No choice but to deal with global realities, speaker says

Categories: Around the Diocese

Sept. 27, 2013, edition
By Lynette Thelen

As part of a global church, parishes in the St. Cloud Diocese should have some connection toward the global reality, Victor Valenzuela said. Large, diverse cultural groups in our parish means growth for our parish.

To address the cultural needs of our parishes today Catholic parishes need to become culturally competent, and Valenzuela will provide tools to help educators with diverse cultural groups at Diocesan Ministry Day, Sept. 30.

valenzuelaHe will present two separate workshops, one in Spanish about discipleship in the catechetical approach and the other in English about cultural fluency.

Valenzuela is the national bilingual consultant for William H. Sadlier, Inc., publisher of catechetical and educational resources. He has been in ministry for 20 years including classroom teaching, youth ministry, teacher training and participating in writing and developing of new materials.

He gave a preview of his workshops in a recent interview with The Visitor.

Q. What will you be speaking about at Diocesan Ministry Day?

A. I am doing two topics. One in Spanish will be about how important discipleship is in our catechetical approach. The six tasks of catechesis that are outlined in the National Directory for Catechesis are a pathway to discipleship in Jesus.

Christ needs to be at the center of all that we do in catechesis, and discipleship is one way that can help us talk about doing catechesis with intentionality.

The second topic is in English and it is about cultural fluency. Our church nationwide is experiencing a transformation with the influx of a variety of cultures including Filipinos, Koreans and of course the largest group, Latin Americans. How do we take our Gospel values of hospitality and helping the stranger and the immigrant and open our parishes to all these new cultural realities?

This workshop will focus on how all these cultural groups in our church are a great treasure that is helping our Catholic communities grow.

Q. Why is it important to be culturally welcoming? 

A. We are a global church. Our parishes should have some connection (empathy) towards the global reality. Being welcoming implies that we are open to a transformation within our community and more importantly within ourselves. Many people see the variety of cultures as divisive but large cultural groups in our parishes are not divisive — they mean growth for our parish.

Q. What do you hope people will take with them from your workshop?

A. For both workshops, that Jesus is our leader. We follow him, whether that is in catechesis or in being culturally welcoming. Jesus has taught us how do both of these in the Gospels. We need to learn how to better follow Jesus’ example.

Q. What is cultural competency and how can we be culturally competent?

A. We have to learn how to operate in each other’s cultures in order to coexist with each other.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share with Visitor readers?

A. My approach to these two topics is very hands-on. I like to give practical strategies that can be easily implemented in your home parishes. My goal is that everyone will leave with at least one strategy that is ready to go.