WASHINGTON (September 11, 2002) -– The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Migration and Refugee
Services, through its Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, will conduct the
fourth in a series of seven regional trainings on the implementation of the bishops' pastoral
statement, Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity, September 18-20, in
Four bishops and 123 other participants are expected at the meeting. To date, 20 bishops and 390 diocesan leaders representing fifty-two dioceses nationwide have participated in the previous sessions, to further develop pastoral plans for serving immigrants, migrants, refugees, and people on the move in the dioceses.
Subsequent to the trainings, participants have developed action plans to foster an appreciation for ethnic and racial diversity and a greater capacity for welcoming immigrants and refugees into Catholic communities. In order to facilitate the implementation of these plans, the Bishops? Committee on Migration has dedicated grant monies to assist dioceses in their efforts. In the New England region, the dioceses of Fall River, Manchester, and Norwich were awarded grants totaling $69,290 to establish an office for ethnic ministries; conduct diversity training for parish leaders; institute a series of training sessions and regional meetings on the message of the pastoral statement; and host trainings and meetings on ethnic ministries at the deanery level.
In the Far West Mountain Region, $55,000 has been awarded to the Dioceses of Monterey, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Stockton and Tucson. There, five ethnic, multicultural, and migrant ministry offices will be established. "One of the primary goals is to increase the number of ethnic peoples serving in leadership positions within the parishes and to promote greater hospitality and understanding of the immigrants and ethnic communities who live in proximity to the parishes," said Father Anthony McGuire, Director of the Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees. "In addition, one diocese will publish a handbook in several languages to educate readers about the cultural and ethnic make-up of the diocese, including practical suggestions for welcoming and speaking to these groups."
"With their pastoral statement, the bishops challenged U.S. Catholics to find unity in the diversity of languages, cultures, and forms of worship shared by new immigrants. The Gospel commands us to welcome the stranger among us. We believe these trainings are an important step toward enhancing the Church?s fulfillment of that command," Father McGuire stated.
For more information contact Amy NewlonR, 202-541-5408 or mail to: anewlon@USCCB.org.