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home : news : our diocese February 22, 2019

Training to be offered on strengthening knowledge, skills in multicultural awareness

The Diocese of Trenton is once again offering the “Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers” series to help faithful enhance their skills and knowledge on multicultural awareness.

Training sessions will be offered separately in English and in Spanish on Jan. 26 and Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the St. Mary of the Lake Holy Family site, 1143 County Line Road, Lakewood.

The BICM program has been offered in the Diocese since 2013 in various parishes around Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Based on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ multicultural training program, BICM is designed to give clergy, pastoral ministers, and parish leaders the opportunity to achieve a basic level of awareness and communication. They will also learn to identify effective pastoral responses, principles and practices that will contribute and shape ministry in intercultural settings.

“When the USCCB put this program together, it was their hope that all who minister in the Church would have an opportunity to learn the skills of working across cultures,” said Terry Ginther, diocesan chancellor and executive director of the Department of Pastoral Life and Mission, who noted that the learning is applicable across parishes, age or gender; educational or socioeconomic differences, and when the pastor or parishioners come from a variety of different cultures.

The five modules of training to be presented include: Module 1: Frames issues of diversity theologically in terms of the Church’s identity and mission to evangelize; Module 2: Seeks an understanding of culture and how it works; Module 3: Develops intercultural communication skills in pastoral settings; Module 4: Expands one’s knowledge of the obstacles which impede effective intercultural relations, and Module 5: Fosters ecclesial integration rather than assimilation in Church settings with a spirituality of hospitality, reconciliation and mission.

Ginther continued, “This is a special opportunity for parishioners and staff from soon-to-link parishes to understand that culture is more than language, customs, and food – it shapes how we think, how we interact and how we lead. One can appreciate the characteristics of people from cultures that are more focused on the individual and those more focused on the communal, learn the practice of facilitating discussions across cultures using ‘mutual invitation’, and identify unconscious biases or prejudices in our personal thinking and in the way we behave as a group.”

Participants must register in advance and attend both sessions in order to complete the training. Registration fee is $25, which includes a workbook, and lunch will be provided.

For further information and to register, contact Sandra Lopez, diocesan coordinator of Hispanic Ministry,  at 609-403-7138 or


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