Language, Culture and Ministry Workshops

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Challenges for International Priests

International priests serving in the United States bring many gifts and talents to their ministry, but also face distinct challenges. Among the most pervasive challenges are those of language and intercultural communications.

Even though most international priests have a strong command of the English language, they experience difficulty being understood by their parishioners due to lexical and accent variations. Along with different accents, cross-cultural misunderstandings can create a barrier for the priest, diminishing the overall effectiveness of his ministry.

Communication and Cultural Identity 

International priests want to be understood by their parishioners in order to minister to them effectively and build good relationships with them.

Accent training is not intended to "Americanize" the international priest or neutralize his accent so as to diminish his cultural identity. Rather, it aims to give the priest skills he can implement to communicate in his ministry more effectively.

Developing a deeper understanding of the differing cultural values and behaviors of both himself and his American parishioners equips the priest to act effectively in supporting his parish, his ministry, and those co-workers with whom he ministers. 

Workshop Goals

This workshop training aims to give priests the skills needed to:


This training is delivered in eight sessions, typically over two or three days, depending on the needs and availability of the diocese and the participants.


Using techniques from the Compton P-ESL  (Pronouncing English as a Second Language) method, participants will progress systematically through the essential elements of producing the target accent, including individual sounds, words, sentences and elements of prosody (rhythm, stress, intonation and phrasing). Participants will then apply these principles to their proclamation of liturgical texts, as well as by negotiating meaning in interpersonal encounters.

Through printed materials assimilated from various cultural experts, participants will explore scenarios common to ministry in U.S. settings and discover the differences in values that shape and define our various and particular cultures.