The Rev. William Norvel was considering retirement after nearly 50 years of ministering to and advocating for African American inclusion in the Catholic Church.

But his fellow priests had a different idea. Several of them sat him down and made him an offer: Become the primary voice for the nation’s 3 million black Catholics.

Norvel, 76, had been a top-notch recruiter, spending five years in Nigeria persuading seminarians to come back to the United States. And in his most recent post, as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Anacostia, Norvel quashed a rebellion in which a vocal minority of parishioners had publicly defied the Archdiocese of Washington and called the previous white pastor a dictator and a bigot. >>read more



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