The Intercultural Church: Theological Foundations and Pastoral Practices

Next Session: Jan 06, 2025

This course is based on the bilingual manual Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers, published by the USCCB. Beginning with the mission of the Church and the demands of the New Evangelization, the manual explores what culture is and how it affects us, how to develop intercultural communication skills, how to recognize the damaging dynamics of racism, and finally, how to promote a spirituality of hospitality, reconciliation, and mission.

This course also incorporates readings from the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other documents to complement the theological themes of the manual. Each participant will have the opportunity to reflect upon his or her own experience and identify areas for personal growth in developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes for ministry in intercultural contexts.


Option to Participate in Spanish

This course is also available in Spanish through STEP’s sister program, Camino. Click to learn more about taking this course in Spanish..

Course Content

Unit 1 - Theological Foundations: Mission and Evangelization

Unit 2 - Culture and Intercultural Capacities

Unit 3 - Intercultural Communication in Pastoral Ministry

Unit 4 - Obstacles: Racism, Prejudice, and Stereotypes

Unit 5 - A Spirituality of Reconciliation and Ecclesial Integration

Course Format

  • Six weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
  • Typically 15-20 students in each course.
  • In addition to assigned readings from Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers and the Catholic Catechism, additional material is provided online.
  • Written assignments (200-250 words) required.
  • Facilitator-moderated Zoom sessions with students in course.

Required Texts

  • Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers (Bilingual). Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2014.

  • Bible and Catechism of the Catholic Church (available online)

  • All other materials will be provided in the course

Participation Requirements

  • Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
  • Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
  • Respond to the assignment in each unit.
  • Participate in at least 3 scheduled Zoom sessions throughout the course.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

3 to 5 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

A certificate of completion awarding 25 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.


This course was developed in close collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church.

María del Mar  Muñoz-Visoso, MTS

María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso, MTS

María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso holds a bachelor of arts in communications with a major in journalism from Centro Escuela Universitaria San Pablo in Valencia, Spain, and a master of theological studies degree from the Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. She has over two decades of experience as an editor and journalist and in Hispanic ministry, with emphasis on leadership development, training, and organizing.

She has worked in radio and the written press and was the founding editor of El Pueblo Católico, a Catholic Spanish- language diocesan newspaper. She was Director of Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Denver and co-founded and was executive director of Centro San Juan Diego, a pastoral institute and adult education center for Hispanics in Denver. Most recently, she was assistant director of Media Relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops until her appointment as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church in February 2012. She and her husband Rafael have three children.