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TOGETHER IN MINISTRY 2013 Acculturation and International Priests in Canada.

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Presentation on theme: "TOGETHER IN MINISTRY 2013 Acculturation and International Priests in Canada."— Presentation transcript:

1 TOGETHER IN MINISTRY 2013 Acculturation and International Priests in Canada

2 Goal is to Create an Effective Environment for Ministry Proper preparation of international priests for ministry in Canada Proper preparation of the receiving Canadian diocese/parish

3 Presentation Summary I’m here to present you with… 1.Data, Research, and Experiences …Part 1 (am) 2.Programs and Outcomes… Part 2 (am) 3.Practical Resources… Part 3 (pm) And along the way… Questions/issues to grapple with However… Take up a particular focus OR Facilitate a “crucial conversation” I also wish to learn from you…

4 New York Times “Divine Recruits”

5 Who is an International Priest? Those priests who were born and formed in another country and have relocated to Canada to serve in a diocese.

6 What’s in a Program Name? Enculturation: The process by which a person adapts to and assimilates the culture in which he lives. Acculturation: The modification of the culture of a group or individual as a result of contact with a different culture. Inculturation: The attempt to make a religious (e.g. Christian) message accessible in and through a local culture.

7 …not much research International Priests in Canada and the U.S…




11 John Paul II, “Norms for the Distribution of Priests,” 1980 Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, “Instruction on the Sending Abroad and Sojourn of Diocesan Priests from Mission Territories,” 2001 Vatican Documents

12 History of International Priests in Canada On the one hand, not a new reality - in earlier eras international priests accompanied immigrant flocks. On the other hand, the current reality isn’t as strongly tied to the pastoral needs of immigrant populations as it once was So what is the nature of the current reality in Canada?

13 Comprehensive Statistics on International Priests in Canada Numbers? Assignments in Canada? Countries of origin?

14 Ontario ACBO Survey Spring 2013 12/14 responded Total = 519 priests in ministry (not broken out as diocesan or religious) Largest concentration = Toronto 300 Next largest = London 36 Don’t have countries of origin

15 Data on International Priests in the U.S.

16 General Characteristics (based on U.S. studies) Tend to be younger in age on average Tend to be more traditional (in terms of personal piety, ecclesiology, theology) 8/10 have an official assignment 8/10 have some kind of letter of agreement between home diocese and bishop in U.S. 39% have advanced degrees beyond MDiv (mostly in philosophy or theology)

17 What was your primary reason for leaving home country? Studies 18% Ministry 61% Join family 4% Refugee 11% Other 5% Did you initiate the move? My initiative 37% My Bishop 43% Initiated by U.S. Church 19% Other 1%

18 Do you have family members living near you? Yes 31% When you first arrived did you have a formal welcome by other priests or place of ministry? Yes 64%

19 Brief Compare and Contrast

20 If You Had Your Choice Again, Would You Enter the Priesthood? DefinitelyProbably Probably or Yes YesDefinitely Not Born in the US76%20%5% Born in Europe67%21%12% or Canada International84%12%4%

21 Importance of Open Discussion on Multiculturalism and Diversity, by Place of Birth Response - “Very Important” and “Somewhat Important” Born in U.S. 69% International 73% Same Call, Different Men, 110

22 How much support do you receive from brother priests? Born in U.S. 72% International 59% How much support do you receive from the Vatican? Born in U.S. 31% International 57% How much support do you receive from non-priest friends? Born in U.S. 95% International 87% Same Call, Different Men, 107 Support Experienced from Selected Sources, by Place of Birth “Strong” and “Somewhat Strong”

23 How much confidence do you have in the USCCB? Born in US 62% International 44% How much confidence do you have in the NFPC? Born in US 75% International 76% How much confidence do you have in the diocesan pastoral council? Born in US 82% International 61% Same Call, Different Men, 115 Confidence in the Decision Making and Leadership of Selected Ecclesial Entities, by Place of Birth Response – “Some” and “Very Little”


25 Regarding the Desire of Priests to Serve in North American Very little need to “recruit” “I do believe that at one stage my fax, my email, and my phone number were written on the walls of every Third World rectory. They were calling me all the time. Every other day it was “Father wants to come here.” The word got out. I was sending maybe ten rejection letters every two weeks.” (A vicar for priests in northern California) International Priests in America, 69

26 Why Do International Priests Come to Canada? How would you answer this question? 5 minute table discussion…

27 Why Do International Priests Come to Canada? 1. Missionary Impulse “[North] America is the biggest missionary land in the world.” (A young diocesan priest from Puerto Rico). International Priests in America, 70-76

28 Why Do International Priests Come to Canada? 2. Desire for Economic Improvement Priestly salaries in Nigeria, India, Tanzania, and the Philippines range from $155 to $410/month (2004 $CND).

29 Why Do International Priests Come to Canada? 3. Desire to Give Back “People came from foreign countries as missionaries, and because of them we have Christianity, and in many ways we are benefitting… So I feel it is my duty to give spiritual help. That would be the best way of showing gratitude.” (An Indian seminarian) Interview with New York Times December 2008

30 Why Do International Priests Come to Canada? 4. Desire for Better Life and Opportunities Primarily expressed as a desire to be near family members who have come to North America.

31 Why Do International Priests Come to Canada? 5. To Escape a Situation in Their Home Country “On average, whoever comes to [North America] either had some kind of trouble in Poland or doesn’t have a good relationship with the bishop, or simply doesn’t feel that he can actively be involved in any kind of ministry in Poland.” (A religious priest from Poland)

32 Why Do International Priests Come to Canada? “Immigration rules make it fairly straightforward for foreign clergy to enter Canada. They do not need a permit to perform religious duties, nor is there a formal limit on how long the can stay in the country, just so long as it’s ‘temporary.’” “Clergy shortage affecting all denominations in Canada,” The Globe and Mail, December 12, 2010

33 What are the Arguments for Bringing in International Priests Need immigrant priests to serve immigrant parishes International priests help to universalize the church in our local setting Need international priests to fill in gaps (shortage of priests)

34 The Issue of Shortage of Priests E.g., Diocese of London Total population 1, 945, 000 (approx) Catholic population 444, 310 (2012) 178 priests available for parish ministry in 1991 100 priests available for parish ministry in 2012 Taking into account retirements, sabbaticals, new religious, and international priests, and ordinations forecasted at about 1.7 diocesan priests per year, by 2025 there will be 73 priests for 131 parishes and missions Nearly half of the 73 will be priests from outside North America.

35 It is very common to view international priests through the lens of the issue of a shortage of priests.


37 Different Understandings “Priest Shortage” Three distinct notions of “shortage”: 1. Statistical Number of priests/number of Catholics 2. Perception Depends on the feeling of Catholics that a shortage exists, i.e., reflects the experience of a past situation of more priests 3. Too Much Work Not enough priests to do what is required International Priests in America, 32-35.

38 Different Understandings “Priest Shortage” If #1 (#priests/#Catholics): the shortage is far worse in Latin America, Asia and Africa If #3 (too much work): Nigeria, Ghana and India have greater shortage So… #2 (perception): Subjective feelings exerts the most influence on [North] American Catholics to fuel their sense of shortage

39 “Priest Shortage and International Priests What are some implications of viewing international priests through the lens of “priest shortage”? 10 minute table discussion 10 minute feedback

40 “Priest Shortage” “The pragmatic response to today’s need – ‘just get more priests – fails to engage with the key issues… of why there has been a steady stream of resignations from priestly ministry and an insufficient number of candidates for ordination.” “Priests from Overseas: Some Issues, 1-2”

41 Attitudes Relating to International Priests

42 Local Priests’ Attitudes Relating to International Priests “Priests from certain cultures are seen as being more enjoyable to have… People love the Vietnamese because they are very industrious and they want to learn, and they really get in there and work at it. So the Vietnamese culture brings in something. And Indians, I heard some very good things about them. Some of them are very pietistic and reverential, and they are good to work with.” (A veteran American priest) International Priests in America, 47

43 Local Priests’ Attitudes Relating to International Priests Importance of Selected Problems on a Day-to-Day Basis for Priests “Somewhat” or Great” Problem Shortage of available priests 66% Unrealistic demands and expectations of lay people 53% Difficulty in working with international priests 31% Conflict with parishioners or laity about issue 28% Difficulty of working with women 5%

44 Examples of Difficulties 1. Language “With most of the international priests I’ve dealt with, the biggest block, of course, is language. Parishioners are somewhat taken aback because they can’t understand them, particularly from the alter, even though they might be able to understand them one-on-one.” (A veteran female lay minister in the East) International Priests in America, 51

45 2. Cultural Misunderstandings Interviewer: When people complain about international priests, what do they mostly say? Director: “It’s we can’t understand them when they talk, and they don’t understand our culture, particularly when it comes to marriage. Marriage preparation, I think, is very difficult.” (Director of an acculturation program) International Priests in America, 55

46 3. Different Ecclesiology “One group [of international priests] may come from a culture where the priesthood is the pedestal approach, with lot’s of hand kissing or raising the hand to the forehead, and treating them that way. So it becomes very difficult for them to have to participate in parish councils where they are asked to sit and listen….” (A vicar for priests in the West) International Priests in America, 59

47 4. Finances and Fund Raising “Raising money here for a priest's home parish or home country is frowned upon. But traditional societies always ‘take care of their people,’ so therefore the priest is expected to take care of his family.” (A priest helping in an acculturation program) International Priests in America, 61

48 5. Don’t Mix with Other Priests “We need to find ways in which those priests can connect with the existing clergy… Sometimes it is the fault of international priests as well. When a priest comes into a rectory, there are certain kinds of established procedures. One would be like dinner in the evening. And I would think that most pastors would expect that the priest would be in for dinner at least once a week… But often times that doesn’t happen.” (A priest with years of experience working with international priests) International Priests in America, 63

49 6. Bringing in International Priests is an Irrational Deployment of Worldly Priestly Resources “When somebody here talks about the priest shortage, I always think about people in Central America, where they’re lucky if they see a priest once every six months in some regions!” (A lay diocesan staff member in the Midwest) International Priests in America, 64

50 7. It Postpones a Much Needed Restructuring of Parish Leadership “I’m not sure that the bringing in of international priests is the solution to our problems. I think that we’ve got a lot of planning and things to do internally. I think we’re beginning to look at the whole question of what do priests really do, or what should they be doing in terms of ministry and who else can participate in those ministries besides clergy.” (A vicar for priests in the Southwest) International Priests in America, 67

51 8. It Postpones Lay Efforts to Recruit More Vocations “As long as people think that they can go out of the country to bring men in, I wonder what we are doing in terms of vocations here. As long as the people in the parishes see priests coming in from outside, less and less are they seeing it as something their own family can be a part of….” (A Vicar for priests from California) International Priests in America, 68

52 Summary of Arguments Against Language Cultural misunderstandings Different ecclesiology Finances and fund raising Don’t mix with other priests Irrational deployment of world priestly resources Postpones restructuring of parish leadership Postpones lay efforts to recruit more priests …brief feedback: do these reflect your experience… are there other points to add?

53 Local Priests’ Attitudes Relating to International Priests 7/10 pastors in the study said that it is at least “somewhat” important to them to have open discussion about collaboration with international priests. “It is important to try to find out what they can contribute to us, especially the new arrivals. They are going through a very difficult time in terms of their enculturation. I’m not sure anybody is asking them seriously to reflect pastorally about what they can help us on.” (Interview with U.S. born priest) Same Men, Different Call

54 The Experiences of International Priests in Canada and the U.S.

55 How happy are you with… Your sacramental and liturgical ministry 46% Your personal spiritual life 29% Conditions for ministry in your diocese 23% Your present living situation 21% Your present financial situation 16% The image of the Catholic priesthood in [… the] public today 5% Measures of Happiness Percentage saying “Very happy”

56 Top 8 Loneliness of priestly life Too much work The way authority is exercised in the Church Unrealistic demands and expectations of lay people Uncertainty about the future of the Church Theological change in the concept of priesthood Relationships with pastor “There are many problems which face priests today. How important are the following problems to you on a day-to-day basis?

57 Do you feel accepted by other priests in your diocese? Yes 58% Partly 39% No 3% Do you attend the general gatherings of priests in your diocese? Always 57% Sometimes 40% Never 4% How often do you attend gatherings of priests from your country of origin? Regularly 36% Occasionally 46% Never 11 % Not yet 8% Relationships with Other Priests (diocesan)

58 “Here the pastor supports me very much, and he wants me to have a fulfilling ministry. So whatever I think I need, I ask him and he supports me. I am talking about personal things, like the language barrier.” (Vietnamese priest, aged 40) International Priests in America, 87 In Their Own Voice

59 “The first years when I came here, when I was doing little things wrong and feeling like I was only a seminarian, it was terrible! I don’t know how guys persevere.” (A young priest from Argentina) International Priests in America, 86 In Their Own Voice

60 “I think everyone who leaves home has a tremendous emotional problem that is a kind of pain that you bear whenever there are reunions or gatherings, when you miss your family, your language, your food, whatever. Personally I suffer a great deal, coming from a small place, very family-oriented, and in a kind of ministry that was nothing to do with administration but was in direct contact with the people. There were a lot of youngsters, a lot of teens and kids, in a very informal way. The priest was everywhere and the people enjoyed the priest….” (An Argentinian priest, aged 40) International Priests in America, 85 In Their Own Voice

61 Most Common Themes to Come Out of Interviews with International Priests 1. Feel inadequately oriented to ministry in new location 2. Feel underappreciated by brother priests and laity. 3. Receive unfair treatment in placements and appointments

62 Holding Up a Mirror to Society Admire cultural diversity, personal freedoms, wide variety of opportunities. Concern about the weakness of families, feeble sense of community, excessive individualism, tendency to spend money with abandon International Priests in America, 91

63 Summary: narratives of disconnect and support

64 1. Provide acculturation training, including instruction in English  this is the main recommendation from international priests 2. Establish periodic gathers and support groups 3. Assure equal treatment 4. Provide more support from the diocese 5. Provide clearer rules and guidance 10 minute table discussion: In what ways can you envision your diocese working with these recommendations? …Feedback Key Recommendations by International Priests

65 Acculturation Programs

66 Local Sensitivity to the Need for Acculturation Training “There is not sufficient work on enculturation of foreign clergy. We don’t get national programs. Dioceses are scrambling to figure that out. So that’s a huge need not being answered – we are too quick to grab for solutions and bring in foreign clergy.” Interview with U.S. Priest, Same Call, Different Men, 79

67 …very few international priest access a program of acculturation Reality…

68 When you first arrived did you attend any program of orientation or acculturation? No 69%

69 How long did it last? Less than 2 weeks 49% 1 to 6 months 25% 8 to 12 months 19% More than 12 months 8% Was it helpful? Yes 96% What was helpful? Improved language skills for preaching 21% Improved cultural understanding 43% Better understanding of local diocese 32% Other 4% Did you have a formal mentor or support structure? Yes 33% Of the 33% who did attend a program of acculturation

70 A program of orientation for international priests… 51% A program for helping international priests with English language training… 54% A program to help international priests become acquainted with other priests… 49% A program for helping international priests with immigration procedures… 78% International Priests in America, 22 Programs of Dioceses: Does our diocese have the following: (percent “yes”)

71 Available Programs of Acculturation U.S. 8 established programs across the country 6/8 associated with a Catholic university or seminary Program structure/methodology is varied Attend to regional sensitivities and other specific needs

72 Available Programs of Acculturation Canada 1)Newman Theological College/St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton, AB 2) St. Paul’s University, Centre for Pastoral Formation and Spirituality, Ottawa, ON 3) Institute for Catholic Formation at St. Peter’s Seminary, London, ON

73 NTC/SJS “Enculturation Program for International Priests in Western Canada” Founded 2005 A total of 166 participants (2012) Originated from 16 different countries: India, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Ghana, Guatemala, Congo, Korea, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Columbia, Sri Lanka, African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon & Pakistan. Priests came to serve in 18 dioceses: Manitoba (Winnipeg, St. Boniface, Keewatin Le Pas); Saskatchewan (Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert); Alberta (Edmonton, St. Paul, Calgary, Grouard McLennan); British Columbia (Victoria, Prince George, Vancouver, Nelson); the Yukon (Whitehorse); the Northwest Territories (Mackenzie-Fort Smith);and Ontario (Toronto).

74 NTC/SJS Three parts: Church-related themes; Culture-related themes; Accent Clarity In partnership with Catholic Social Services (culture) 6weeks  4 weeks  3 weeks  4 weeks (fall) $2870/priest (all inclusive) New: FOLLOW-UP INTEGRATION SESSION… Spring integration session. Provides priests with an opportunity to better integrate what they have already learned about the Church and culture of western Canada and present them with new topics according to their particular interests and needs. Recent news Recent

75 WesternWestern and Northern Canada

76 SPU, Centre for Pastoral Formation and Spirituality “Intercultural Formation for Priests and Religious Coming to Minister in Canada” Founded 2010 A total of 8 participants (2010/11) Originated from 5 different countries: Ivory Coast, Congo, Romania, Lesotho, India Priests came to serve in 5 dioceses: Quebec (Joliette); Ontario (Timmins, Toronto, Moosonee); Manitoba (Keewatin-Le Pas)

77 SPU, Centre for Pastoral Formation and Spirituality Three parts: church; culture; second language support 3 weeks in fall 1 week follow up in winter Bilingual $2100 for 4 weeks (doesn’t include room/board) Unique: Mentor training stream: 3 week designed to equip local mentor to encourage, support, and challenge priest candidate) *On hold

78 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS A Program of Enculturation in Support of the Ministry of International Priests in Canada

79 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS Founded 2010 Three Goals: 1. To provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the church, society and culture of Canada, while also appreciating and affirming their own cultural heritage and values. 2. To adhere to an adult education methodology 3. Two way

80 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS A total of 12 participants (2010) Originated from 8 different countries: Poland; India; Nigeria; Romania; Bangladesh; Albania; Lithuania; Ghana Priests came to serve in 3 dioceses: Ontario (Toronto, London); New Brunswick (St. John) 3 weeks $2875.00/person. The registration fee included all course materials, accommodations, field trips, and all meals.

81 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS Program Creation Early in the development process, the program planning committee struck a focus group to assist with determining the program’s content. The focus group consisted of: International priests currently ministering in the Diocese of London Senior diocesan pastors with experience in mentoring international priests Diocese of London priests with missionary experience in Peru

82 Conducted on the adjoining campuses of St. Peter’s Seminary and King’s University College. Instruction was Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mornings were dedicated to Church topics Afternoons were dedicated to culture topics and accent clarity. Mass was celebrated during the week with the St. Peter’s Seminary community. Some weekday evenings were used for informal discussion and opportunities for feedback. There was no instructional time on weekends, which were reserved for field trips, social events, and work in parishes. Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS Program Outline

83 Thirty instructional hours. Sessions were led by area experts drawn from diocesan staff, both clergy and lay. This section was further divided into three key subject areas: a) Pastoring in the 21st Century Team Ministry Diocesan Policies Finances Leadership and Governance b) Sacramental and Liturgical Practices RCIA Baptism c) Pastoral Concerns Marriage Catholic Schools Hospitals Ministry Youth and Young Adult Ministry Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS The Catholic Church in Canada

84 Thirty instructional hours. The program was very fortunate to engage the Cross Cultural Learner Centre, a community partner that exists to provide settlement services and support to newcomers and to promote intercultural awareness, to deliver instruction for this section. Core topics included: History of Canada Geography, climate, and dressing for winter Canadian life and recreation Multiculturalism and the ethnic make-up of Canada Culture shock Social problems, social services, and child and family services Canadian families and gender roles Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS The Culture of Canada

85 Twenty instructional hours. Delivered by an educator with extensive experience in teaching public speaking skills, delivered the accent clarity sessions. Please Note: accent clarity refers to group and one-on-one instruction to achieve excellence in the area of speech communication through the adjustment of speech sounds and vocal patterns. It is not English as a Second Language (ESL) training. Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS Accent Clarity

86 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS Participant Evaluations: Church-Related Topics Great enthusiasm for the opportunity to meet with a pastoral team and discuss experiences, ideas Desire for more pastorally-oriented activities Field trip to Martyrs’ Shrine was well worth the effort Enjoyed the opportunity to conconcelebrate at the Cathedral and meet the parishioners

87 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS Participant Evaluations: Church-Related Topics “Personally, I do not think that I discovered a lot of things during this program….” “It is very important before this program to know if the priest knows something about the situation of the Church in Canada. There is a very big difference between priests. It is not the same thing if the priest comes from Europe or comes from Africa, India.” “Deal only with important topics”

88 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS Participant Evaluations: Culture-Related Topics Great desire for more information about: common law living and divorce abuse currency accessing “essential services” (e.g.: health care, police, driver’s license/mechanic) Aboriginal issues “Most afternoon sessions were boring.” “I do not think we need to have so many topics.”

89 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS Participant Evaluations: Accent Clarity Great enthusiasm for the accent clarity sessions; more time desired “Very, very good class” “Bingo!” “There is a need to consider some of the participants who are still new or novice to the English language. Thus there is a necessity to go back to the root of English grammar….”

90 Institute for Catholic Formation at SPS What Did We Learn About the Participants? As observed by the planning committee: highly educated general openness to program, very respectful toward organizers and most presenters wide range of abilities in use of English, verbal and written need to spend more time on attitudes toward women and lay ministers not a lot of enthusiasm for the Church-related topics need to incorporate more time for accent clarity *On hold

91 Outstanding Themes/Issues/Questions Assessment Accessibility Curriculum Recruitment Process Commitment

92 Provide feedback to participants Provide a report on an individual priest’s ability to work in the Canadian context. Offer counselling to participants who are struggling Clear learning goals with follow up to see if goals have been met? Implications for mandate? OutstandingThemes/Issues/Questions 1. Assessment

93 Outstanding Themes/Issues/Questions 2. Accessibility National? Pros, cons Regional? Pros, cons Local? Pros, cons Online? Pros, cons How long? How many times a year?

94 Outstanding Themes/Issues/Questions 3. Curriculum Risk management Boundary issue… What are the key subject areas that ought to be addressed?

95 Outstanding Themes/Issues/Questions 4. Recruitment Process Should we develop a bureaucracy that helps dioceses identify ministerial needs for a given year, go out and locate priests through international contacts, bring them to Canada, process their papers, and then finally register them in the program?

96 Outstanding Themes/Issues/Questions 5. Commitment More than moral support

97 Practical Materials

98 What Can We Do? Environmental Scan: # of international priests currently in ministry in diocese # of years in the diocese country of origin Assistance with accent acquisition?

99 What Can We Do? Do we have the resources to send men to a regional program? Do we need to set up a local experience by accessing resources available through regional programs?

100 What Can We Do? If local, then what are the particular needs that we have? How do we do a needs assessment?

101 What Can We Do? Should local and regional acculturation programs assess a priest’s suitability for ministry in Canada/local diocese?

102 Top six short term recommendations to come out of entire study 1. Follow guidelines set out by national episcopal conferences, when available. 2. Begin orienting the priests in their home country before they arrive on our shores. 3. Prepare the receiving pastor and parish for the coming of an international priest. 4. Expand and improve the orientation programs for incoming priests. 5. Assign a mentor or companion to each incoming international priest. 6. Consult with the international priests about their needs. International Priests in America, 124

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