Ten Things to Know About the  BCI
June 2017
The Lord Be With You 
  Just like the Faith, the Drum works for us if you pass it on.



1. Let Us Pray

A prayer for "Renew My Church" 
Lord Jesus, you speak to us today, as you spoke to holy men and women who have gone before us. In every age, and in our own time, you call to us and say: Renew My Church

Pour out the gift of your Holy Spirit upon us, and so enable us to hear you clearly, to listen to each other attentively, to imagine our future boldly, to discern your direction wisely, to persevere in your holy will courageously, to stay together in charity, to surrender our own plans readily, to embrace the greater good, to hand on your gifts to future generations. 

May we remain in the holy company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles, and all the Saints. May their example and presence inspire us with patient confidence in the work of your grace.  We ask this of you who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Lord, Hear Our Prayer!
Please submit all prayer requests to 

2.  From Bishop Perry 
Our Parishes 
Change is one of the rubrics of life.  You and I have been working with change longer than we can remember.

Certainly, outside the personal dimension, this side of the city of Chicago and south suburbs has been changing since the 1940s, right after the War, with military personnel coming home and needing housing and adjustment to living again at home.  Hospitals, housing construction, and new neighborhoods were needed for the baby-boomers.  Added to this dynamic, folks were coming north from the south looking for jobs in the urban industrial centers.  Peacetime proffered a new prosperity.  New churches were built to accommodate the rush on the suburbs by people taking in the promise of a post-war economy and the confidence that registered with citizens.  With African Americans sharing these same ideals, we have witnessed demographic shifting away from the cities launching at the same time the eventual demise of the inner city.

When we were in college, our sociology teachers kept hammering the message that, not too long in the future, suburban dwellers would be returning to the city once they got tired of cul-de-sacs and shopping malls looking all alike, interminable time factors and grid-locked traffic making the drive into town for work a test of nerves.  We thought the teachers were idealistic. But, what they predicted has come true in many cities. We are seeing certain cities redevelop their downtown areas, where young adults and retirees have been returning such that we now need an infusion of grocery stores downtown.  Private investment has locked out others on the lower strata of society, leaving other parts of the city uninteresting and undeveloped. Unfortunately, economic ability in our country carries with it racial disparity.  People make decisions about their lives based on these trends.  The Church which has been in the city for generations witnesses people shifting, based on the desire to improve their lives, based on their decision to live next to or not live next to certain people.

These trends affect the Church and its ministries.  We are often told that as institutions, financial and otherwise, leave the city, the Church is conspicuous for remaining amongst the working class, the poor and disenfranchised.  That is a nice compliment.  Nonetheless, amidst all these trends the Church is compelled to apply its structures and resources the best way possible to serve the people of our city, the suburbs, and outer areas and try to keep up with needs as they surface.  This is an exhaustive effort of a sort because the trends are not always predictable or easily analyzed.  Recessions and inflations descend upon the scene to upset the apple-cart as-it-were, causing anxiety for the middle-class and thrusting the poor and underclass deeper in patterns of misery.   The Church, a not-for-profit like other not-for-profits, here and there, is left holding the empty bag and ends up scrambling to keep afloat spreading the gospel, in ways imperfectly no doubt, while we implement that gospel in our lives, often so imperfectly.  We so want to do it better.

The Church wants to keep afloat knowing its resources stem largely from people in the pews and not any outside entity.  The people in the pews are hard- working middle class, working class and poor.  It redounds to a lot of sharing of what we have and struggle to have. 

Given all the change that’s going on around us, in our city, our neighborhoods, our parishes, how do we sense a summons to be Church in this mixed situation?  How do we broaden our vision to discern how what we do can be done better?  We must be Church at all times, amidst poverty or prosperity, in times of peace or persecution, with large numbers or small numbers.  We are asked to readjust the parish structures of the Church for these times and moving forward realizing that the present does not echo a lot of the past in terms of wealth, population numbers, the popular culture’s own appreciation for the Church and its role in society.

Change is always a challenge, no doubt, but we have been doing change unwittingly for as long as we can remember.  We have the opportunity, if not the grace, to rally as a Catholic family and come closer together, leaving behind the parochial arrangements we have been used to in order to create other arrangements that enlarge the Catholic family a wee-bit in areas while increasing new and exciting possibilities to carry on the ministries we dream about to be so important for the life and vitality of our communities and having thereby the mutual support and resources with which to do so.  It is hard predicting what will happen to the city and outlying areas where we live, what will be the makeup of these communities, what will be the economics, who will be the next President of the country, how we will survive not only with secured employment and despite taxes, aging structures, death and dying of family members and friends.  Somehow, we must continue wandering the desert of life trusting the Lord is with us speaking to us His Word, for we want to hear Him as Abraham and Sarah were asked to hear His summons, and pick up and move to another place for His purpose and His purpose alone.

Bishop Joseph N. Perry
3. The Retreat
Five Questions

1.) Do you have a Parish home, or a church home?

2.) Are you Catholic for your funeral or for your great grandchildren's baptism?

3.) Does anyone go to Church with you, or do you go by yourself?

4.) Is church a part of your week, or a part of your life?

5.) Would you rather have a homily, or a eulogy?

If any part of you is being raised as you read any one of these questions, this retreat is for you.



  4.  Honor, honor, unto the dying Lamb 

"What would Fr. Tolton say to Catholics in Chicago today? 
5.  On The Air 

Tuesdays 9-9:30 a.m.
Relevant Radio 950-AM

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

Let’s talk about:

Make Them Hear You!   
After the March 

June 6th             Reverend Kevin Brooks - Englewood Community Action Council

June 13th           Dr. Kimberly Lymore - St. Sabina Church - Peace Starts Here

June 20th           Kemati Porter - ETA Creative Foundation Summer Program

June 27th           Andrew Holmes - Community Activists

  5.  Social Action - Congress XII
7. Social Action
8. Social Action
9.  Parish Life and Formation Events

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 do not violate copyrights.  

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.

Someone asked the question...

RED is for the blood of the people;
BLACK for the community of the people;
GREEN is for the growth of the people
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.