On July 7-9, close to 40 delegates from Buffalo went to the National Black Catholic Congress XII in Orlando, Fla. They are especially grateful to the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, who made it possible for them to attend.
I am sharing with you this month the experience of Althea Porter, a member of the African-American Commission who wrote the following in the newsletter of the African-American Commission. For the full article, visit the Office of Cultural Diversity website.
The central message brought to the delegates was of being disciples of social justice to all African-American Catholic delegates. The theme is taken from the prophet Micah (6:8): act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God. The official Congress welcome began Thursday, July 7, with the general session by His Eminence Peter Kodwo Cardinal Turkson of Cape Coast, Ghana, titled, "The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God." The beginning of his address is about how the cross represents the experience of African-American Catholics.
Cardinal Turkson expressed that the phrase "The Spirit of the Lord Is upon Me" is about the restoration of God's people. God is coming to claim what is His to set people free. When we act justly, we are actually repairing relationships with God's children. "Walking humbly with your God" is surrendering your life to Jesus to live fully as a baptized person.
The second keynote address was given by Father Maurice Emelu of Nigeria. His keynote address was titled "The Gift of Leadership."
Father Emelu gave us a message that we all have gifts to lead. We should be able to recognize our gifts. This recognition is important in knowing how we are gifted to lead. Leadership is about building and honoring relationships. As individuals, we must be fully aware that God has given us spiritual blessings that enable us to effectively encounter and give witness to Christ in our lives. That is why we should walk in the steps of missionary disciples. We can do that by improving our talents according to our own abilities or gifts. God wants us to do this because we each represent a part of the body of Christ. We can lead by service, which is called servant leadership. By serving, we are called to our destination.