WASHINGTON— On Saturday, July 25, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, in collaboration with other offices at the USCCB and joined by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFYCM), will convene a yearlong intercultural process with young adults and ministry leaders.
The initiative, entitled Journeying Together is meant to explore the Church’s engagement with young people of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and mobilize the faithful on issues and concerns related to culture and race in the United States. It is based on Pope Francis’ call for encounter and dialogue in his 2019 apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit. Due to health concerns with the novel coronavirus, the initiative will primarily take place online from July 2020 through May 2021, with an anticipated live gathering next summer, pending health and safety directives.
The process will feature intracultural and intercultural digital gatherings and conversations with young adult delegates and key ministry leaders from different cultural communities including African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, European Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and Native Americans, as well as immigrant groups, migrants, and refugees. The conversations will be facilitated by young adults in response to Pope Francis’ encouragement of young people to be “protagonists” in the Church’s mission of evangelization. The initiative, led by the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, will include collaboration with the USCCB’s Secretariat for Catholic Education; Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis; and Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia, and chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, said of this initiative, “This dialogue comes at an incredibly important time in our nation’s history where we find ourselves engaged in a serious conversation about race and racism, with calls for meaningful and lasting social reform, a movement led in large part by young people across the country and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic also has affected communities of color most significantly. Over the course of the next year, it is my hope that we can have honest conversations on these and other issues impacting young people and on how we can move ahead on the important questions of race, culture, and community. 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. The bishops are looking forward to learning from the young people and those who accompany them.”
The delegates within the Journeying Together process, including bishops, young adults, and local ministry leaders, will seek to involve their peers in the dialogue and mobilization aspects of this yearlong experience. The goal of the initiative is to help the Church better engage and respond to the realities facing young people of all cultural backgrounds.
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