International Students and the Meeting of Cultures
November 30 – December 3, 2011
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (PCPCMIP)
The Third Congress on the Pastoral Care of International Students explored the role of the Church in facilitating the holistic reception of international students into the com-munity of faith and culture of their host country, and celebrating the gifts of faith and culture which these students bring with them.
The delegates came from 36 countries: bishops, priests, religious men and women, lay campus ministers, members of various national and international associations and thirty students along with fraternal dele-gates from other Christian denominations.
Canada was well represented and its dele-gates were noticed for their active participation throughout the Congress. Our delegation included: Fr. Daniel Renaud, OMI (St. Paul’s University, Ottawa); Sr. Elaine Baete, S.G.M, (St. Paul’s College Manitoba); Mr. Gérard Byamungu (Ryerson University); Ms. Katrina Laquian; (University of Victoria); Ms. Janice Ryan (St. Thomas More University, N.B) and Sr. Norma McDonald, CSC (Université de Saint-Boniface).
The theme of the congress concerned inter-national students and the meetings of cultures. The discussions covered the following topics: culture and gospel; the meeting of cultures and its positive and challenging outcomes; the meeting of cultures and evangelization in school & university set-tings; culture and education; and the need for a specific pastoral approach towards the care of international students.
Four of our delegates also took the initiative to meet with a specialist in political affairs at the Canadian Embassy to the Holy See. We sent general information about CCCM, CCSA and IMCS, as well, a draft copy of the program of the Congress prior to our interview.
The CCCM campus ministers are now implementing their experiences gained through the congress to help in the pastoral care of internal students in their universities. Canadian campuses have an estimated 103,000 International students studying in universities across Canada, consisting of 10% of the student population.
This five page report presents an overview of the III Congress held in Rome, 30th November- 3rd December, 2011 on the theme International Students and the Meeting of Cultures.