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The SCDC is given the mandate to assist the bishops in instilling the vision of Encuentro 2000 and Ecclesia in America throughout the Church with the goal of bringing all the culturally and racially diverse communities, including European Americans, into a fuller participation in the faith, life, and evangelizing mission of the Church. Of special importance are the opportunities, challenges, and pastoral implications of promoting diversity awareness within and among the various USCCB committees, USCCB offices, and communities at large by working collaboratively with all the committees of the Conference, with bishops and their dioceses, and with national and regional organizations that serve the needs of the faithful throughout the country. This includes several specialized ministries serving the pastoral needs of those with limited resources, such as recently arrived immigrants, migrant workers, refugees and travelers.
We live at a time when the encounter of languages, races, and cultures is more intense than ever. Mass media, especially the Internet, travel, immigration, and an increasingly globalized economy are bringing people
together more and more. The experience of diversity is therefore more characteristic of our times and brings
with it serious challenges and great opportunities. Diversity is a fact, a growing reality, in the United States and in virtually all areas of the globe. Jesus Christ commanded his followers "to teach all nations." The Catholic Church, precisely because it is "catholic"—that is, "universal"— has always taken this command seriously. So the Church's mission to evangelize, or proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to advance the Kingdom of God is centered on the encounter of faith with cultures and on the promotion of justice. This is a process of conversion characterized by dialogue. In this process the Church both gives from its treasure of faith and receives from the
distinctive humanity of each and every culture. As Church history indicates, the Church cannot be focused on its mission to evangelize without being more and more an expert in diversity (see Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation On Evangelization in the Modern World [Evangelii Nuntiandi]).
The value of culture for the life of humanitySaint John's proclamation that the Word became flesh reveals the inseparable bond between God's word and the human words by which he communicates with us. In this context the Synod Fathers considered the relationship between the word of God and culture. God does not reveal himself in the abstract, but by using languages, imagery and expressions that are bound to different cultures. This relationship has proved fruitful, as the history of the Church abundantly testifies. Today it is entering a new phase due to the spread of the Gospel and its taking root within different cultures, as well as more recent developments in the culture of the West. It calls in the first place for a recognition of the importance of culture as such for the life of every man and woman. The phenomenon of culture is, in its various aspects, an essential datum of human experience. "Man lives always according to a culture which is properly his, and which in turn creates among persons a bond which is properly theirs, one which determines the inter-human and social character of human existence". More
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