Local  Leaders to attend National Black Catholic Congress


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SAN DIEGO — Four leaders of the diocese’s African American Catholic community will attend the National Black Catholic Congress in Maryland.

The congress is held every five years to develop a pastoral plan and to celebrate the community’s faith and culture.

The San Diego delegation is made up of Rick Stewart, chair of the Diocesan Commission for African American Catholics, Deacons Marvin Threatt and Robert Booth, Selma Johnson, and Charlotte Fajardo, from the diocese’s Office for Ethnic and Intercultural Communities.

The 13th congress, which has a theme “Write the Vision: A Prophetic Call to Thrive,” is being held July 20 to 23 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland. The event has adult and youth tracks and includes plenary and breakout sessions. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, from Washington, D.C., will deliver the keynote address.

The gathering is organized by the National Black Catholic Congress, which represents African American Catholics and their affiliated organizations nationwide.

Johnson is a long-time leader of the African American Catholic community in San Diego and vice chair of the diocesan commission. She attended the congress four or five times in the 1970s and 1980s, sometimes taking her niece, nephew and son to them, she said.

“I was amazed at all the black priests, religious and people that were there at one time,” she recalled in a phone interview. “You didn’t see that many in those days.”

She wanted to go this time to add her voice to the conversations about the future of the black Catholic community.

She said, “If we don’t speak up now, when are we going to speak?”


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