Regional Training Program
The Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (PCMR), in collaboration with offices throughout the greater Migration and Refugee Services Department (MRS), recently completed the seventh out of seven regional trainings for bishops and diocesan leaders on the message of the pastoral statement Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity in Seattle from June 24-27, 2003. The evaluations of the training demonstrated that the program was very well received by attendees, with 97% of registrants rating the program as excellent or good. One-hundred percent of the diocesan delegates also reported that they left the training an “increased understanding of the importance of welcoming all people, a greater appreciation of the gifts of other cultures, and an enhanced capacity for positive change and action.”
Since the regional training program began in November of 2001, 830 people from 127 dioceses attended the program, including 36 bishops, 197 priests, 105 religious, and 492 lay people. Although MRS is greatly pleased with the numbers of diocesan leaders that attended the training program and the very positive evaluations coming out of each, MRS is even more encouraged by the excellent diocesan action plans the dioceses have been submitting after their participation in the program.
Diocesan Action Plan Implementation and Grant Program
Grant applications were submitted by fifty-two dioceses from the North East, Far West Mountain States, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, South East, North / South Central and North West regions. Fifty-three plans were submitted with grant applications. Eight dioceses have submitted plans but have not requested any funding. $533,886 has been awarded to 33 dioceses throughout the seven regions.
To-date, twelve dioceses were awarded “Tier 1 funding” ($15k -$25k) in order to open new offices for ethnic ministries, migrant ministries, multicultural ministries or welcoming ministries. [An additional diocese, the Diocese of Providence, decided to open its own Ethnic Ministries Office after participation in our regional training program and their subsequent diocesan action planning, but they didn’t apply to receive funding for it through our grant program.]. Dioceses who were awarded funding at the Tier 1 level were given “seed money” to get the new ministries started. In order to receive funding at this level, the diocese had to pledge to “match the funds” and sustain the ministry after the grant period was over. Dioceses which received Tier 1 funding (in alphabetical order by region) include: Fall River, Monterey, Phoenix, San Bernardino, Stockton, Tucson, Allentown, Arlington, Buffalo, Wilmington, Youngstown, and Spokane.
An additional twenty-one dioceses were awarded “Tier 2 and Tier 3” level grants ranging from $5,000 - $15,000 to develop programs to assist in implementing the pastoral statement at the local level. Projects at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels include training programs for clergy, diocesan and parish leaders; developing “resource” materials for diocesan and parish leaders on the new ethnic communities; and conducting surveys to determine the location and needs of new immigrants and itinerant people.
Click here to see NEXT STEPS in the “Unity in Diversity Implementation Plan”