sadin • January 29, 2018

Cardinal Blase Cupich called on the United States to discuss the impact of slavery not only on African Americans but the nation as a whole to heal the country and reduce violence.

Cupich offered his thesis during a question-and-answer session after a talk to more than 500 people about interfaith dialogue January 29 at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, which hosted the event.
After talking about the role of family, education and mentoring to help people seek more productive, less violent lives, Cupich turned to the topic of slavery. He said it is holding the country back from a communal healing.

“We need to have a discussion about the impact of slavery on the African-American community,” said Cupich. “Until we discuss this as a nation we can’t stop the impact slavery has on our current generation and future generations.”

Slavery is still a burden on the lives not only of the descendants of slaves but for everyone else, according to Cupich. He likened the need for the discussion to the way post-World War II Germany dealt with the Holocaust.
“They took responsibility for what happened so future generations would understand and pass it on to the next,” said Cupich in a DailyNorthShore.com interview after the event. “If we don’t have that discussion, racism will continue into the next generation and the next.”
Cardinal Blase Cupich spoke at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe on January 29. PHOTOGRAPHY BY GEORGE PFOERTNER/JWC MEDIA
After the cardinal’s talk, Rabbi Wendi Geffen of North Shore Congregation told  DNS  the discussion would be a good idea. She said the Jewish and Catholic communities could present a united front.

Reaching out to youth as a way to reach not only young people but their children and their children’s children was a major theme of Cupich’s talk, whether he was discussing violence or a lack of attachment to faith. He said an open dialogue between different faiths is one way to help solve a problem they all share.

Cupich shared the story of a woman who worried her grandchildren would not be Catholics.
“She said ‘I wonder if I will be the last Catholic in my family’,” said Cupich.

He said part of the reason for the lack of religious affiliation today is what he calls the “nones.”
“When people are asked about their religious affiliation, they say none,” said Cupich. “The focus on self is bringing identity politics into religion. We need outreach to rebuild the social fabric of our country. We need to have concern for the weak, the poor.”

Like the discussion he wants the country to have about slavery, Cupich said memory “is the key to assessing the future and handing it to the next generation.”
Cupich said the need for outreach goes beyond parents teaching their children so their grandchildren will have the grounding to care for others.

The first person to ask a question wanted to know how Cupich suggested building bridges when there are apparently irreconcilable differences between faiths. The questioner used the example of those who believe life begins with conception and others who think it starts with the first breath. Cupich suggested focusing on what the two views have in common.

“We should look at how life is good and to protect it,” said Cupich. “We share a concern about helping to make them a better person.”
ASH WEDNESDAY, February 14, 2018  

Mass and Distribution of Ashes 8:00 a. and 6:30 pm


Psalm Response: " Be Merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned."
Gospel Response: " If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

St. Ambrose Lenten Reflection Series

Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.


Psalm Responser: " A heart contrite and humbled. O God, you will nor spurn."
Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 11:29-32
Gospel Verse: " Even now, say the LORD, return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful."

PRESIDER - Fr. David Jones, Pastor St. Benedict the African


Psalm Response: " Save me O Lord in your kindness."
Jeremiah 18: 18-20 Matthew 20: 17-28
Gospel Verse: I am the light of the world says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Speaker - Dorothy Williams


Psalm Response: "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem"
Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9; Matthew 5: 17 - 19
Gospel Verse: "Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life."

Presider - Deacon Raymond Asagdem, SVD

Sunday, March 11, 2018- HEALING SERVICE 3:30 pm

Presider - James Herring, O Praem.


St. James Catholic Church

March 21, 2018 PRAYER SERVICE

Psalm response: " Glory and Praise forever."
Daniel 3:14-10, 91-92, 95; John 8:31-42
Gospel Verse: " Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance."

Speaker Joseph Saunders

April Ryan
Friday, April 23, 2018
7:30 p.m.
Dr. Cornell West
Sunday, February 25, 2018
11:15 a.m.

The Faith Community of St. Sabina
Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Senior Pastor


Friends of Sister Thea Bowman
Humanitarian Legacy Award

SAVE THE DATE 25th Year!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Diplomat West Banquet Hall
681 W. North Avenue Elmhurst, IL 60126

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tickets $50.00
Guest Speaker : Fr. Maurice J. Nutt,C.Ss.R., D.Min.

For more information contact:
Vivian Clark 708-642-9402
Michelle I. Tines 312-213-3851

Be to
GOD ! ! !

Someone asked the question…

RED is for the blood of the people
BLACK is for the community of the people
GREEN is for the growth of the people
All are welcome to bring ideas and gifts to this collective work of baptizing, matrimony and anointing, this effort of Kujichagulia, Umoja and Imani. This is a meeting of the seven sacraments of the church and the seven principles of Kwanzaa. This is a meeting of the church. That is what makes it and us truly Catholic. Stay tuned, stay close, get involved, walk together and don’t you get weary! There’s a great camp meeting in the Promised Land. Believe that you are in the camp.
About the Black Catholic Initiative

The Black Catholic Initiative (BCI) has as its focus the 66K African American Catholics served by 351 parishes, 38 of which are predominately African American. The BCI was created to prepare the church for the next generation of African American Catholics, charging them to be fully present and accountable. The goal of the BCI is to come together and work together in order to give and serve the Church. The BCI is an ethnic ministry that actively participates and offers its work as a gift to the local church of Chicago. Those involved in the BCI will practice Umoja, Kujichagulia and Ujima, (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility) in order to first give honor to God and to offer Catholicity with the whole church. The BCI will be one church, not many parishes. In this tried and true tradition, the BCI will plainly and clearly be Catholic.