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Catholic Charities, parish liaisons explore cultural understanding

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How does understanding different cultures and the people who are a part of those cultures affect how Catholic Charities, parishes and the church serves people in need?

About 40 people, primarily representatives from parishes throughout the diocese, delved into the question at Catholic Charities’ March Parish Liaison Network meeting at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge March 11.

Jessica Estrada, director of Catholic Charities Newcomer Services, which serves refugees and immigrants, said we often form opinions about those we serve based on race, gender, language, dress, education level, religion and other factors. While generalizing may help us form our first thought about how to assist someone, stereotyping can block us from offering people the care they really need.

“You are not responsible for your first thought” about a person, said Estrada. “You are responsible for your second thought and first action, and that is where your power lies.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020