One Church Many Cultures The Good News of Cultural Diversity Fall/Winter 2020 Issue


The Church Must Enter into Dialogue with The World in Which it Lives

By: Marilyn Santos, Associate Director, United States Conference of Catholic Bishop, Secretariat of Evangelization & Catechesis

Marilyn Santos

One of my many favorite sections in the new Directory for Catechesis expresses: 

At the school of the wonderful dialogue of salvation that is Revelation, the Church understands ever better how she is called to dialogue with the people of her time. “The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it lives. It has something to say, a message to give, a communication to make.” — Directory for Catechesis 53

My participation in the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity’s Journeying Together initiative has been a wonderful experience of exactly what the Directory tells us, that we, the Church, must enter dialogue with our world. It does not say some members or part of the Church but quite clearly the entire Church. The Four-Step process of Journeying Together is connecting young adults and ministry leaders within their individual ethnic communities as an opportunity to explore key issues from their unique cultural experiences and realities. Participants will develop recommendations and concrete steps for the Church’s engagement with young people which respect, value and honor their gifts and struggles in a renewed spirit of solidarity and synodality.

The same section goes on to say:  

This vocation, which has its root in the mystery of God who in Jesus enters into intimate dialogue with humanity, takes shape from precisely this dialogue, assuming its characteristics. Dialogue is a free and gratuitous initiative, takes its cues from love, is not commensurate with the merits of its participants, is not binding, is for all without distinctions and grows in a gradual way. At the present time, this dialogue—with society, with cultures and sciences, with every other believer—is particularly required as a valuable contribution to peace. — Directory for Catechesis 53

Inspired by Pope Francis’ Christus Vivit, the Journeying Together process is providing the space and opportunity for bishops, young people, and ministry leaders to enter into these intimate dialogues as they meet, listen to, engage, collaborate with, and celebrate young people of all cultures.

We have been blessed with our young Church’s’ willingness and honesty as they have demonstrated a desire toward the search for meaning, solidarity, social engagement. While some may not be able to fully articulate all the tenets of the faith, their enthusiasm, desire to learn more, to participate actively and not as spectators in the life of Church as missionary disciples, and witness of authentic prayer lives have proved to be evangelizing moments not only for their peers but for ministry leaders as well.

While in my role with Journeying Together is as a Core Team and Planning Team member I have been witnessed to and reminded of the special, co-responsible contribution young people make to evangelization and catechesis. Or as the Holy Father prefers us to refocus, to an evangelizing catechesis.