Institute for Black Catholic Studies

IBCS 2020

June 28, 2020 – July 17, 2020



Applications for the 2020 Degree Program

Now Being Accepted


2020 Th.M. Course Offerings

Updated 12/02/2019

Morning Courses 8:45-11:45 a.m. (select one)


IBTH 5010 Black Approaches to Theology – Stresses the nature, methods and sources of Black Theology; the reasons justifying its existence and its relationship to other theologies within the Roman Catholic Tradition. Required for all new students. (3 units) Professor Modeste Nyimi, Ph.D.


IBTH 5430 Black Spirituality – Black spirituality is rooted in the history and experience of African American peoples in the United States. This course will engage students in a critical examination of the roots, development and characteristics of the spirituality of Black peoples in the United States as well as a participative experience of Black spirituality as found in the religious expression of the community. (3 units) Professor C. Vanessa White, D.Min.


IBTH 5050 Catechetics – This survey course is designed to expose students to contemporary catechetical theories, principles and practices relevant to faith formation in a diverse Church. Particular attention is given to the development of effective catechetical ministry with African-American adults, youth, and children in domestic, parish and school environments. (3 units) Professor Fr. J. Derran Combs, Ph.D.


Afternoon Courses 1:45-4:45 p.m. (select one)



IBTH 5600 Moral Questions in the Black Community – This course intends to establish a dialogue between African American and Roman Catholic approaches to ethical issues, focusing on matters of particular concern to African Americans. (3 units) Professor Shawnee DanielsSykes, Ph.D.


IBTH 5625 Catholic Education in the Black Community - This course looks at learning styles among Black children and provides methodologies for a culturally inclusive curriculum. (3 units) Professor Kirk Gaddy, Ed.D.


IBTH 9997 Integrative Colloquium – Students learn to enter more deeply into a way of thinking, reflecting, conversing, and writing about questions and issues that emerge from their ministry and ministerial research. They are assisted to meet the goal of preparing successful drafts of (a) the major theological research paper and (b) the Practicum proposal. Required for all new students. (3 units) Professor Albertina Walker Hughey, Ph.D.


2020 C&E Course Offerings


Associate Director, Sr. Eva Marie Lumas, SSS, D.Min.

The Continuing Education and Enrichment (C&E) Programs provide lifelong learning and formation for laypersons, catechists, and other pastoral ministers. Offered in 1-week modules, C&E courses give students precious time and space to explore new ministry interests; update ministry skills, or reflect on the realities of Christian discipleship. The C&E Programs offer unique opportunities for individuals to grow in their understanding of Black Catholicism and its impact on their ministry, community and the Church at-large.


Week 1: June 29- July 3, 2020

Building Multicultural Competency in Ministry. This seminar addresses issues of particular interest for cross-cultural ministry. For example: how to reach Black Catholics in multicultural contexts, what are best practices for ministry in the African diaspora, and appreciating the Catholic experience through the culture and spirituality of others. Donna Grimes and Fr. Gerard Marable, Th.M. (M-F, 8:45-11:45 AM)


A Theology of ‘Black Lives Matter’ – Initiating the Conversation. This course explores the emergence and development of ‘Black Lives Matter’ into the new Civil Rights Movement. Drawing on a broad interdisciplinary team of Black leaders in theology, psychology, pastoral ministry, and community activism, course participants will ponder the personal and communal potential of ‘Black Lives Matter in an effort to garner meaningful resources and strategies that address challenges of today. Diana Hayes, Ph.D., Brian Turner, Ph.D., Manuel Williams, CR, Th.M., Heather Malveaux, MPH. (M-F, 8:45-11:45AM)


African American Spirituality. This course will survey African American spirituality; from its origin during slavery through its Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and Civil Rights Movements evolutions. The course will follow the expressions of this spirituality in music and in the Black Church, Catholic, and Protestant. Carey Dabney, Ph.D. Cand. (M-F, 1:45-4:45PM)


The Catholic Church: Forging a Path to Racial Justice. The US Bishops’ 2017 pastoral on racism calls for "a genuine conversion of heart... that will compel change and the reform of our institutions and society." This course aims to prepare students to constructively engage on issues of race and racial justice in parishes, dioceses, and the broader community. It will draw on community organizing principles and frameworks to unpack the consequences of institutional/structural racism and discern a way forward for the American Catholic community. Megan Black, M.Div. (M-F, 1:45-4:45PM)


Preaching from the Pews. We often hear that ineffective preaching is a challenge in our communities. This course will offer approaches for the laity to help clergy become better preachers and strategies to help clergy reinforce their preaching skills! We hope to rekindle the fire in the pulpit with the fire in the pews! Fr. Manuel Williams, CR, Th.M. (M-F, 1:45-4:45 PM)


Week 2: July 6- July 10, 2020

A Theology of ‘Black Lives Matter (BLM)’ Continued. This course will deepen the conversation begun in Black Lives Matter: Initiating the Conversation. We will explore the development of the movement, issues to be addressed, and whether the Catholic Church can contribute to the conversation. We will do this through the lenses of a theologian, psychologist, social activist and pastor using texts and videos as appropriate. Diana Hayes, Ph.D., Brian Turner, Ph.D., Manuel Williams, CR, Th.M., Heather Malveaux, MPH. (M-F, 8:45-11:45AM)


Steppin’ in the Name of Love: Journeying with African American Youth. This course proposes culturally relevant and practical strategies for assisting African American youth to identify their gifts, to make life-giving choices and to embrace their call as part of the heritage and the potential of the Christian community. Both new and veteran youth ministers, catechists, and teachers will find engaging ways to effectively accompany their youthful sojourners on the road of faith. Valerie Shields (M-F, 8:45-11:45 AM)


Resistance and the Scriptures 

In the spirit of Sr. Thea Bowman - "Y’all walkin’ wid us, Church? Are you with us?" - and a reverent nod to history, social context, and language, we will search Scripture for meaning, import, and relevance for the Black Catholic community. Our interpretations will celebrate us— our journey, freedom, and demand for justice now. Debra Brittenum (M-F, 1:45-4:45pm)


Liturgy for Lay Ministers. Whether you serve as a Eucharistic minister, choir member or another role at Mass, understanding the liturgy will enhance your spiritual experience at that of the community. In this session, students will explore the spirituality of liturgy and the call to liturgical service, focusing on the skills and resources required to serve well. We will examine Catholic guidelines and directives for eucharistic and non-eucharistic worship and the necessity of cultural adaptation. Rawn Harbor, M.T.S. (M-F, 1:45-4:45 PM)


The Mission of Discipleship—Lay Leaders in the 21st Century. The goal of this course is to develop and enhance ministry skills in parish lay ministers. Students will become familiar with the various elements of the Church’s hierarchy and parish administrative processes, including setting and achieving goals, organization, delegation, human relations, group dynamics, supervision and the training of other leaders. The objective of the course is to develop a strategic plan for implementation in the student’s local parish community. Carey Dabney, Ph.D. Cand. (M-F, 1:45-4:45PM)


Week 3: July 13-July 17, 2020

The Elders Retreat. African American Elders (age 55+) are invited to a week of prayer, reflection, discussion, recreation, and renewal. Come celebrate the legacy of elders in the Black Catholic community. Let the Spirit revive, renew, and keep you ready to share the wisdom that continues to sustain our community. Chaplain Thelma Lucas, Th.M. (M-F, 9:00-11:45 AM, 2:00-4:00 PM – Limited Registration)


Race and the Catholic Imagination. This course will focus on the four documents on racism written by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. Students will analyze the advances and weaknesses in each and discuss ways that communities might respond with strategies and plans to address the persistent presence and pressure of racism today. Carey Dabney, Ph.D. Cand. (M-F, 8:45-11:45 AM)


Going PLACES with Catechesis. This course reviews LACES, the foundational goals of Africentric catechesis (Liberation, Affirming Blackness, Conversion, Evangelization and Synthesizing the Sacred and Secular). We will explore how to incorporate LACES into parish programs, as well as how to use LACES to evaluate existing catechetical strategies and resources and/or create new ones based on these goals. Sharon Winchester (M-F, 8:45-11:45 AM)


The African Diaspora: Finding a Way Beyond “Us and Them”. This seminar will focus on the diversity of black cultures in our U.S. communities and how differences often complicate relations among people of African descent. We will explore Black experiences of racial colonialization in Africa and slavery in America to better understand how these shape African and African American cultural identity. This is an important and timely conversation for the future of black Catholicism in the USA. Rev. Kwame Assenyoh, Ph.D. Cand. (M-F, 1:45- 4:45PM)


The Arts and Christian Ministry. In this course, students will explore the role of the arts in the ongoing dialogue between culture and faith that finds expression in daily life, worship and ministry. Louise Mouton Johnson, MFA (M-F, 1:45-4:45 PM)


* Updated course descriptions pending



IBCS Commencement 2019