USCCB News Release
March 2, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Cultural Diversity Network Convocation to Dialogue about Challenges of Unity in Diversity
300+ leaders to meet at Notre Dame May 6-8
Website will live stream presentations, testimonies and dialogue
Cultural competency guidelines to be developed
WASHINGTON—Three hundred church leaders —bishops, priests, religious and laity—from all ethnic and cultural families and walks of life will gather May 6-8, at the University of Notre Dame for the Catholic Cultural Diversity Network Convocation (CCDNC).
This event coincides with tenth anniversary of Encuentro 2000, the Millennial Jubilee multicultural celebration. It will continue the dialogue initiated a decade ago by highlighting the challenges and opportunities in linking the Church’s growing racial, cultural and ethnic diversity with the need to foster a robust Catholic identity. The process responds to the USCCB priority on cultural diversity and is a first step in developing and widely disseminating intercultural competency guidelines.
“It is no secret that most U.S. Catholic parishes, dioceses, schools and organizations as well as the ranks of the clergy, religious and lay leaders are undergoing a profound change as a result of dramatic demographic shifts,” said Jesuit Father Allan F. Deck, executive director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.
The convocation will provide leaders with an opportunity to share stories within their own communities and with a wider cross-section of colleagues from other communities. The dialogue will revolve around three main questions: How do today’s diverse members of the Church understand themselves as a communion in diversity? What do they want to say to their brothers and sisters in faith from other cultures? What are the opportunities moving forward for building relationships and collaboration?
This process is vital since “new leadership mostly of non-European descent is arising in the Church of the United States,” said Father Deck. “That leadership, however, is still largely focused on its own people and only vaguely aware of its role in relationship to the whole Church.”
Father Deck explained that, over the years, diverse cultural/racial groups have tended to participate in the Church working within their own groups.
“While there is nothing wrong with this — indeed, it is necessary to create a sense of security and strengthen leadership among fledgling ecclesial communities — today it is becoming clear that for the common good there must be more dialogue across the boundaries of race and culture.”
Participants have been invited from a number of Church groups from around the country selected to represent the diversity present in the U.S. Church, including those of European descent. The number of representatives has been limited to about 300 to facilitate the dialogue. More than 25 bishops are expected to attend.
A new Website (http://www.usccb.org/ccdnc/) will offer information on the event as well as pre- and post-convocation activities and reflections. The event itself will be live streamed May 6-8 from Notre Dame on this Website.
The CCDNC is sponsored by the USCCB, the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, the University of Notre Dame, and The Institute for Church Life of the University of Notre Dame and many others.