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JOURNEYING TOGETHER: A NATIONAL CATHOLIC INTERCULTURAL ENCOUNTER FOR MINISTRIES WITH YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS 

Journeying Together is a process of dialogue and encounter focused on the Church’s ministry with youth and young adults that fosters understanding and trust within and across cultural families toward a more welcoming and just community of faith. 

  • Journeying Together is the USCCB’s contribution to the recent global Synod process and Christus Vivit, which both focused on the engagement and protagonism of youth and young adults. The vision of Journeying Together is to “translate” and implement Christus Vivit for the Catholic Church in the United States, as the process engages young people and ministry leaders from each and every cultural family in this country: African Americans; Asian and Pacific Islanders; European Americans; Hispanic/Latinos; Native Americans and Alaska Natives; and migrants (inclusive of ethnic communities), refugees, and people on the move.
  • The goal of this process is to listen attentively to the voices of all the young and all who accompany them, and as a Church, work together towards a more responsive, diverse, and just society. It is also an opportunity for the transformation of the way the Church engages in pastoral ministry with youth and young adults of all cultures.
  • Journeying Together uses the synodal model: listening and discernment, co-responsibility and participation, all moving toward proactive mobilization (Christus Vivit 206) – and applies it to the Catholic Church in the United States, driven by and with young people. Within the context of the current moment in our nation, we are already being led by youth and young adults “going into the streets” to demand justice (Christus Vivit 174). Amid this crucial and historic moment, young adults and ministry leaders are coming together in this process to have amazing, respectful, and honest conversations on faith, culture, and community.
  • Journeying Together creates a safe space for all those who are involved to reflect on the problems and concerns that affect each cultural community in their own unique way, while also acknowledging the gifts and talents that each community brings to the table.
  • Journeying Together will be a great contribution to our society and to the Catholic Church. Its very process models how dialogue and action can be done well – with respect, honesty, and love. It also gives voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless, which is what the Church has a mission to do for every culture and community it encounters (Christus Vivit nos. 230-235). At a time of upheaval and division in our country, the U.S. bishops, young Catholics, and those who minister among them, are coming together to model dialogue, inclusion, listening to one another, and charting a path forward together.

Journeying Together is being convened by the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church with the active support of the USCCB Secretariats of Catholic Education; Evangelization and Catechesis; and Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; along with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) and the National Dialogue on Catholic Pastoral Ministry with Youth and Young Adults.

If we journey together, young and old, we can be firmly rooted in the present, and from here, revisit   the past and look to the future. To revisit the past in order to learn from history and heal old wounds that at times still trouble us. To look to the future in order to nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken prophecies, and enable hope to blossom. Together, we can learn from one another, warm hearts, inspire minds with the light of the Gospel, and lend new strength to our hands. Pope Francis | Christus Vivit 199

 

TAKING THE JOURNEY TOGETHER: A SNAPSHOT OF THE PROCESS 

To get to this vision, the Journeying Together planning team, with the support of the bishops of the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, decided that it would be helpful to carry this process out in five distinct stages that build upon one another:

STEP ONE: BEGINNING THE JOURNEY

An introductory kick-off wherein the bishops could engage directly with young adults and ministry leaders on this important effort and envision the process ahead. This took place in July 2020. 

It was such a blessing to have had over 390 people step forward and say “yes” to embarking on an intercultural and intergenerational journey in the company of bishops, young adults, and ministry leaders. 

Take a look at the video messages about Journeying Together that we shared before the kick-off from

STEP TWO:  INTRA-CULTURAL CONVERSATIONS 

Intra-cultural conversations, where each cultural community can meet together to begin the discussion of some common questions and raise issues that they would like to bring to the intercultural table. These conversations are also a chance for each cultural community to gain the self-awareness, confidence (and in some cases, the humility) to share their cultural stories with others. These are taking place from August to December 2020. 

Click for Step Two Schedule of Meeting Dates 

STEP THREE: INTER-CULTURAL CONVERSATIONS  

Inter-cultural conversations, where all cultural families will meet together each month for a brief presentation (from the cultural families), discussions about each community’s contributions, unique issues and areas of concern, and discernment of adequate pastoral responses. The previous step will prepare each cultural family to share their story and dialogue with others. These conversations will take place from January 2021 through June 2021.

Monthly Intercultural Dialogue Sessions as part of the USCCB Journeying Together intercultural encounter process:

          7-9pm CT | 6-8pm MT | 5-7pm PT | 4-6pm AKT | 3-5pm HT

  • Sunday, February 21, 2021 – 3:00-5:00pm ET – Completed

          2-4pm CT | 1-3pm MT | 12-2pm PT | 11am-1pm AKT | 10am-12pm HT

  • Saturday, March 6, 2021 – 3:00-5:00pm ET – Completed

          2-4pm CT | 1-3pm MT | 12-2pm PT | 11am-1pm AKT | 10am-12pm HT

  • Wednesday, April 21, 2021 – 7:00-10:00pm ET – Completed

          6-9pm CT | 5-8pm MT | 4-7pm PT | 3-6pm AKT | 1-4pm HT

  • Thursday, May 27, 2021 – 8:00-10:00pm ET  – Completed

          7-9pm CT | 6-8pm MT | 5-7pm PT | 4-6pm AKT | 2-4pm HT

  • Thursday, June 24, 2021 – 8:00-10:00pm ET  – Completed

          7-9pm CT | 6-8pm MT | 5-7pm PT | 4-6pm AKT | 2-4pm HT

Each month, one cultural family will share their community’s story and participants will learn and reflect on those realities – and engage in intercultural discussions in response to what was heard and considering pastoral actions as we look ahead.

We highly encourage young adults (18-39) to participate as well as bishops and youth, campus, and young adult ministry leaders from these cultural and ethnic communities.

Please note, we will reveal the next session's leading cultural community at each month's online gathering - to build a sense of anticipation and excitement among all who are participating in this process.

STEP FOUR: DEEPENING THE DIALOGUE

After consultation with the Journeying Together core team, planning team, young adult advisory team, and ministry leader advisory team, as well as with the Chairman and Secretariat staff to the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, the following proposal is offered for consideration.

This new “Step 4” (informally, internally, and previously called “Step 3.5”) would take place from
July 2021 to June 2022, culminating in the national intercultural encounter event in Chicago, Illinois from June 23-26, 2022., which would now be (informally and internally) considered “Step 5.” Each of these steps has elements of the pastoral circle methodology: see, judge, and act (and celebrate).

This step would consist of five concurrent components, and each of those components, which are listed below, would have its own coordination team that would include ministry leaders, young adults, USCCB staff, and other national collaborators. Some of these teams will require specific skills to be determined. Recognizing that much of Step 4 will take place between summer 2021 and summer 2022, the timelines for each component will be different from one another, depending on the specific tasks of those teams.

  • Going Local: Replicating the Journey
  • Intracultural Conversations Part 2: Reflecting with Cultural Family
  • National Online Sessions and Deepening the Dialogue
  • Writing Teams: Analyzing and Developing the Narrative
  • National Event Planning: Discerning the Next Step

STEP FIVE: GATHERING TOGETHER

A live in-person event where bishops and representatives from each cultural family will gather together to formulate action steps, strategic collaborations, and charting a path forward together in the Church’s ministry with and engagement of young people in this country. It will also be a celebration of each cultural community's gifts and contributions and of our “journey together.” Event details are forthcoming.  The Journeying Together national intercultural encounter event in Chicago, Illinois from June 23-26, 2022.  For Sponsorship and Exhibiting information contact Yolanda Taylor-Burwell at ytaylor-burwell@usccb.org. 

STEP SIX: PROCEEDINGS AND IMPLEMENTATION

The proceedings and conclusions of the Journeying Together process will be collated and published and offered to dioceses, schools, Catholic organizations, and apostolic movements for follow-up and implementation.