Sankofa, Aggiornamento, and Jubilee : recalling yesterday, envisioning today and imagining tomorrow : Black Catholic lay women evangelizing the Church.

Date of Award


Document Type



Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


The Church exists to evangelize. All are called to participate in this mission through the Sacrament of Baptism. The Black Catholic community has a historical precedent as builders of faith communities. Their evangelizing spirit is evidenced by the institutions formed by Black Catholic women. However, the Catholic Church is experiencing an exodus of Black Catholics from their faith of origin. The Catholic Church has embarked on a ministry to address the New Evangelization, to refresh fallen away Catholics' desire and interest in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ through their Catholic witness. Yet the gifts that Black Catholic women have to offer to the Church's evangelization mission go unwrapped. The exclusion and isolation that the Black Catholic community continues to experience within the Church is the source of the exodus. The glaring absence of Black Catholic laity in leadership and ministerial roles at the Archdiocesan level fuels the momentum for the exodus. Although the spiritual gift of their ancestors' uncommon faithfulness have provided them with a rich legacy on how to overcome such obstacles to their faith witness, these memories are unknown to some and forgotten by others. A community with many talents and treasures to enhance the Church's evangelization mission continues to struggle with access to full and active participation in the broader Catholic Church. My Doctor of Ministry project serves as a model for Black Catholic lay women to recover the narrative stories of their ancestors, by remembering our ancestors who built the first Black Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Newark. The recalling of this history of Christ the King, provides the Catholic community a mechanism to address the root of the isolation and exclusion and to fashion a course of action that empowers Black Catholic women to move forward with their gifts in a joyful and fruitful manner to change the dynamic from exclusion to one of embrace and provide an inculturated evangelization for the universal Church.