While several Wiltonians leave town for tropical venues to vacation this summer, Father Reginald Norman of Our Lady of Fatima parish traveled to Orlando, Fla., for higher callings.

The 12th National Black Catholic Congress was held on July 6 and ran for three days. The congress is held every five years, has more than 200 attendees, and has the purpose of “discussing and developing plans for black Catholics,” according to Norman, who served as the Episcopal Vicar for African American Catholics at the congress. His role is to engage and evangelize African Americans. He was appointed by Bishop Frank Caggiano, who revamped the position from the Director of the Apostolate of African Americans, which was also filled by Norman by order of Bishop William E. Lori.

One of the major events of the congress was the drafting of a Pastoral Plan Norman helped to create. He shared the preamble, which included several “action items,” such as:


  • Supporting the canonization of at least five men and women from the church;

  • Sharing the faith in creative ways such as social media (OLF has Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages);

  • Helping to face challenges outside of the church, such as mental illness, domestic violence, and mass incarceration.


Each day was different, but there was a basic schedule followed during the congress. Morning prayers were followed by general and breakout sessions about different issues or topics in faith, with a Eucharistic celebration and major events in the afternoon, concluding with night adoration and worship. People from all walks of life attended, coming together to pray and plan for the future.

Said Norman, “The awe-inspiring part for me was to see people from all over the world coming together, each bringing their own problems, challenges and concerns into a forum where they could be heard, appreciated and respected.

“These are people from Ferguson, Chicago and other places where their lives have been turned upside down and no one seems to care. To give them a voice and a hug is powerful,” he said.

Norman traveled to Florida early and managed to get a day off visiting Disney World where he picked up some Mickey Mouse ears for his nieces and nephews, and enjoyed seeing fireworks from Disney, Seaworld, and Universal from the Hyatt’s 15th floor on the Fourth.  

The next congress will be held in 2022. For more information on the congress and ways to support the mission, visit https://www.nbccongress.org.