Message from the IBCS Director
Welcome to the Institute for Black Catholic Studies’ (IBCS) website! The IBCS is a very special academic, spiritually enriching and communal program. From its inception, the Institute has proved to be a unique venture. With its intimate academic association with Xavier University of Louisiana, IBCS is the first and primary national center for the study of the Black Catholic experience. The Institute’s constituent programs bring together theory and practice, systematic and pastoral theology, rigorous academic study and committed ministry, classroom learning and practical application, rural and urban ministerial concerns, the marketplace and the Church. Conceived in an interdisciplinary context, the various program components of the Institute advance a holistic appreciation of the human person. In critical appropriation of the African heritage of Black Catholics, the Institute is intentionally intergenerational and accords a place of special honor and respect to the Elders of our community. The Institute’s faculty is an outstanding group of nationally and internationally respected African American and African priests, vowed religious and laity who are pastoral leaders and educators, scholars and researchers. The IBCS strives in every way to meet the charge Pope Paul VI issued to Catholics of African descent – to enrich our Roman Catholic Church with our “precious and original contribution” of Blackness.
The IBCS experience for the Master of Theology degree (Th.M.) Program is currently an intensive three-week summer-based residential program on the campus of Xavier University in New Orleans. Some selected electives are now offered online throughout the academic year for those who seek to complete their degree sooner than the current five year time frame. The Th.M. degree offers academic courses that focus on Black approaches, critiques, and contributions to systematic and pastoral theologies, Sacred Scripture, preaching and liturgy, aesthetics, philosophy, education, morality, the social and behavioral sciences and catechetics. The Th.M. degree prepares those students who seek a holistic, interdisciplinary Black Catholic theological program to serve as theologically and culturally competent ordained, vowed religious or lay ecclesial ministers, teachers and or practitioners within the Black community.
The Continuing Education and Enrichment (C&E) Programs provides on-going education and formation for laywomen and men and pastoral ministers in Black Catholic communities. The areas of study center on the development of the whole person: spiritually, psychologically and emotionally. By offering one-week courses, the C&E Programs help participants explore new ministry interests, learn new skills, or engage in reflection on life’s realities. The C&E Programs offer a unique opportunity for individuals to grow in their understanding of Black Catholicism and its impact, not only on the wider Church, but also on themselves.
I invite you to prayerfully consider attending the Institute for Black Catholic Studies on the campus of Xavier University of Louisiana, the only historically Black and Catholic university in the western hemisphere founded by Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Come share our yearning for knowledge, our desire for spiritual enrichment, our quest to be culturally competent, and our commitment to serve the Church and Pan African communities.
Sincerely yours in the redeeming Christ,
Rev. Maurice J. Nutt, C.Ss.R., D.Min.