In a vibrant exchange of cultures, Missio and Catholic Missionary Union recently hosted a National Course for Overseas Catholic Ministers who have recently arrived in England and Wales.

Held at the serene Oblate Retreat & Spirituality Centre in Crewe, England, the course aimed to equip 29 participants from 10 different countries with essential tools for effective pastoral ministry in their newfound settings.

Overcoming the challenges of mission overseas

Missio supporters will be well aware of the work of missionaries overseas. But within the changing global landscape of the Church, missionaries are arriving from other countries to our own shores, to ignite God’s love and share the message of faith with people locally. 

As much as any other posting a missionary might receive, coming to the United Kingdom (UK) from overseas is a lot to get used to – not only in terms of language and climate, but also in terms of customs, culture, and daily life.

That’s why Father Anthony Chantry, Missio’s National Director in England and Wales, saw a need for this special course, to introduce overseas ministers to the life of faith here.

Embracing culture

The course aimed to introduce participants to the nuances of the local culture and society, providing insights into handling culture shock and embracing the rich history of the Catholic Church in the UK. Throughout the programme, attendees engaged in sessions led by various speakers, delving into topics crucial for their pastoral roles.

One key focus area was strategies for working young people, recognising the pivotal role they play in the contemporary Church. Participants explored diverse approaches to youth pastoral ministry, gaining valuable insights into connecting with younger generations in the unique context of the UK.

The course facilitated an in-depth understanding of the UK’s education system, ensuring ministers are well-versed in the dynamics of the local school environment. There were also sessions dedicated to the art of preaching homilies within the specific context of the UK Catholic Church; allowing participants to enhance their communication with the local congregation.

Cultural transition

Recognising the importance of cultural sensitivity in a multicultural society, the course addressed social etiquettes and norms prevalent in the local community. Participants engaged in fruitful discussions on inculturation – the process of adapting to a new environment – and explored practical ways to navigate various situations within a parish setup.

Creating a safe and welcoming environment

A significant portion of the course was dedicated to discussing safeguarding as a ministry and theology. Participants delved into the crucial aspects of safeguarding, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of their responsibilities in creating safe and nurturing spaces within their ministries.

The National Course for Catholic Ministers served as a platform for cross-cultural learning, fostering a sense of community among participants from different corners of the globe. As the attendees return to their respective parishes and communities, they carry with them not only a deeper understanding of the UK’s cultural and ecclesiastical landscape but also a strengthened commitment to their pastoral mission in this new chapter of their ministry.

Find out more about the National Course here>>

Hear from missionaries in England and Wales

We recently caught up with Mill Hill Missionaries who are currently posted in England and Wales. Hear about their experiences in their own words here:

A vital part of our mission

The collaborative efforts of Missio and the Catholic Missionary Union continue to play a vital role in building bridges across borders, nurturing a global network of Catholic ministers committed to spreading the message of faith and love.

Article adapted from the original by Fr Edson Paguntalan MHM