Cultural Orientation Program for International Ministers

The Cultural Orientation Program for International Ministers (COPIM) is designed to support the ministry of priests and religious sisters and brothers whose native culture is not that of the United States. The program was started in 1990 in response to needs expressed by some international priests themselves, as well as diocesan bishops, vicars for clergy, continuing education directors, and offices of ethnic ministries.

Carried out in a series of three 3-day workshops, COPIM gives priests and religious opportunities for cultural dialogue in supportive, affirming contexts. They learn more about the church, society, and culture of the United States while also appreciating and affirming their own cultural heritage and values. The goal is to enable them to become more critically aware of both their own cultures and the U.S. culture(s) they serve.

Who Should Participate

COPIM is designed for priests and for religious sisters and brothers who have come from other countries to work in the United States within the past five years and are already engaged in pastoral ministry here. Invitation to participate in this program ordinarily comes through their bishop or religious superior. Ministers born in the United States who work in intercultural contexts or those from other countries who have been here for many years may also attend. Priests or religious from any culture will find the COPIM workshops informative, challenging, and helpful for ministry in today's Church.

Program Benefits

Understanding how to recognize and respect cross-cultural boundaries is crucial for ministry in today’s multicultural situations. Theory and skills learned in this program prepare the participants for more effective ministry in the U.S. and for reentry in case they return to their country of origin. Guest speakers include leading experts on the cultural, social, pastoral, theological, and legal aspects of Church life and ministry in the United States today. Students will expand and deepen their understanding of the church, society, and cultures in the United States, inviting them to:

  • Appreciate and affirm the unique contributions of their own cultural heritage
  • Learn skills for ministering more effectively within and across various cultures
  • Understand cultural issues better and integrate more easily into diocesan and religious ministries
  • Develop broader networks of support among international priests and religious
  • Recognize that each culture has a contribution to make and to receive from the Gospel

Methodology

The COPIM workshops use adult education models with as much dialogue and interaction as possible. Most of the presentations are given in English, but are translated into other languages, as necessary. Small group discussions may take place in Spanish or other languages common to the group.  Content presentations provide useful information in areas of culture, church history, theology, and pastoral ministry.  Question and answer periods allow the participants to understand more fully the issues raised by the presenters. 

Small group sessions provide time for further dialogue among the participants, whose ministerial and personal experiences are honored as valuable resources for pastoral reflection.  Guest speakers include leading experts on the cultural, social, pastoral, theological, and legal aspects of church life and ministry in the United States today. For further general information, please click on the following:

General Information

Course and program requirements, schedules and tuition are subject to change; and additional fees may be incurred for books and materials. Click here to review all policies prior to enrollment. A certificate of completion and continuing education credit is awarded to those who complete all three workshops. Regular attendance and in-class participation is required. For additional information, contact the Center for Religion and Spirituality at (310) 338-2799 or crs@lmu.edu, or contact the program facilitators directly (listed below under 'Faculty').

  • Registration + Fees

    Begins: September 26, 2016

    Tuition: $1,695 ($565 per workshop)

    Scholarship:

    • Register and pay for all three workshops by Sept. 1, 2016: $1,485 ($210 scholarship)
    • Register and pay for each workshop at least 30 days in advance: $510 ($55 scholarship)
    • Register and pay for each workshop less than 30 days in advance: $525 ($40 scholarship)

    Fees include registration, tuition, program materials, and private room and board in a beautiful retreat house setting.  Participation in COPIM is funded according to the arrangements for continuing education in most local dioceses or religious orders. 

  • Schedule

    This program meets for three 3-day (overnight) sessions during the Fall and Spring terms. Each workshop in the program includes overnight accommodations at a retreat center. Workshops begin at 5:00 p.m. on Mondays, and conclude at 1:00 p.m. following lunch on Wednesdays:

    • Workshop 1: Sep 26-28, 2016 (Malibu)
    • Workshop 2: Mar 13-15, 2017 (Malibu)
    • Workshop 3: May 15-17, 2017 (Santa Barbara)

    Locations
    La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center
    800 El Bosque Road
    Santa Barbara, CA 93108
    --Click here for the Casa de María website

    Serra Retreat Center
    3401 Serra Road
    Malibu, CA 90265
    --Click here for the Serra Retreat website

  • Faculty
  • Course Requirements

    Students must complete a total of 4.5 semester hours in coursework with a letter grade of 'B-' or higher in each course to receive a certificate of completion. Please refer to the course catalog for required text, class meeting location, and other general information.

    Coursework: CLPX 800, CLPX 801, and CLPX 802

  • Course Descriptions

    CLPX 800
    Cultural Orientation I

    1.5 Semester Hours

    CLPX 801
    Cultural Orientation II
    1.5 Semester Hours

    CLPX 802
    Cultural Orientation III
    1.5 Semester Hours

    Understanding how to recognize and respect cross-cultural boundaries is crucial for ministry in today’s multicultural situations. The Cultural Orientation Program for International Ministers (COPIM) is a series of three 3-day workshops designed to support the ministry of priests and religious sisters and brothers whose native culture is not that of the United States. Students will expand and deepen their understanding of the church, society, and cultures in the United States through an examination global and American culture, pastoral ministry, theological, social and legal aspects of Church life in the United States today. Theory and skills learned in this program prepare students for more effective ministry in the U.S. and for reentry in case they return to their country of origin.