Washington Auxiliary Bishop Roy E. Campbell Jr. has been elected president of the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC), succeeding Bishop John Ricard, the retired bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee and the former rector of the Josephite Seminary in Washington.

Bishop Campbell will assume his role as NBCC president on April 1.

“The National Black Catholic Congress helps the broader Catholic Church to see the value of black Catholics and what they offer to the Church,” Bishop Campbell said. “To the extent that I can continue to promote and help come up with ways to help that cause, I am excited.”

With its national headquarters in Baltimore, the NBCC works with member organizations across the country to serve African-American Catholics and evangelize un-churched African Americans. Every five years, the NBCC convenes a congress that is preceded by “days of reflection” in individual dioceses. At the national congress, a plan of action is established for the next five years.

The first gatherings of black Catholics in the United States were held in the late 1880s to early 1890s, Bishop Campbell said, “but then it seems to have been on an extended hiatus.” He noted that the NBCC was formed in 1985 to reestablish and revive outreach to black Catholics.

The NBBC “represents to the larger Catholic community the faith of black Catholics around this country put into action through various projects and various works,” Bishop Campbell said. “This is the faith of a people who will not be shaken and who have in many cases weathered the storm of not being very visible in the Church, but still profess the Catholic faith in their daily lives.”

Bishop Campbell also praised his predecessor, Bishop Ricard, saying, “with his continued help, the Congress will be an advocate for black Catholics in the United States and the organizations that promote education and social ministries and spiritual activities. We will continue to work to help those who strive to put their Catholic faith in action.”

Born Nov. 19, 1947, in Pomonkey in Charles County, Southern Maryland, to Roy Edward Campbell, Sr. and Julia Ann (Chesley) Campbell, Bishop Campbell moved as a small child with his family to Washington, where he, his mother and siblings were members of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart Parish in Northwest.

He was baptized at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Indian Head, Maryland; received his First Holy Communion in 1956 at St. Cyprian Church in Southeast Washington; and the Sacrament of Confirmation in 1959 at Sacred Heart Church.

He attended Sacred Heart School and is a 1965 graduate of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington.

A graduate of Howard University and the University of Virginia’s Graduate School of Retail Bank Management, he had a 33-year career with Bank of America, working his way up from teller to vice president and project manager. In the 1980s, he served for five years on the Board of Directors of the American Lung Association of Maryland.

After retiring from banking, he was ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2007, and in 2017, was ordained as a bishop for his home diocese.

As he assumes his new role, Bishop Campbell will continue as auxiliary bishop of Washington and pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Largo.

“I am still here and will continue to do what I have been doing, but I will be busy,” he said.