This past January 26, 27, and 28, 2015 the Congar Institute facilitated the USCCB workshop on Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers (BICM) for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Indiana. The Archdiocesan Office of Intercultural Ministry is committed to promote awareness of diversity and to develop skills and attitudes necessary to ministry in a diverse church. For this purpose, the Intercultural Ministry Office, under the guidance of its Director Brother Moises Gutierrez, OFM, hosted the BICM workshop for staff and pastoral leaders of the archdiocese and nearby dioceses. The facilitators for the workshop were: Donna Grimes, USCCB staff member; Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, USCCB staff member; Matthew Davis, Archdiocese of Philadelphia staff member; and one member of our staff, Lizett Farias. The participants commented that the workshop was “very well presented, content was excellent” and that they appreciated being able to “discuss our fears, ignorance and guilt regarding racism.” Many agree that workshop experience was “freeing.”
Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin celebrated mass for the group the first day, the participants that were priests concelebrated and the deacons assisted. The mass was very culturally diverse, readings and songs were bilingual (English/Spanish) and the prayers of the faithful were read in five languages. During the workshop, the meals that were offered were evidently culturally diverse. The local team was very creative with meals, on one occasion they had a couple of Latino ladies making fresh tortillas from scratch, right there in the buffet line! The jamboree/fiesta held the first day of the workshop allowed the participants to experience live African music and Hispanic folkloric dance; participants were invited to join in a line-dance. This event as a whole was very festive and definitely created a welcoming and friendly atmosphere that enriched the workshop.
The majority of the 86 participants were lay man and women, many of whom were young adults but there were also a good number of priests, deacons, religious men/women. Some of the participants came from nearby dioceses like Evansville, Ft. Wayne/South Bend, Lafayette, Rochester and Cincinnati.