June 1st - June 5th, 2015
The personal learning of each international priest who participates in the International Priests Training Module will be more effective as a result of on-going personal support by a mentor. The mentor will provide a bridge of mutual understanding between the International Priest and the Canadian Parish.
Experience tells us that, nobody else could better understand a priest in transition than another priest who is willing to provide support to address challenges connected with adaptation and increase successful integration. Proper training is required for this process to be successful.
Who is a Mentor?
The mentor is a friendly colleague who helps the international priest to navigate the challenging waters of the new cultural river. The mentor should be an “equal” to the International priest. The mentor can be a Canadian born priest or could be another international priest as long as he is well integrated into Canadian society and life of the Canadian parish.
The mentor is assigned by the bishop of the diocese. However, the mentor is not expected to report back to the bishop. A relationship of mutual trust and respect is essential for successful mentorship.
He needs to be a generous realist and an approachable guide who has a great deal of pastoral experience in his own diocese but also multicultural exposure which has provided him with knowledge and experience of other cultures and the Church’s theological and liturgical adaptations.
What is expected of a Mentor?
Every International priest is unique and every mentor priest is unique. Appropriate adjustment and adaptation needs to be made according to the different needs of the international priest and talents of the mentor.
1. Before Arrival
The mentor is expected to make first contact with the international priest via email, Skype, regular post, or telephone before his arrival in Canada. The mentor will make himself available to answer any possible questions that might arise. In addition the mentor shall make arrangements to receive and welcome the international priest upon arrival in the parish.
2. Ongoing Mentorship Process
The initial stage of adaptation begins with the welcome and proceeds with day-to-day mentoring. In the first few days or weeks it is vital that the newly arrived international priest feels welcome in order to begin the process of adaptation and integration.
The initial contact made before the arrival of the international priest is now further developed. The mentor generously offers his time and guidance in a spirit of patience and understanding, which includes an interest in the international priest and his culture.
The focus of the mentor is to provide guidance to the international priest. The mentor’s understanding of the Canadian context will allow him to walk beside the international priest as he develops his own network and relationships within the parish. The mentor offers information about culture, traditions and social systems in Canada.
Over time it is expected that the mentor will change the focus of mentorship away from personal needs to professional skills. As the international priest adjusts more fully towards Canadian values and attitudes he will become more confident and independent in his ministry.
It is expected that the mentorship will last for two years from the date of first contact of the international priest. The friendly availability of the mentor could continue, however the formal mentoring relationship will be officially closed with a formal evaluation of the process by both the international priest and the mentor, which will be shared with the Enculturation team.
All mentors will participate in a four-day training session at NTC provided by the Enculturation team.
The Training will provide knowledge, skills, strategies, and understanding, which will allow the mentor priest to be effective and succeed in his role as a mentor.