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Cultural Diversity in the Church


What's New and Key Documents

New! The Secretariat of Cultutral Diversity in the Church Spring/Summer 2020 newsletter, One Church Many Cultures: The Good News of Cultural Diversity. This resouce covers new initiatives, programs, news and much more!

New Event Postponed! Update! July Intercultutal Encounter - Journeying Together postponed! Go to for the full message.

New! Read a messsage from our Chairman,  We Are a People of Hope, By the Most Reverened Nelson J Pérez, Archbishop of Phildelphia.

A letter from Bishop Nelson J. Pérez, Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, shares some thoughts with a Message to the Voice and Vision Summit - A National Summit for Ministries with Young Adults at Franciscan University.

New Resource! Two Rivers - A Report on Catholic Native American Culture and Ministry is a about the two rivers of Native American Catholic faith and cultures that flow into one. In the report, you will find an updated study from CARA concerning Native American ministry, both in terms of challenges and opportunities. The report also examines the gifts of Catholic Native American ministry.

Approved Documents
Approved by the U.S. bishops during their Fall 2018 General Assembly, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - A Pastoral Letter Against Racism asks us to recall that we are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. Read the full text and check out the educational resources and parish resources that were created to accompany the pastoral letter against racism. Order your copy by visiting the USCCB Store.

Approved by the U.S. bishops during their Spring 2018 General Assembly, Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters will guide the Catholic Church in the United States in addressing the pastoral needs of Asian and Pacific Island communities and provide a framework for dioceses and parishes. Order your copy by visiting the USCCB Store.

Study on Cultural Diversity Displays Catholic Church's Growing Multicultural Parish Population. Check out the study!


The Executive Director's Corner
is a blog from the desk of the Executive Director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.

I have come to set captives free!

Dear friends and colleagues in ministry,

You will notice a god portion of the 2020 Spring/Summer issue of One Church, Many Faces is dedicated to prison ministry.  For some time, we have wanted to reflect on the problem of mass incarceration and the unevenness of the justice system from pastoral perspective.  We also wanted to give voice to those who tend to the to the spitual needs of prisoners, their families and those involved in the prison system.

Incarceration is a big problem that affects disproportionately communities of color. Beyond the individual serving a sentence, incarceration affects --and often puts unbearable stress on-- families and entire communities. Community and church support is often vital. However, when it comes to prison ministry, “everyone knows the importance; very few are part of the solution,” as one contributor to this issue puts it.

When we decided upon the editorial focus of this issue many months ago, we did not know that we were going to be in the middle of a pandemic that would bring our lives, our economies and our world to a halt, forcing many families into voluntary and then mandatory self-isolation. Many are unable to say goodbye or to attend funerals for their loved ones, or join in joyful celebrations like weddings, births, baptisms, and graduations. For a minute we hesitated: Was this the right topic for this moment?

Then, we read and watched the very moving meditations for the Way of the Cross on Good Friday at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. And learned how the Holy Father had entrusted a prison ministry in Italy with the task of gathering the reflections to for each Station. They included prisoners serving long sentences, teachers working with prisoners, families whose relatives were killed by an inmate, and even a prison guard who is also a deacon. And we decided that, yes, this was the right topic and the right time to bring attention to this issue. In fact, it seems providential that we are bringing it to you when have been forced to take a pause from the external world and limit our “in person” social interaction.

Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed.” (Lk 4:18) We are the Lord’s eyes and ears, His heart, hands and feet. We are His witnesses, called to bring the Good News to all.

The mandate of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, and its corresponding Secretariat, is to be present on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference to the many cultures, ethnicities and races that today constitute the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The goal is to encourage the inclusion and fuller participation of all God's People in the life and ministry of the Church by building up their Catholic identity in a spirit of unity in diversity.

Throughout the United States we experience a profound demographic shift as Hispanics, Asians, Africans, Caribbean people, and many other communities of non-European origin are on the rise. Today, as ever, the Church's mission to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and promote the life and dignity of each and every human being has much to do with insight into cultures. Catholic parishes are moving from mono-cultural patterns to ones we call "shared," that is, to parishes in which more than one language, racial or cultural group seek to celebrate the Eucharist and embody Christian community. For ministers and pastoral workers to be effective in this diverse environment, the right knowledge, attitudes and skills need to be developed.

Our Intercultural Competencies page explains the five competencies that were defined by the U.S. bishops in making “Recognition of Cultural Diversity in the Church” one of their priorities. The manual Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers has been developed and can be found online or obtained in print from USCCB's Store. If interested in hosting or organizing a training, please contact Yolanda Taylor-Burwell at or 202-541-3152.

The Secretariat of Cultural Diversity is also looking for opportunities to partner with Catholic colleges and universities, and other institutions of higher education to disseminate the competency guidelines. Contact the Secretariat’s executive director, Mar Muñoz-Visoso, for information: or 202-541-3350.

Additional resources are available such as the study of Best Practices in Shared Parishes So That They Mall All Be One for pastors and their team.  This resource was developed in consultation with and from the experience of nearly 20 pastors of multicultural/shared parishes from around the country. And "Creating A Culture of Encounter - A Guide for Joyful Misionary Disciples. This resource is an adaptation of the V National Encuentro process with the main goal to discern ways in which the local church can better respond to those who live on the peripheries of society.

Just as with the first evangelization, the New Evangelization compels us to go and make disciples of all nations. In the United States of America we do not need to go too far to find people “of all nations.” That’s our blessing and our challenge.


Mar Muñoz-Visoso, MTS
Executive Director

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