Cultural Diversity Secretariat hosts breakfast on
Energizing Faithful People of Color to the Church’s Faith and Justice Commitments
WASHINGTON—The Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church (SCDC) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) hosted a breakfast on social justice action and people of color at the recent Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) in Washington.
The breakfast highlighted the Church’s concern for justice for all. Those in attendance were provided with educational materials and resources to empower them in this area of ministry.
The breakfast was led by Jesuit Father, Allan F. Deck, executive director of the Secretariat and assistant directors, Beverly Carroll, Alejandro Aguilera-Titus and Cecile Motus who represent, respectively three subcommittees of the Secretariat: African American Affairs, Hispanic Affairs and Asian and Pacific Island Affairs. Sr. Myrna Tordillo, MSCS, assistant director of the Subcommittee for Pastoral Care of Migrants Refugees and Travelers (PCMRT) and Sr. Joanna Okereke, HHCJ, Program Coordinator grounded the discussion in prayer.
The event began with a “Public Policy Concerns Bingo”, which allowed the attendees to identify current social justice issues using the popular game of bingo. “What we were trying to do was to take a lot of the heaviness away from the whole issue of policies and programs related to social justice.” “We wanted to empower people by conveying the idea that they have the knowledge and can work together to come to a solution in this area,” said Beverly Carroll.
Areas of discussion dealt with current concerns and issues, reflections from a theological perspective on culture and social justice and suggestions on what can be done to support ethnic communities in the area of social action.
“We focused on the leadership that people of color are providing within that ministry itself and we asked why people of color tend not to be as well represented among the leadership of the social justice ministry even though people of color, at this point in time, constitute the majority of Catholics in the United States,” said Father Deck.
For Alejandro Aguilera-Titus the crucial question was, “How can you bring to full circle that transition between being objects of justice to being subjects of justice?”, he said. “Those who suffer the impact of injustice are in the best position to find solutions, for they have the urgency to change such situations.” Aguilera-Titus outlined key areas that dealt with engaging, mentoring and empowering ethnic communities.
Cecile Motus stated that “We have to intentionally take the step to invite people of different ethnic or cultural communities to take a leadership role in this key area in order to make sure that the decisions being made are inclusive of their voices.”
The Secretariat of Cultural Diversity celebrated its first anniversary in January. The Secretariat serves the bishops in their desire to reach out to all members of the Church, especially racial ethnic communities that sometimes remain on the margins socioeconomically and politically. It continues to work in a collaborative spirit to promote the pastoral efforts and priorities of the Committee on Cultural Diversity and its five subcommittees. More information on the Secretariat can be found at its Web site, /scdc/.