The Center promotes Catholic teaching, Catholic spiritual formation and leadership development, including advocacy for justice and racial equity concerns within the Black Catholic Community and for all who collaborate with them, in accord with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Center is named after Charles Lwanga, a leader among a group of 22 young men from Uganda who were martyred between 1885 and 1886 for their faith rather than compromise their Christian beliefs. Pope Paul VI canonized them in 1964.
The need was recognized for a house or center of spirituality within the African American Community. Around 1976-1979 various people along with the staff of the former Most Blessed Sacrament Parish decided to take a walk in faith. They ventured to explore the possibility of using the former convent for Blessed Sacrament and other apostolates in the area as a house of spiritual formation and leadership development for African Americans. The pastor of the former Most Blessed Sacrament Parish was instrumental in bringing priests/religious and laity together to formulate a plan to make it happen.
The Center was formally established in 1978. It was important that as many parishes as possible were represented in this new venture, which led several area parishes to agree to sponsor the efforts of the Center. To date there are 11 sponsoring parishes. In consultation with the Ordinary of the time, Archbishop Robert Carlson, The Board of Directors ratified a revised Constitution and Bylaws in April, 2017, recognizing and affirming the expanded scope of the Center. As such, the St. Charles Lwanga Center, while retaining its proper name and symbol also became known as the Archdiocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministries. The Board of Directors continues the vision of the reconstituted St. Charles Lwanga Center.
The Center practices a spirit of collaborative Christianity dedicated to helping to build up the Body of Christ as we serve God in the St. Louis Archdiocese and by extension, the world.
20 Archbishop May Drive
St. Louis, MO 63119
20 Archbishop May Drive | St. Louis, MO 63119 | 314.792.7005