The Subcommittee Mandate

The Subcommittee on African American Affairs (SCAAA) is the official voice of the African American Catholic community. The subcommittee attends to the needs and aspirations of African American Catholics regarding issues of pastoral ministry, evangelization, social justice, worship, development of leaders and other areas of concern. The subcommittee also seeks to be a source for the all Bishops and the entire Catholic Church in the United States. It aims to articulate the socio-cultural dimension of the African American Catholic community and identify or create resources that would allow for an authentic integration of the richness of African American Catholic culture and the Catholic Church in the United States.

Reflection by Most Reverend Joseph N. Perry

Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Chicago: Vicar for Vicariate VI, Chairman of the Subcommittee on African American Affairs

Easter 2022 Message

Easter disappears from the store shelves the evening of Easter Sunday in order to restock those same shelves with greeting cards for Mothers’ Day, graduations, and gardening supplies.  But the Church gives us 50days with which to reflect on the power of the paschal mystery, that is, the Lord’s suffering and death and resurrection.  Indeed we climb the rooftops as it were each year on Easter to shout out to the world a piece of news the world really has not gotten over, namely, that our God in Jesus in alive when evil men meant him dead.  Catechists, religious instruction personnel, pastors , theologians and others have the task of making the paschal mystery as far as possible relevant to the lives of modern day Christians.  Easter is the energy upon which the Church lives and moves. Without Easter none of what we do makes sense nor can we supply logic to why the Church has endured for two millennia and counting.

A question surfaces about the Christian story – why did it take the pain and slaughter of one man to redeem the human race?  What place does suffering and tragedy and misfortune have in the economy of our salvation?  Why did God choose such a story?

Perhaps, while God was writing the script beginning with the Garden of Eden we on this side changed the story as it was being written.  We snatched the script from God’s hands and began messing with it.  Could it be that we unwittingly wrote in the suffering passages by reason of our rebellion and sin?  And God decided to rescue us by re-writing the last chapter, desiring to save us from the consequences of our own missteps and rebellion?  That first Easter, God took back the salvation script.

I’m inclined to believe that God was making a dramatic statement to the human race with the resurrection of Jesus, namely, telling us that something truly remarkable lies on the other side of the crucifixions of life, and we are asked to believe?  We are stunned speechless in face of the news, as those first Christians were who received the news first from Mary Magdalene and then the whole group as Jesus successively visited them at least several different times without knocking on the door, showing them His wounds and wishing them peace – a peace we cannot manufacture ourselves, a peace unknown to this world but for which Jesus enjoys while sitting at the right hand of the Father.

What can this Easter story mean for us modern Christians?

As told in the Acts of the Apostles notice the power of these happenings inspired believers to come together and radically share their lives, their possessions and resources and live as one family trying to tap into that mysterious peace Jesus gave as gift.  What can it possibly mean for us who take seriously the biblical proclamations that have been delivered to us these days in the church’s liturgy?

This mystery has infused everything we are as believers, shaped our words and actions, given us a respect for life as gift of God, inspired our indiscriminate acceptance of one another, given firm purpose to all our commitments, supplied a new interpretation to tragedy, sin and suffering in our lives, given us a new definition of life and our passage to the promise of the next, allowed us to insert the Jesus story as the rationale for our everything.            

Subcommittee Members

Reflections on the Movement for Black Lives (BLM)

The resources which follow are a series of four articles on the expression “Black Lives Matter” provided by the Subcommittee on African American Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. These articles do not claim to be a definitive statement on this matter. They are posted in the hope of providing background information which might help clarify what sometimes can be a controversial topic and serve as a stepping stone toward further reflection and dialogue on the important matter of racial more.