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History of African-American Ministry in the Diocese of Beaumont

In 1986, a group of Black Catholics in the Diocese of Beaumont began meeting to prepare for the 1987 National Black Catholic Congress which was to be held in Washington, D.C. Commissioned by Bishop Bernard Ganter, this group met monthly to advise the bishop on programs that would benefit Black Catholics in the Diocese of Beaumont. Since the commission had direct contact with the bishop, the concept of an advisory commission worked well. The long term goals of the commission were twofold: to maintain a diocesan advisory commission and, at some point, to have a diocesan Office of African American Ministry.

The first advisory commission members were Leonard Broussard, James Carter, Nita Chavis, Murray Frank, John Freeman, W.B. Goudeau, Donald Henry, Michael Linden, Anne Monette, Sam Peterson, Eva Robinson, Shirley Ray, Gerald White and Rose Garnet. Father Louis Delarue served as the Spiritual Moderator for the Commission.

Having traveled to three National Black Catholic Congress gatherings, the commission members and delegates from the Diocese of Beaumont returned invigorated and ready to participate in activities being developed as an outgrowth of the Congress. With the support and encouragement of Bishop Joseph Galante, and acting on the advice of the African American Commission, an Office of African American Ministry for the Diocese of Beaumont opened in the summer of 1997. The first Director was Josie Curtis, a position she held until June 2005.

In December 2005, Linda Duhon-LaCour was hired as Executive Director for the Office of African American Ministry for the Diocese of Beaumont. During her tenure as Executive Director, Mrs. LaCour has sought to collaborate with pastors and parish leaders on areas of need for the individual, consortium of black parishes and the diocese as a whole. Currently, the African American Ministry is seeking to follow the mandate of Bishop Curtis Guillory, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to develop an evangelization model that will be spiritually inviting yet vigorously challenging to “throw out into the deep” and, thereby,  recapture our fallen away brothers and sisters and gather the unchurched to the Body of Christ.