In preparation for the 13th National Black Catholic Congress next month, approximately 115 Black Catholic delegates from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will gather this Sunday, June 18 at 10:00 a.m. for a “Sending Forth” Mass celebrated by Archbishop Nelson Pérez at St. Raymond of Peñafort Church in Philadelphia.

Archbishop Pérez will commission the appointed delegates and send them forth with his blessing during the Mass.

The National Black Catholic Congress will be held July 20-23 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. The theme of this year’s Congress is “Write the Vision: A Prophetic Call to Vision.” The purpose of the Congresses, which have been held in the United States since 1889, is to create a Pastoral Plan of Action.

Participants in this Congress will include archdiocesan priests, seminarians, and members of various parishes in the archdiocese who are part of the Black Catholic community.

Auxiliary Bishop John J. McIntyre will also represent the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at the Congress.

Kim Walker, director of the archdiocesan Office for Black Catholics, emphasized the importance of the seminarians attending the Congress.

“We want them to experience the National Black Catholic Congress because it’s very important that they understand the big picture of who we are as Catholics and the culture of who we are and what we bring to the universal Church,” Walker said.

The three primary areas the archdiocesan delegates will focus on during the gathering are evangelization, vocation, and youth and young adults, according to Walker.

“We especially want to learn how to bring our young people back into the Church,” she said. “After the Congress we’re going to gather back together with a plan in order to implement some initiatives in the Archdiocese.”

“My hope is for us to go as a group, as a collective unit aligned together, and to bring information back so that we can create programs that focus on youth and young adults, evangelization and vocation,” she added.

All are welcome to attend the Sending Forth Mass.

For more information about the National Black Catholic Congress, visit