PROVIDENCE — The Office of Black Catholic Ministry for the Diocese of Providence has announced a Strategic Pastoral Plan of Action for fostering pastoral care and evangelization of black Catholic communities throughout Rhode Island.
In response to Pope Francis’ “Call for the Conversion of the Church in our Time,” the Office of Black Catholic Ministry and its Advisory Board developed the “Strategic Plan of Action for the Pastoral Care and Evangelization to the Diaspora of the Black Catholic Community,” offering suggested guidelines for priests, lay ministers and parish assistants in fostering pastoral care to the varied ethnic communities within many unique parishes throughout Rhode Island.
The plan states, “We believe that with the changing landscape of our church, we are called to provide parish leaders with the tools and training to support evangelization and formation for all disciples. It is our hope that this Pastoral Plan will help strengthen black Catholic leadership and assist in building a more inclusive and welcoming faith experience for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Patty January, Coordinator of Black Catholic Ministry, offered her gratitude to Bishop Thomas J. Tobin whose leadership and support has been significant in the development of the Pastoral Plan.
In a letter, Bishop Tobin shared that the Catholic Church has always been enriched by the faith, history and unique cultural experiences of people from all over the globe, adding that with this amazing diversity, it is the Church that brings people together to form one body — the Body of Christ.
“Throughout its history, the Diocese of Providence has been blessed by the twin gifts of unity and diversity, forming a beautiful mosaic of faith that continues, and is even growing, today,” said Bishop Tobin. “I commend and thank the members of our diocesan staff, the Black Catholic Ministry Advisory Board, and all who have collaborated so effectively to produce this important statement.”
“I encourage our pastors and all pastoral leaders in the Diocese of Providence to welcome this document warmly and to implement it enthusiastically throughout the diocese. There is no doubt that the whole Church will be enriched by welcoming and sharing the faith, the abundant gifts and talents of the black Catholic community. May God bless our Church as together we celebrate the blessings of the past and embrace the challenges of the future.”
This Pastoral Plan will serve as a guide to assist in creating opportunities to motivate existing leaders and welcome parishioners to undertake leadership positions in lay ecclesial ministries. It also encourages the promotion of opportunities for faith formation and leadership trainings at all levels in local parishes and communities throughout the diocese.
The Strategic Pastoral Plan of Action will “affirm and celebrate parish leader’s culturally diverse identities by establishing a unified pastoral council for the collaboration in constructing an inclusive, flourishing and vibrant parish faith experience. With thoughtful planning, research and outreach, this guide will provide great assistance in all forms of pastoral planning, offering positive and productive faith experiences to our unique and culturally diverse faith communities.”
January thanked the many priests, religious and lay people whose hard work, dedication and time helped this important document come together. She extended sincere thanks to Father Nolasco Tamayo, Director, Multicultural Ministry, Rebecca Page Perez, J.D., Pastoral Planning Director, and Advisory Board members Father Lazarus Onuh, Holy Name of Jesus African Catholic Community, Edward Belt, Joyce Braboy, Barbara Butler, Linda A’Vant Deishinni, Sister Joyce Flowers, RSM, Frantz Jean Gilles, Nicole Jean Gilles, Virginia Neves Gonsalves, Juanita Hammond, Cecile Hickman, Dominic S. NTansah, Sharon Simpson, and Antonio R. Taylor.
To learn more about the Pastoral Plan or if you are a parish or an individual who would like to become more involved with the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, please call 401-278-4552 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.