Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cultural Interface

In the Fall of 2007 eight of our priests who have come from overseas plus eight of our local priests travelled to Riding Mountain Park in Manitoba to join an equal number of priests from the Archdiocese of Winnipeg and also from the Diocese of Saskatoon. We spent the week following a workshop given by Fr. Anthony Gittens C.S.Sp, professor of theological anthropoligy at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. The workshop dealt with ways to deal with cultural differences in a positive and productive way. Since our diocese has a sizeable percentage of priests coming from other countries and cultures working together, we found the week together both challenging and productive.

The group has continued to meet three or four times a year to develop a trust and a vehicle to try to reach some of the goals presented by Fr. Gittens. Here are some of the priests from our last meeting. Fr. Hector Seville of the Philippines who is pastor in Langenburg, Fr. Louis Kim Nguyen from Vietnam, associate at Holy Family, Regina and Fr. James Owolagba from Nigeriawho is pastor at Gull Lake.

And there is Fr. Andrew Pawlowicz who is on loan to the diocese from Poland, Administrator at Rockglen, and Fr. Tonny Dizi, pastor at Christ the King, Regina.
We had a great meal together put on by the Philippine priests - one way of getting to know one another's cultures. Seen here are Fr. Raymond Carrignan, Ponteix, Fr. Brad Fahlman, Holy Family, Regina and Fr. Thang Nguyen, pastor in Raymore.

Usually during the evening we have a presentation or two from priests of different nationalities. Fr. Dennis Remot, administrator at Moosomin,who is on loan to the diocese from the Philippines spoke about his homeland, his ministry there and the church in the Philippines.

Here with Fr. James is Fr. Neil Osiowy, pastor at Holdfast.

And a second presentation was given by Fr. Tonny Dizi, who came to Canada from Holland when he was a young boy. Fr. Tonny spoke about the church in Holland and the way of life there.
There usually follows some discussion on priestly life and the ways that different cultures can present both problems and opportunities for enrichment and growth both for the priests themselves and for the Archdiocesan Church.
The goal of the group is to eventually becine the "leaven" for all the priests of the diocese to enter into this process of personal growth in relationships, spirituality and ministry.

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