What's New and Key Documents

New! The Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church Fall/Winter newsletterOne Church Many Cultures: The Good News of Cultural Diversity. This resource covers new initiatives, programs, news, and much more! 

  Fall/Winter 2020 Issue

Full PDF / Below are the individual articles

Cultural Family Articles:

Ministry Partners:

Journey Together Initiative - Is now online. Go to the web page to learn about the new process. 

A letter from Bishop Nelson J. Pérez, Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, shares some thoughts with a Message to the Voice and Vision Summi National Summit for Ministries with Young Adults at Franciscan University

New Resource! Two River Report on Catholic Native American Culture and Ministry about the two rivers of Native American Catholic faith and cultures that flow into one. In the report, you will find an updated study from CARA concerning Native American ministry, both in terms of challenges and opportunities. The report also examines the gifts of Catholic Native American ministry.

Approved Documents

CHAIRMAN’S REFLECTION

We are Journeying Together!

By: Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, Archbishop of Philadelphia, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church

Hope. Peace and healing. A desire to connect with each other, a need for community and a sense of belonging, a thirst to hear more about the things of God, which sometimes they don’t know where to find. These are some of the things I am hearing and experiencing by walking together with hundreds of young adults of the most diverse cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, from across the country in this wonderful synodal experience called Journeying Together.

Thanks to all the young people, the youth ministers, campus ministers, bishops and others who have said yes to the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church’s invitation! Your voice is important in the Church.

The pandemic, political and social strife and persistent expressions of hate, racism and discrimination have affected us in many and often tragic ways over the past year.  But all of it has not been able to stop this intercultural process of encounter for young people and those who accompany them. Our virtual gatherings and the mutual accompaniment we are experiencing through them, come at an incredibly important time in our nation’s history. It is my hope that we will continue to have honest conversations with young people on issues impacting them and their peers, their experiences of faith and life, and also on how we can move ahead on these important questions of race, culture, and community.

Pope Francis encouraged us to do just this in his apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit. In this letter addressed to young people and those who walk with them, he told us to boldly set out and take risks, to engage in real dialogue and deep listening, and to propose new ways and new methods for entering the future, in our Church and in our society. 

Pope Francis wanted us – the bishops, the young people, the laity, and the ordained ministers – to walk side by side in this process. In so doing, we would “nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken prophecies, and enable hope to blossom. Together,” he said, “we can learn from one another, warm hearts, inspire minds with the light of the Gospel, and lend new strength to our hands.” (CV 199) It’s a beautiful description of what we are doing in Journeying Together.

The Church calls this process “synodality.” It is based in a Greek word that conveys the notion of a caravan or pilgrimage. Pope Francis told us: “ministry has to be synodal; it should involve a ‘journeying together’… toward a participatory and co-responsible Church, one capable of appreciating its own rich variety… no one should be excluded or exclude themselves.” (CV 206)

We have been very intentional about making sure every cultural family has their voice represented and a seat at the table as we journey together. In this caravan, we have so much to offer one another – and to the whole world. Hopefully, this experience will allow us to discover where the Lord is calling us to go next.

A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

A blog post from the desk of the Executive Director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church

Mar Munoz-Visoso, Executive Director SCDC

Journeying Together as Brothers and Sisters  

By: Mar Muñoz-Visoso, MTS

At a recent international conference, Cardinal Michael Czerny of the Vatican’s Section on Migrants and Refugees was asked about his take on Pope Francis’ newest encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti (on human fraternity and social friendship). The Cardinal highlighted several aspects particularly relevant to him and to his work in responding to the plight of migrants. But it was his overall evaluation of the encyclical that caught my attention the most.

“If you think of the significance of Rerum Novarum (1891) from Pope Leo XIII on the rights and duties of capital and labor, or Pacem in Terris from Pope John XXIII (1963) advising a post-war world that peace between all peoples must be based on truth, justice, love and freedom, at the time when they were issued, then, Fratelli Tutti would be the equivalent for our time.” Cardinal Czerny’s weighty comparison set high expectations in me and made me want to dive into it as soon as it was out.

In my humble opinion, he was not wrong or remotely exaggerating. It will take a while to dissect it completely —there is a lot to digest there. But even at this early stage, it is easy to recognize that in Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis is offering a weary world, and not just Catholics, the Church’s teaching and the medicine that it desperately needs at this junction.

The pope reminds us of the basic tenets of Catholic social teaching on human dignity, our vocation to love one another and our call to universal friendship, the nature and root of social conflict, and our duty to seek and work towards the common good of all. He encourages us, in imitation of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint that inspired both Laudato Si’ and Fratelli, to sow “seeds of peace” wherever we go and “spread the love of God” which knows no boundaries.

By now we have grown accustomed to Pope Francis’ “synodal way”, which he applies not only to meetings but also to his writings. He quotes extensively from magisterial teachings, including his own and that of prior pontiffs, Fathers of the Church, bishops and conferences from around the world, and also from ground-breaking joint efforts with brothers and sisters of other faiths, such us the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together (Abu Dhabi 2019), letting them speak for themselves. He offers a great summary of his own thoughts on the topic gathered from various messages, speeches, and writings during his pontificate.

Fratelli Tutti encourages us to continue along this synodal pathway of listening and accompanying one another. Judging by the way Catholic young adults and ministry leaders in the United States are responding to it through the Journeying Together process of encounter, inspired by the Holy Father’s exhortation Christus Vivit, this “walking alongside” one another is healing a lot of wounds, bringing different people together in the midst of an ongoing pandemic in previously unimagined ways, and creating many new friendships that will bear much fruit for the future of the Church and for society.

Mandate


The mandate of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, and its corresponding Secretariat, is to be present on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference to the many cultures, ethnicities and races that today constitute the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The goal is to encourage the inclusion and fuller participation of all God's People in the life and ministry of the Church by building up their Catholic identity and spirit of unity in diversity.

Throughout the United States we experience profound demographic shift as Hispanics, Asians, Africans, Caribbean people, and many other communities of non-European origin are on the rise. Today, as ever, the Church's mission to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and promote the life and dignity of each and every human being has much to do with insight into cultures. Catholic parishes are moving from mono-cultural patterns to ones we call "shared," that is, to parishes in which more than one language, racial or cultural group seek to celebrate the Eucharist and embody Christian community. For ministers and pastoral workers to be effective in this diverse environment, the right knowledge, attitudes and skills need to be developed.

Our Intercultural Competencies page explains the five competencies that were defined by the U.S. bishops in making “Recognition of Cultural Diversity in the Church” one of their priorities. The manual Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers has been developed and can be found online or obtained in print from USCCB's Store. If interested in hosting or organizing a training, please contact Yolanda Taylor-Burwell at @email or 202-541-3152.

The Secretariat of Cultural Diversity is also looking for opportunities to partner with Catholic colleges and universities, and other institutions of higher education to disseminate the competency guidelines. Contact the Secretariat’s executive director, Mar Muñoz-Visoso, for information: @email or 202-541-3350.

Additional resources are available such as the study of Best Practices in Shared Parishes So That They Mall All Be One for pastors and their team. This resource was developed in consultation with and from the experience of nearly 20 pastors of multicultural/shared parishes from around the country. And "Creating a Culture of Encounte Guide for Joyful Missionary Disciples"This resource is an adaptation of the national Encuentro process with the main goal to discern ways in which the local church can better respond to those who live on the peripheries of society.

Just as with the first evangelization, the New Evangelization compels us to go and make disciples of all nations. In the United States of America, we do not need to go too far to find people “of all nations.” That’s our blessing and our challenge.

Sincerely,

Mar Muñoz-Visoso, MTS Executive Director