Pastoral Approach to CultureCourse Level: Intermediate

Course Summary

Faith is always expressed within a culture. One's culture shapes the way we understand and live the Church's beliefs and teachings. In order to effectively minister to people today it is important that the minister know and understand the culture of the people whom he or she is trying to serve. This course introduces ministers to the field of cultural studies and offers guidance to help the minister better serve the people in his or her community. On completing this course the minister will have a solid grounding in the language of cultural studies, an understanding of the Catholic Church's practice of missiology and inculturation, and a basic awareness of how to work effectively in various cultural settings. Becoming a part of a new culture "¯the process known as acculturation" takes years to master; this course provides a solid foundation upon which to build that understanding.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Strive to understand culture in its broadest sense, including the culture of the United States of America and the culture of the Catholic Church within this country
  • Recognize and understand cultural diversity and differences and become sensitive to them in pastoral situations
  • Build a pastoral multicultural perspective necessary to address the current and anticipated pastoral cultural and ethnic situations in the USA
  • Develop pastoral strategies built upon intercultural dynamics
  • Understand how the Church’s practice of inculturation provides a path for working with people of all cultures

Course Materials

  • No books required. All readings are online.

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Culture, Multiculturalism and Parish Life
    • To know the meaning and importance of the vocabulary related to culture
    • To understand why a knowledge of and appreciation for culture is essential to effective ministry
    • To enable participants to do a self-examination of their own cultures and how they have been shaped by them
  • Week 2: Ministry Within a Culture
    • To know the meaning and importance of the word “inculturation”
    • To recognize appropriate and inappropriate ways of using inculturation
    • To identify ways that ministerial leaders can effectively incorporate the process of inculturation into all aspects of their ministry
  • Week 3: Forces that have Shaped U.S. Culture
    • To understand how the U.S. culture has been and continues to be shaped
    • To recognize what shapes the people who make up the Catholic Church in the U.S.
    • To develop a general knowledge of several of the ethnic communities who make up the many faces in God’s house
  • Week 4: The Richness of Cultural Diversity
    • To understand the concept of dominant culture and why a dominant culture dominates
    • To identify some of the differences between the dominant culture and the cultures of various ethnic communities
    • To begin to see the giftedness of each culture
  • Week 5: Pastoral Solutions to Cultural Questions
    • To understand the principles for building culturally diverse communities as developed for Encuentro 2000
    • To identify critical issues that cause communities not to be open to others
    • To begin to develop practical steps that they can take to develop culturally diverse communities of faith