November marks the celebrations of Black Catholic History Month and Native American Heritage Month.

Rich with diversity, the members of the Catholic faith include many faces, but remains one, holy Catholic Church steeped in tradition. Something to celebrate! At the same time, cultural practices and expressions of faith which may differ from our own can cause tension and disturb the unity of the Church. In this tension, Catholics are challenged to a greater understanding of and appreciation for the various racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic expressions of our faith:

The celebration of the liturgy, therefore, should correspond to the genius and culture of the different peoples. In order that the mystery of Christ be “made known to all the nations . . . to bring about the obedience of faith,” it must be proclaimed, celebrated, and lived in all cultures in such a way that they themselves are not abolished by it, but redeemed and fulfilled: It is with and through their own human culture, assumed and transfigured by Christ, that the multitude of God’s children has access to the Father, in order to glorify him in the one Spirit. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1204

Black Catholic History Month

The Church has been celebrating Black Catholic History Month since 1990 when the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States started the initiative. November seemed appropriate because it holds special days for two prominent African Catholics: St. Augustine, whose birthday is on Nov. 13, and St. Martin de Porres, whose feast day is celebrated Nov. 3.


Most Rev. Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago presents “African American Saints in the Making” (Saint Benedict Institute, Oct. 18, 2023) – WATCH VIDEO
African American Catholics have a rich and complicated history. At present, there are three million African American Catholics in the United States. Six African American Catholics have active formal causes for sainthood before the Vatican. Some of these figures escaped slavery and others died as recently as 1990. Any one (or more) of them could become the first canonized African American saint. In this lecture, Bishop Perry discusses the path to sainthood for some of these important figures. 

WATCH: Sister Thea Bowman’s June 1989 address to the USCCB on Black Catholic Spirituality (YouTube)

National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC)

Knights of Peter Claver: Remember. Celebrate. Live. Black Catholic History Month

USCCB: African American affairs | Recommended reading on the experiences of African Americans |
On the Road to Sainthood – Leaders of African Descent

NCR: Stories of Black saints

Click here to contact diocesan director of Black Catholic Ministry, Father Godfrey Onyekwere.

Native American Heritage Month

National Native American Indian Heritage Month is designated for the month of November to celebrate the customs, traditions and accomplishments of Native peoples, the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States.


USCCB: Native American Affairs

About St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Click here to contact the interim diocesan director of Native American Ministry, DJ Florian.

Additional information:

Bishop Walkowiak declared Sept. 9, the feast of St. Peter Claver, as a day of prayer and fasting in the diocese for racial healing. Click here to watch his homily from Mass that evening and for additional resources on eradicating racism.

Cultural diversity in the Church

Open Wide our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love (U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter against racism)
USCCB releases prayer card series featuring six African Americans on the path to sainthood (View/order prayer cards)

Journeying Together is a process of dialogue and encounter focused on the Church’s ministry with youth and young adults that fosters understanding and trust within and across cultural families toward a more welcoming and just community of faith.