In 1966 the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the order of Priests and Brothers whose mission is to minister to Black Catholics, proposed that a Center be established to develop a Josephite Social Action Department to meet the needs of the poor in education, employment, housing and family life.
Father Robert Kearns, SSJ, the Center’s first Director, expanded upon these ideas and in September 1968, he opened the doors of the Josephite Pastoral Center in one of the small basement rooms of the St. Joseph Seminary. Eighteen months later, the Center moved upstairs into the space that for 40 years had been the Seminary Chapel.
Over the years, the Pastoral Center has sponsored Religious Educational workshops, leadership workshops, liturgical ministers’ workshops, Parish council workshops, assist in the development of the curriculum for one of the First Permanent Diaconate training programs in the united States, developed lecture series and conferences for priests, sisters, seminarians and laymen & women, researched and prepared a Statistical Analysis of Black Catholics in the United States and produces the only African American History & Heritage Catholic Calendar.
Today the goal of the Josephite Pastoral Center remains the same- to make concrete what Pope Paul VI stated, “The gift of blackness must enrich the Church.”