Memphis bishop says time was right for black bishops' 1984 pastoral
Published: September 29, 2009
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The main thrust of the 1984 pastoral letter issued by the black Catholic bishops of the United States was evangelization, Bishop J. Terry Steib of Memphis, Tenn., told a gathering in Philadelphia marking the 25th anniversary of the document. "The Catholic Church is universal, there is room in the sanctuary for everybody, and it is our responsibility to work within our community and lead others to our faith which we believe in," he said. "That's what evangelization is all about." The bishops felt "the time had indeed come to share with the church, in our own language, the experience, the history, the insights, the understanding of the past," he said as keynote speaker at a Sept. 12 symposium. "We decided it was time to shape the hopes for the future." The Philadelphia Archdiocese's Office for Black Catholics sponsored the event marking the silver jubilee of the pastoral, titled "What We Have Seen and Heard." Several hundred African-American Catholics, priests and religious who work in the black apostolate were in attendance. Bishop Steib was one of 10 bishops who issued the pastoral Sept. 9, 1984, the feast of St. Peter Claver.
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