Little Church on the Prairie: Using Cultural Detective® Tools to Train International Priests


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Guest post by Tatyana Fertelmeyster

Dr. William (Bill) Dant of WPD Global Solutions and Tatyana Fertelmeyster of Connecting Differences Consulting will present a session titled Little Church on the Prairie: The Training of International Priests Serving in Roman Catholic Parishes in the Rural U.S.A. at the SIETAR-USA conference in Arlington, VA on Thursday, November 7th, 3:45-5:00 pm.

In 2012 almost one out of every five priests serving as parish clergy in the USA came from abroad. The majority of these priests are from developing countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America. Despite the acknowledged universality of the Roman Catholic Church’s liturgy around the world, the cultural and interpersonal contexts of these priests back home are often drastically different from those of a US-born priest practicing in parish service in his own culture.

Our presentation shares and engages with participants on a work in progress: in 2012 the Lilly Endowment provided a grant to the Seminary of St. Meinrad in Indiana to develop intercultural and linguistic training materials for Roman Catholic priests, and to pilot them in five different rural areas across the United States. As consultants to this project — as the principal curriculum developer (Tatyana Fertelmeyster) and training facilitator (Bill Dant) — we wanted to share with our colleagues the experiences and challenges we faced in working with this “niche” population and set of intercultural challenges.

Several of the Cultural Detective packages (CD: Self-Discovery and CD-USA as core design elements, as well as CD packages for specific countries/regions represented by the priests: India, Philippines, Poland, West Africa, etc.) have been used in the program design, and Cultural Detective Online is employed as a way to engage diverse participants in building bridges between their own cultural perspectives and those they experience in the US-American culture.

This entry was posted in New course/workshop, Press Release by Dianne Hofner Saphiere. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dianne Hofner Saphiere

There are loads of talented people in this gorgeous world of ours. We all have a unique contribution to make, and if we collaborate, I am confident we have all the pieces we need to solve any problem we face. I have been an intercultural organizational effectiveness consultant since 1979, working primarily with for-profit multinational corporations. I lived and worked in Japan in the late 70s through the 80s, and currently live in and work from México, where with a wonderful partner we've raised a bicultural, global-minded son. I have worked with organizations and people from over 100 nations in my career. What's your story?

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