Language, Culture and Ministry Workshops
Challenges for International Priests
International priests serving in the United States bring many gifts and talents to their ministry, but also face distinct challenges. One of the most pervasive challenges is that of language.
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.
This workshop training aims to give priests the skills needed to:
- produce a standard North American accent
- proclaim the Gospel and other liturgical texts in a listener-friendly manner for North American audiences
- learn strategies for effective interpersonal communication in the United States.
This training is delivered in eight sessions, typically over the span of 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 the method and exercises in Cultural Detective®, 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.