Black Catholic Initiative

Black Catholic Initiative Radio

Tuesdays: 8 – 8:30 a.m.

Deacon James Norman hosts this weekly half-hour program that explores a wide range of topics relevant to Chicago’s Black and Catholic communities. Deacon Norman is the Vicar for Deacons for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The program is produced under the auspices of the Archbishop of Chicago’s Black Catholic Initiative.

Fat Luther, Slim Pickins

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Co-author, Marcia Lane McGhee, discusses her book “Fat Luther, Slim Pickins”. A fresh look at faith and the Catholic Church from the perspective of Black women navigating relationships, motherhood, careers and a meaningful relationship with Christ and His Church

Tolton Spirituality Center

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Deacon James Norman talks with Valerie Jennings, Executive Director of the Tolton Spirituality program about the Tolton Spirituality Center.

Tolton Speaks: The Upcoming Premiere

Tuesday, March 12, 2024
David Warren, filmmaker and Valerie Jennings, Executive Director of the Tolton Spirituality Program, talk about the premiere of Tolton Speaks, the movie about the life and challenges of Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton.

Making The Tolton Movie

Tuesday, February 27, 2024
David Warren, filmmaker and Valerie Jennings, Executive Director of the Tolton Spirituality Program, discuss the making of the movie exposes the life and challenges of Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton.

Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union (CTU)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Host Fr. Michael Trail invites Kimberly Lymore on to the program to talk about the Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union (CTU).

Black Catholic History Month

Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Host Fr. Michael Trail has a conversation with Shannon Schmidt about November being Black Catholic History Month.

25 Years of Ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago

Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Host Fr. Matt O'Donnell talks with retired auxliiary bishop Joseph Perry about his 25 years in ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Reflections from the National Black Catholic Congress

Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Host Fr. Michael Trail and Fr. Matt O'Donnell talk about the experience of attending the National Black Catholic Congress.

Catholic Education in the African American Community

Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Host Fr. Michael Trail speaks with Dr. Denise Spells about Catholic Education in the African American community

An Update on the Black Catholic Initiative

Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Host Fr. Michael Trail talks to Fr. Matt O'Donnell about what is happening within the Black Catholic Initiative in Chicago.

Spelman College Glee Club Performances in the Chicago Area

Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Host Fr. Michael Trail talks to Fr. David Jones about the Spelman College Glee Club performing at Sacred Heart Church in Winnetka and St. Benedict the African Church in Chicago.

Vocations to the Priesthood in the Black Community

Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Host Fr. Michael Trail talks to his guest, Fr. Fr. John McKenzie from the Archdiocese of Detroit about the vocation of Priesthood in the Black community.

Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary and the Archbishop James P. Lyke African American Male Image Awards.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Fr. Michael Trail talks with Bobbie Levy, Tanya Woods and Louis Mauldin about the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary and the Archbishop James P. Lyke African American Male Image Awards. Visit

Black Catholics at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica

Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Host Fr. Michael Trail speaks with Fr. Chris Krymski, OSM - Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica about the Black Catholic ministry at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica.

The Ministry of St. Moses the Black

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Fr. Michael Trail sits down with Fr. Matt O’Donnell to discuss the ministry being done at St. Moses the Black parish.

National Black Catholic Congress XIII: A Prophetic Call to Thrive

Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Fr. Michael Trail talks with Valerie Jennings about the National Black Catholic Congress.

Youth and Young Adults in the Black Catholic Community

Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Fr. Michael Trails talks with Kiandra Boyd, Tolton Scholar at Catholic Theological Union, about youth and young adults in the Black Catholic Community.

Getting to Know Fr. Carl Gales

Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Fr. Michael Trail spends time in conversation with Fr. Carl Gales, SVD. Fr. Gales was just recently ordained a priest.

Praying for Peace at the Sunrise Prayer Service

Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Fr. Michael Trail is the new host of the Black Catholic Initiative program. Today Fr. Trail speaks with Deacon LeRoy Gill and Fr. Bob Kelly, SVD about the annual Sunrise Prayer Service that takes place on the lakefront of Chicago


Sunday, July 14, 2019
Deacons Leroy Gill, James Norman, and Roscoe Dixon shared the beginnings on the Sunrise Prayer Service scheduled for August 2019. Each of them shared their memorable moments and also the difficult challenges trying to curb violence among our youth.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Bre Bullock, the gifted entrepreneur behind B'unek design among other talents, shared her faith, drive, and passion amidst a busy work schedule and pursuits of establishing T. G. B. (Thankful, Grateful, and Blessed) and Angel's in Motion. She was supported by her close partnership/family supporters Tara Harris and Shawn Logan.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Sean Flynn was the guest on today's program. Sean is coordinater for youth programming at Distinctive Schools. He is also an accomplished author of a self published book containing advice on mentoring youth. Sean shared his humble beginnings, his exciting new challenge with Distinctive Schools and his thoughts on the family and youth of today.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Today's guest Professor Ted Williams from Kennedy King College shared his passion for God's people and his Juneteenth sneak preview and ultimate production in August.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Clara Hubbard is a senior citizen advocate and talk show host who provides a plethora of services and activities for seniors and shares with our community how they can get involved and keep up to date.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Abraham Morris, Director of the Dax Program for Depaul U.S.A., talked to us about the student homelessness program and the offerings for Depaul students to attend school while providing them with housing. Next week they will be having their annual fundraiser to help support the needs of the Chicago area homeless community that affects students nationally with a population of approximately 58,000 students.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Demetra Willis spoke with us and shared her investment opportunities for listeners and a few wise words for listeners looking an opportunity to grow financially and spiritually


Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Today we revisit our guest from two weeks ago. Sister Jamie Phelps shared with us some symptoms that have led to fractured families and communities and she offers practical advice to improve our relationships in both the family and the church.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Dr. Andrew Prevot, associate professor of Theology at Boston College in Massachusetts, was our guest for this program. He is conducting a lecture at the University Of Chicago on Thursday, May 9th 2019 at the Common Room in Swift Hall. Dr. Prevot is speaking on The Hope of Exodus in Black and Womanist Theology. He also shared with us his Catholic upbringing, as well as hopes and resources that expand the thought and current theories for blacks to be liberated and freed.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Sister Jamie Phelps was our guest today and she shared with us her diagnosis of improved health as well as her humorous side while experiencing the aging process. She shared her thoughts on the significance of bible study for building family and community while asking questions like "Who is God?" "Who is He to you?" and "What does He desire us to do?


Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Christopher Mallett joined us today and talked about his New Coaching and Community Director position at Hope Academy. He just finished up 9-0 at Whitney Young H.S. and improved their program for his replacement.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Albert Anderson is a band director, musician, and Sir Knight of Knights of Columbus. He is an accomplished musican who has played around the globe. He is married for 45 yrs and attributes that to his freedom to be who he is as a musician. Albert is currently finishing up a new CD release and developing a podcast on YouTube called "The Seed Group."


Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Naomi Palacios, outreach coordinator for Augustus Tolton Catholic Academy, was our guest this morning. She has a rich Catholic heritage and father who is famous in Guatemala having played in the Olympics and International basketball for the Guatemala national team. Naomi is a talented violinist and dancer and feels her calling to listen and be kind to people is one of the skills she learned from her family. She is also interested in helping and supporting black businesses to succeed.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019
On today's program the Reverend Gerald Jordan shared with us his ministry of promoting the 5 black candidates for Sainthood, and he shared their individual battles and triumphs. He also shared his feelings regarding the church's silence on the significant contribution each candidate gifted to the church. Finally he expressed his only goal or desire was to seek the kingdom of God and His heavenly glory.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Carol Reed is the owner and C.E.O. of Special Friend Careers, which is a Medical Field training program specializing in Phlebotomy and X-ray technicians. She feels God preserved her life beyond stage 4 cancer to provide jobs for people, and that companies are always looking for these valuable services.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Jordan Little talked about an app he created called Community CupLift. It's an application that assists businesses, not for profits, and individuals gather resources to provide assistance for a myriad of reasons and so much more. Currently, Jordan is an account representative for Career Builders but from the way it looks he is also building his own career towards entrepreneurship.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Ed Crosby is a Radio DJ, entrepreneur, and life coach. He shared with us his humble beginnings on Chicago's westside. His interest as a DJ began when he was 13 years old, and he was mentored by Kenny "Jammin'" Jason, who he is still friends with to this day. He was called by God to gospel music and has since founded the Prayze Cafe where he is the Program Director of Gospel Music.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019
On today's program Principal Phillip Bazil of Augustus Tolton Academy discussed his path to being the principal at the newly formed school. He praised his great staff and student body and they have taken the Academic bowl two years straight. He's looking to create scholars and saints while incorporating a balanced S.T.R.E.A.M. curriculum at ATA. Principal Bazil is also a loving father of three boys who love sharing memorable times together.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Today's program concludes our celebration of Black History Month with 7th grade and 8th grade students Shakira Luster and Kiriana Williams of St. Ethelreda Elementary school. Shakira was taught chess by her dad Eric Luster who is also St. Ethelreda school's chess coach. Shakira ranks in the 100 of her age class in the United States. Kiriana recently competed and won a tournament regionally. Both girls are great students who are ambitious and goal oriented. They enjoy a normal child's life but have other interests that are strongly supported by their parents. We are hopeful that their interests takes them far and that they continue to excel in the game of chess.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Today's interviews continue the Black History Month celebration. First we had Ronald Guhl, hair stylist and Foster father of 6 boys whom raised alone. He shared his faith story with us. Later in the program, Hales Franciscan student Deonta Anderson shared information regarding the Hales Franciscan clothing drive.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019
The guest on this program was Creola Hampton, President of Greaterworks Integrated Communications, Inc. She is an accomplished communications guru with a vast history of improving clients' return on their investment for her services. She is married and has three daughters who are achieving even greater works, making her another great example and reason to celebrate Black History Month.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019
McLane Lomax was our guest to kick off black history month. He and his wife share a lecture ministry at St. Catherine/St. Lucy parish in Oak Park and they have four children. He's an entrepreneur who represents both Colonial Life and Obama Energy, whose founder has created an innovative smart street light pole, thus continuing the legacy of great black inventors.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Today's guest was Ed Burns, teacher at St. Ailbe elementary school. He shared the history of Catholic Schools Week and the history of St. Ailbe. We we're also joined by students Micah, Zachary, and Daryl who shared their experiences at St. Ailbe and their hopes of furthering their education at a Catholic high school.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Andrew Lyke was our guest this morning. Andrew talked about his battle with Leukemia and his body's reaction to the bone marrow transplant he received. Despite this Andrew sees his illness as a gift and, along with his wife Terry, is struggling to become active again with their marriage ministry and a voice to heal racial tension. He his grateful and blessed by his village of supporters and loves to be involved with hosting Karaoke events.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Todays guest, Fr. Paul Whittington, spoke to us about his upbringing and decision to become a priest. Fr. Paul also spoke about his transition to St. Katharine Drexel Church and the Renew my Church initiative.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Yesterday we interviewed President Anthony Daniels-Halisi of Hales Franciscan High School. He shared with us his family upbringing, his parents' pivotal relationship and connection to the beginning of the Kwanza celebration. As president of Hales Franciscan high school he is determined to live out those principles with his students in Bronzeville's historically black community.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Valarie Jennings and Deacon James Norman updated us on Renew My Church initiatives. They discussed the difficulties and realities of "change", but they also recognized the necessity of making the Catholic Church stronger and more viable for everyone in the future.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Our guest Monica Chapman, a young adult candidate with the Archdiocese, spoke with us about her influences in life and her work as a mentor. She also spoke about being a mentee with Theology on Tap and her selection into the Coalesce program and being chosen to receive a prestigious award. Finally, she shares her thoughts on how one could get started mentoring to others.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Today's guest, Tom Drexler, is Executive Director of Ignation Spirituality Project. It works to end homelessness by providing Ignation retreats to men and women who are homeless. They are partnering with The Chicago Coalition for Homeless who offers a 12 step program, Harmony , Hope, & Healing, which offers music and counseling among other services, and Old St. Patrick Church who will be providing the church for the event, and Franciscan Outreach who provides housing and meals. There is an event next Tuesday, December 18th at 6:30pm at Old St. Patrick Church, called Memorial for the Homeless. It is an interfaith mass service to support the Homeless throughout Chicago.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Todays guest Candace Anderson joined and updated us on the homeless services that DePaul U.S.A. provides in the Chicago area. On a personal note she shares the tragic story about her son whom she lost to gun violence and how she is coping with his loss.
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