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Uncommon Faithfulness

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Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience

Uncommon Faithfulness is a collection of essays of the experience of African American Catholics. The book was written by fourteen black Catholic theologians, ecclesial leaders and scholars at a conference held at the University of Notre Dame in 2004. Uncommon Faithfulness was edited by M. Shawn Copeland who serves as the Adjunct Professor of Theology at the Institute for black Catholic studies at Xavier University in New Orleans Louisiana. Catholics of African descent maintained their faith and inspiration to sustain resistance against oppression of slavery and to create life giving opportunities. This was nearly 450 years of Uncommon Faithfulness. The phrase “Uncommon Faithfulness” describes the black Catholic experience in the United States.

There are a total of fourteen essays. The first five essays deals with the history of black Catholics in the United States; including essays about African American women in religious communities and black Catholics during the civil rights movement in the United States. The next five essays deals with theological and ethnical aspects of the black Christian experience. There are many challenges that reflect the black Catholic community that allowed African ancestors to endure the denial of their humanity. Despite oppression conditions they were able to exercise their full humanity and were able to create new institutions and cultural traditions by thinking past custom beliefs. The final set of essays speaks about pastoral concerns related to black Catholics. These essays discuss the contribution of black Catholics in the Church concerning their leadership roles and the influence it has on African Catholic immigrants in the Catholic Church. Memberships for black Catholics has not always been easy therefore black Catholics assuming leadership roles within the Catholic Church was not encouraged. The compilation of essays gives a variety of information about the black Catholic experience in the United States. The story of black Catholics still goes unrecognized and with little appreciation of its understanding.

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