Enculturation Program - International Priests Training Module

Program Dates

May 2020


Fidelity to Christ compels us “to proclaim the gospel to all nations” (Matt. 28:19). In a multicultural country like Canada, proclaiming the gospel requires intercultural awareness and dialogue which are vital aspects of everyday life. The Enculturation Program for International Priests provides international priests and their parishioners with the tools to serve in a culturally sensitive manner.

The Enculturation Program for International Priests in Western Canada is designed to strengthen the ministry of priests whose native culture is not Canadian. The program consists of three interconnected modules which will provide a broad base of support for the international priest and the parish he is serving. The optimal conditions for an international priest successful ministry are strengthened by the support of a mentor, their participation in training module and intercultural awareness learning opportunities for parishioners.


The Western Conference of Catholic Bishops wanted a program for international priests that come to Canada to serve in our Roman Catholic communities.  The EPIPWC is a joint effort between Newman Theological College and Catholic Social Services.

For more information

Contact Doreen Bloos at 780.392.2450 ext. 2211 or doreen.bloos@newman.edu


Church-Related Sessions Include:

  • The Priest at the Heart of Collaborative Ministry, Boundaries
  • Canadian Leadership Values: Transparency, Accountability, Confidentiality
  • Canadian Church History
  • First Nations Peoples of Canada
  • The Parish Office in the Canadian Context
  • Religious Diversity in the Canadian Context
  • Pastoral Care in Canadian Hospitals and Care Homes
  • Finances and Administration in the Canadian Parish
  • Catholic Schools in Canada
  • The Role of Deacons in the Canadian Parish
  • Women in Parish Life as Staff, Volunteers and on Parish Council
  • Canadian Organization for Development & Peace
  • Catholic Women’s League in Canada
  • Self Care amd Evangelization
  • Abuse Prevention and Safe Environments in the Church

Culture-Related Sessions Include:

  • Basis of Cultural Differences
  • Culture Shock
  • Cross-Cultural Communication
  • Racism & Discrimination
  • Social Issues in Canada
  • Family Life & Gender Roles in Canada
  • Hierarchy, and Gender Equality
  • Immigration Issues
  • Multiculturalism
  • Canadian Health Care System
  • Economy, Politics, & Legal System
  • Family Violence & Elder Abuse
  • Canadian Life, Holidays, and Recreation
  • Geography, Climate, & Weather,
  • Winter Dress, Winter Driving, & Vehicles
  • Eldercare in Canada

Through a process of providing information, having discussions, answering questions and taking field trips, different topics are addressed such as: Aboriginal culture, Canadian families and gender roles, political system, economy & social issues, racism & discrimination, youth and youth culture, to name a few.


  • Over 268 international priests have participated in the ten International Priests’ Training Modules held between 2005 - 2019.
  • The participants originated from 22 different countries (India, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Ghana, Guatemala, Republic of Congo, Korea, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Columbia, Sri Lanka, African Republic, Ukraine, Cameroon, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Taiwan, Pakistan, Croatia and Togo).
  • The priests came to serve 18 dioceses: MB (Winnipeg, St. Boniface, Keewatin LePas); SK (Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert); AB (Edmonton, St. Paul, Calgary, Grouard-McLennan); BC (Victoria, Prince George, Vancouver, Nelson); YK (Whitehorse); NWT (Mackenzie-Fort Smith); ON (Toronto); and two religious communities (the Order of Friars Minor and the Order of St. Basil the Great).


  • “It helps broaden and expands my horizon in understanding my vocation and mission. It helps me to be effective in my ministry. It helps me to understand and be flexible to other people in different cultures.”
  • "Knowledge about Canada history, culture, and all the support I needed to be integrated to Canadian culture before passing on God’s message. As pastor in Canada I have to be patient, tolerant, listener, friend maker, good shepherd like Christ. I learned how to approach First Nations people and how to build up a relationship with them.”
  • “I have learned deeper realities about Canada that will help me enculturate smoothly.”
  • “Cultural background & language will help me more. It has created confidence in me to commit myself to the service of this land. “
  • “Language style is a process to be continued; with limited classes we can’t limit our efforts.”
  • “Many parishioners have age related hearing problems, then add in a new priest with a fast, difficult accent, and many had a tough time understanding at first. (Comment from a parish).”
  • The topic of the need for language support is reinforced by a statement made by Fr. Louwagie, omi, who directs the enculturation program in San Antonio, TX. He states: “Failure to systematically dedicate space, time and effort ($$) to [improving their English language skills] from their very moment of arrival, leads to bad linguistic habits which cripple future apostolic work and create uncertainty and insecurity in the international priest”.