From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Multi-cultural committee hosts dialogue session at IHRC

by the Inland Register

(From the July 4, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

The diocese’s Multi-Cultural Committee held a dialogue session this past spring at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center.

Non-Anglo priests, deacons and lay ministers gathered for a listening session, addressing a number of questions. Among them:

  • What is your overall experience of working with a predominantly Anglo population in the Diocese of Spokane?
  • How does your experience fit in with your vision of your priesthood?
  • Talk about the obstacles and joys (yours and those of your parishioners) encountered in your ministry that are directly related to issues of diversity and multiculturalism?
  • What would you like to see the Multicultural Committee accomplish? How can the committee make a difference and be of service in the diocese?

    Various individuals commented on the questions, with individual responses and perspectives. Certain themes appeared fairly consistently, however.

    Participants called for more education for the wider diocesan public – cultural education. This includes a call for more diversity education with seminary formation programs. The other side of that issue is that seminarians who come from cultural minorities must be prepared to serve in what often are predominantly Anglo parishes.

    Diocesan celebrations should attempt to reflect the diversity of the diocese’s population.

    Racism is still present, even within parish communities. Parishes are not always welcoming of other cultural communities or individuals.

    One individual reported, “You cannot point the finger for these problems at any one culture. I have been mistreated by both Anglos and those of my own culture.” Another commented that “sometimes the Anglos and existing Hispanics gang up on the ‘new arrivals.’”

    And yet another comment: “My experience is that both cultures do bad things but both cultures also do so many good things.”

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