Bishops provide parish councils with cultural diversity resource

New Zealand’s Catholic bishops hope a new formation booklet will help parish councils to respond to the increasing cultural diversity in parishes.

Copies of the booklet "Creating inclusive and connected communities" will be sent to New Zealand Catholic parishes over the next week.

The booklet provides background reading and questions for parish councils to consider as a means of reviewing how welcoming and inclusive their parish community is. It encourages them to identify any barriers that might be preventing some cultural groups from participating.

Parish councils are encouraged to identify steps to begin to respond to increased cultural diversity, to improve on what is already working, and to set new challenges. They are also asked to consider how their parish acknowledges and fosters the presence of Maori.

The booklet reflects the bishops’ Pastoral Priorities Plan which expresses their desire for parishes to recognise the gifts and new life migrants are bringing to the Church and for migrants to take opportunities to contribute fully to the life of the Church. This process, they say, begins with welcoming migrants in parishes and into all aspects of Church life.

“It is our hope that parishes will remain unified while celebrating the richness of this diversity,” the bishops say. “We wish to equip parish councils to respond to different groups in their parishes to consider how they could change or improve their current responses to the cultural diversity in our midst.”

The booklet prepares the way for the Social Justice Week 2010, which will have the same focus.

For more information or to arrange an interview with one of the bishops contact

Angela Pyke
Communications Adviser
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference
Tel 04 496 1725
Mob 021 611 052