Our parishes are called to equip parishioners as missionary disciples and in order to do this, leaders need insight into how the Catholic faith and identity are connected to culture. That’s why the Diocese of St. Petersburg has introduced an initiative to help parishes improve how they welcome, receive, and encourage diverse cultures and invite them to assume roles of leadership in the Church.
This initiative is called “Building Intercultural Competencies for Ministers” (BICM) and it was first developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. The program focuses on training for intercultural competency to help parishes thrive by enabling them to tap into the vitality of emerging new groups.
On May 14, 2019, 44 local leaders received an overview of BICM during a Mentorship Session for Ministers hosted by the Department of Evangelization, Formation, Youth, & Family Life. The presenters were Carlos Flores, Director of Hispanic Ministry and Dale Brown, Director of the Lay Pastoral Ministry Institute (LPMI). Attendees were introduced to the five guidelines that have been developed into five learning modules recommended by the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church:
- Frame issues of diversity theologically
- Seek deeper understanding of culture
- Develop intercultural communication skills
- Expand knowledge of the obstacles that impede effective intercultural relations
- Foster ecclesial integration/inclusion
“Building Intercultural Competencies for Ministers provides a basic level of awareness and proficiency in the area of intercultural competence and will help parishes in realizing the goal of evangelization in our vision, Courageously Living the Gospel,” said Flores.
This Fall, participants of LPMI will also receive an overview of BICM during their orientation session. The Diocese of St. Petersburg will launch a series of workshops in the Spring of 2020 (Dates TBD) that will provide in-depth training on the guidelines for BICM.
For more information about Building Intercultural Competencies for Ministers, go to