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Issue Date:  September 15, 2006

'All of the beauty of God'

The influx of immigrants in the United States poses challenges to Catholic parishes seeking the best way to serve new arrivals, from practical questions of scheduling Masses in foreign languages, to broader issues of creating one community amid ethnic diversity.

But those who work in multicultural ministry see the gifts that the newcomers bring to the American church as well. As Franciscan Br. Rufino Zaragoza says, “I hunger for God’s face, but one culture does not contain all of the beauty of God.”

Zaragoza serves in one of the most culturally diverse dioceses in the country: Oakland, Calif., where Sunday Masses are held in 17 languages. Reporter Sharon Abercrombie profiles this diocese and the efforts of Catholics there to welcome all into the community. ( See story)

On the other side of the country, in North Carolina, Patrick O’Neill writes about a project that is bringing the social justice teachings of the Catholic church to the stage ( see story). Begun in 2004 with the backing of a local parish, the Justice Theater Project aims to use drama to get its audiences thinking about some of the most contentious issues in society.

For 50 years, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps has been sending people to live out those social justice ideas through service in the United States and abroad. The experience can have an impact on the life choices of volunteers, lasting long after their time with the Corps has ended. Kris Berggren interviews former volunteers on the ways in which their experience has them -- in the words of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps recruiting slogan -- “ruined for life.” Says former volunteer Effie Caldarola, whose husband and daughter also served with the organization, “It puts you in touch with the poor in a way American Catholics don’t always see.” ( See story)

-- Teresa Malcolm

Additional Ministries stories
Director links artistic gifts with faith journey

By Patrick O'Neill
Kmhmu needs call for 'ministry of accompaniment'

By Sharon Abercrombie
Church aids Hispanic day laborers

Priscilla Greear

National Catholic Reporter, September 15, 2006

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