Last week, the central government participated in a two-day session focused on interculturality. We were led by Fr. Peter Claver SVD, a native of Ghana and the Provincial of his mother province in Germany, with over 200 members—nearly half of whom originate from various countries. As a community of eleven Oblates from eleven different nationalities, we understand the importance of fostering interculturality within our group.

The session emphasized that interculturality is an ongoing process filled with challenges and opportunities. There needed to be more than a single session. It’s easy to bring people from different cultures together and build respect and tolerance (multiculturality). It is also easy to find harmony by focusing on the similarities between our cultures and valuing them while steering clear of our differences (transculturality). Although this is a complex topic to unpack briefly, I believe that in religious life, we are called to be communities engaged in missionary communion. Our challenge lies in embracing interculturality, where we acknowledge our differences and commonalities in order to collectively bring about “something new” inspired by the Holy Spirit. In doing so, we enhance our humanity without jeopardizing our identities by remaining open to the novel realities we construct together. This new reality, of course, doesn’t materialize out of thin air; it must be deeply rooted in the context in which it develops.

In today’s world, migratory movements create many situations where different cultures meet with unprecedented speed. This can threaten coexistence and even lead to a loss of identity. Technology often bypasses natural processes to communicate. By actively committing to interculturality in our communities, we could serve as a beacon of evangelical prophecy to our world. To do this, we can think about the insights from numbers 17 and 19.1 of the document “Pilgrims of Hope in Communion” from the last General Chapter. Even though our first formation is already immersed in this dynamic, there is still much more we can do. This call to action extends beyond those in first formation—it is for all of us, not just those living abroad.

Do we possess the courage to navigate the paths of interculturality?

General Superior