January 22, 2021

Franciscan’s doctorate work has strong ties to local Church

(En Espanol)

By Mike Krokos

Although he moved on from his position as the archdiocesan director of the Office of Intercultural Ministry in 2015, Franciscan Brother Moises Gutierrez left an imprint.

Many will remember his work in helping create the Intercultural Pastoral Institute (IPI), whose goal is to form pastoral and catechetical leaders within the various ethnic communities in the Church in central and southern Indiana.

Others will recall him helping organize the first-ever intercultural ministry gala in 2014—attended by several hundred people—which provided the archdiocese an opportunity to experience the universality of the local Church.

“The main goal, the main purpose is to help the archdiocese become more aware of the diversity here, and also to show the archdiocese this is something that we should celebrate,” Brother Moises said at the time. “That is the beauty of diversity.”

So it should come as no surprise that Brother Moises’ ministry in the archdiocese played a prominent role in his dissertation recently presented in Gonzaga University’s doctoral program of philosophy in leadership in Spokane, Wash.

In it, he developed a model for an international mindset for global and local leadership.

“I am very grateful that my experiences in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that prepared me for this,” Brother Moises said during a recent visit to Indianapolis.

“We need a global mindset, even when we lead locally, even when we are local leaders,” he noted. “That was my experience here in Indianapolis.

“In the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, with the diversity present … with the Latinos, the African Catholics, the Koreans, the Filipinos, the Burmese, it showed the importance of really having a global mindset.”

Other global initiative models are business oriented, said Brother Moises, 55. But the one in his dissertation is not.

“I felt … we needed one that is more human.”

That humanity, he noted, was always on display here through the local Church.

It included an expansion of the intercultural pastoral leadership programs for Catholics of Black, Burmese and Hispanic background. It also helped initiate an ethnic dinner series spotlighting African, Burmese, Korean, Mexican, Filipino and Vietnamese food and cultures, and assisted in highlighting special cultural Masses.

“I’m a learner,” Brother Moises said, and his work at Gonzaga “has opened so many other doors for ministry.

“I’m excited about this next phase in my life—whatever it is—as a leader, as a Franciscan, as a person … as a Christian.”

He has been offered a teaching position at Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego, but Brother Moises said he is still exploring other opportunities and “discerning” what God is calling him to do next. He is also considering working on his post-doctorate and doing “field work in different countries. That is the idea, to continue in reaching this model of global mindset.”

Reflecting on his years ministering in the archdiocese, Brother Moises said he truly misses the people.

“Indianapolis has been one of the cities I felt at home so much quicker and easier,” he said. “I guess part of that was the ministry I was doing, … connecting with people from different cultures and different backgrounds. I just loved that.

“I was enriched by my experience here,” he continued, “and I am so grateful to the archdiocese for allowing me to walk with the Catholics and the diversity here.” †

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