The cultural diversity of today’s Catholics creates a complex melding of traditions; devotional expression that ranges from shrines in the home, to colorful street processions, to charismatic services drawing hundreds of thousands of worshipers each week; and societal circumstances such as unemployment and violence that influence how Catholics prioritize values.
Catholics & Cultures is the first program in the nation to prepare students for leadership and participation in a Church that is global in scope and yet remarkably shaped by local culture. It explores the myriad ways that ordinary lay Catholics around the world experience their faith in the cultures where they live.
Here, we will highlight ways that educators might use the Catholics & Cultures website to help their students explore the cultural traditions of a group of Catholics, make connections between countries and cultures, suggest narratives from the demographic data presented, and take advantage of the website’s vast repository of images and videos to illustrate the diversity of Catholic practices and values in regions around the world. We will suggest multidisciplinary project ideas that draw upon the traditions illustrated and explored in the Catholics & Cultures website.
Teaching Global Catholicism at the Undergraduate Level
Catholics & Cultures Fellow Marc Loustau shares his experience week to week teaching an undergraduate level course on Contemporary Global Catholicism. Follow his blog for a weekly review of lessons, readings and resources, as well as the author's impressions as a first-time teacher of global Catholicism of what worked and what didn't in the classroom.
Students in the Fundamentals of Drawing class at the College of the Holy Cross used the Catholics & Cultures website to learn about the Latin American Catholic tradition of creating street carpets — called tapetes in Brazil or alfombras in Guatemala — from colored sawdust, flowers or sand to line a procession route for Easter Sunday. People in the Tuscan town of Camaiore, Italy, build tappeti for the Corpus Domini procession. The students studied videos and slideshows to understand imagery, layout and construction. They then interpreted the practice on a smaller scale by creating a 24 by 5 foot colored sand carpet outside the College’s chapel for the Holy Week Masses. Read more.