After 140 years, African-American priest leads Josephites

From The Republic:

It took 140 years for a religious community devoted to serving African-American Catholics to name a black priest as its leader.

He is the Rev. William Norvel, 76, a native of Mississippi, who was contemplating retirement before being chosen the 13th superior general of the Josephite Priests and Brothers. "It is about time," Deacon Al Turner, director of the Office of Black Catholics for the Washington Archdiocese, told Hamil R. Harris of The Washington Post.

There are 3 million African-American Catholics -- by any measure a significant number of Christians to be served, but fewer than 4 percent of the 77 million Catholics in America. Turner acknowledged that African-American Catholics "suffer from invisibility" in the church. The typical black congregation in America is Protestant.


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