NEW ORLEANS — The 41st session of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS), a graduate theology program and school of pastoral ministry that meets each summer, will convene at Xavier University as scheduled and run from Sunday, June 28, through Friday, July 17, but due to the public health emergency presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic, this year’s session — classes and Community Life — will be conducted online, according to Kathleen Dorsey Bellow, director of the Institute.
The theme for 2020 — "Hold Up the Light: Authentically Black and Truly Catholic" — is a call for the IBCS community to press on in new ways to accomplish the mission for which it was created: to form theologically- and culturally-competent Christian disciples to evangelize the world through God's gift of black culture. New and returning students are encouraged to apply online and check the IBCS website frequently for program updates.
The IBCS staff has been working in collaboration with many others in preparation for that day. The staff consists of Program Specialist Dana Lockett and Bellow. Others include Associate Director for the Degree Program, Dr. Kirk Gaddy; Associate Director for the Continuing Education & Enrichment (C&E) Programs, Dr. Eva Lumas, S.S.S.; Associate Director for Community Life, Dr./Fr. Roy Lee, Ms. Gwendolyn Young, Ms. Angela Hollier and Fr. Manuel Williams.
The IBCS website https://www.xula.edu/ibcs continues to be updated with revised program details and course information. Work continues to promote the 2020 Degree, the C&E programs, as well as unique ways for the IBCS at-large to participate in Community Life. Fr. Roy and the team are busily planning how to incorporate the prayer, worship and celebration aspects that make the IBCS formation holistic.
Xavier's Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) is working with IBCS faculty via the ZOOM platform on alternative methods of delivering instruction that will allow programs to maintain the intimate and interactive learning environment that supports the rigorous instruction that takes place in the typical IBCS classroom setting. CAT staff will also provide a training module to help orient students to the Xavier University system of remote learning. They will be available during the institute session to provide instructional support as needed.
Degree students apply through the XULA Graduate School: https://gradapply.xula.edu/apply. Students are urged to apply/reapply using the C&E links on the website. Returning C&E students: https://gradapply.xula.edu/register/lBCS_CE_READMIT. New C&E students should apply using this link: https://gradapply.xula.edu/register/IBCS_CE_NEW.
The IBCS Program application links and the link to the Scholarship Application are live and working. Please note that the regular application process deadline has been extended. Students will be eligible to apply for a scholarship during the regular application process. Consideration will only be given to those applicants who have completed the program application and submitted all supporting documentation for the scholarship request. IBCS donors are generous but scholarship funds are limited.
From its inception in 1980, the IBCS is the first and primary national center for the study of the Black Catholic experience. Its mission is to form culturally competent Christian disciples — scholars, administrators, clergy and religious, seminarians, parish and diocesan ministers, church volunteers, and the faithful — to effectively evangelize in the 21st century. The constituent programs of the Institute 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.
The Master of Theology Program features interdisciplinary courses that apply Black approaches, critiques and contributions to systematic and pastoral theologies, ministry, aesthetics and education. It equips students with methodological tools for critical understanding, analysis and evaluation.
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.