“It’s a life-long journey”

“You need an effort, but also passion to be open to other cultures, and to share yours. It’s a life-long journey.”

-Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ

Fr. Andrzej, with the pronunciation of his name in the background

A Polish priest walks into a classroom and leads a group of students in the singing of Psalm 121 in Lingala, one of the national languages of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. presentation to the ECS students at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, said that it was more than just a practical way to bring the afternoon’s topic – “Interculturality and Multicultural Ministries” – to life.

“In many cultures, 1:00 p.m. is SIESTA TIME,” said Fr. Andrzej. “With the help of our Congolese SCJ students, we were able to get everyone to join in the ritual singing and dance. Not only did we begin our afternoon with prayer, but the style got everyone’s energy levels up after lunch so that nobody slept through the presentation, including me!”

Fr. Andrzej has lived interculturality most of his adult life. Originally from the Polish province, he ministered in India and the Philippines before coming to the United States, where he served in formation while earning a doctorate with a focus on interculturality from Catholic Theological Union. He is now pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in Franklin, WI.

“With the ECS students I shared my experience with diversity of cultures and multicultural communities,” said Fr. Andrzej. “I showed them many photos and shared examples. I gave them some basics of intercultural dynamics and skills. But above all I wanted to inspire them for intercultural living and mission. You need an effort, but also passion to be open to other cultures, and to share yours. It’s a life-long journey.

“I told them that they are blessed to experience intercultural community living at SHSST. Perhaps it is a good beginning of their own intercultural journey. I pray for their successful ECS studies, and then, meaningful ministry.”

“ECS” is the English and Culture Studies program at SHSST, formerly known as ESL. Fr. Andrzej spoke to students on July 13.

“I was impressed and learned a lot from our students,” said Fr. Andrzej. “We are blessed indeed to have so many Dehonians and other students from throughout the world. This ECS program is a service to the Church and our congregation.”