In this complex time of ever-increasing diversity, we are continually faced with the possibilities of encounter and isolation. The natural tendency to relate only with people who share our cultural values and religious beliefs unconsciously reinforces ethnocentric isolationism, a room full of mirrors. Francis’ challenge to encounter the “other” – the one who looks, acts, and believes differently – moves us beyond our comfort zone to a greater self-awareness and the openness to see the world from another’s point of view. Intentional relationships with people of other races and cultures is the only way to diffuse fear, challenge stereotypes, and change prejudices. This webinar will examine the phases of this journey towards encounter and its implications for mission in today’s world, divided by walls of fear and mistrust. Join us in sharing the wisdom of our experiences and how we can together build bridges for respectful encounter and intercultural relationships.
Dr. Arturo Chávez is the President of MACC, the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. Since 2007, Dr. Chávez has led the organization into its current transition from a Cultural Center to a Catholic College that offers B.A. and M.A. degrees in Pastoral Ministry. The unique degree plans are offered bilingually to meet the growing needs of Latinos for higher education, especially for service in faith communities. Prior to MACC, he worked in a variety of ministries – as a teacher, youth minister, a chaplain to the incarcerated, and a community organizer. He founded a nonprofit youth organization called JOVEN and was instrumental in establishing other faith-based partnerships to address the urgent needs of families who are poor and disenfranchised. Nationally recognized for his efforts to combat racism and poverty, President Obama appointed him to the White House Council on Faith-based partnerships. In 2010, Catholic Charities USA recognized him as “…a national champion of the poor” with the “Keep the Dream Alive Award” in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The National Association on Lay Ministry recently bestowed the San Juan Diego Award to recognize his years of service to the Church. Dr. Chávez holds a Ph.D. in Religious and Theological Studies, from the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology, with a focus on the relationship between religion and social change.