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Cultural Immersion & Agency Report

Sydney Francis
Wilmington University
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Population Selected for Cultural Immersion


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Catholics and Catholic Church

Populations History and Major Milestones

Roman Catholicism is a worldwide religious tradition of some 1.1 billion

members. The exact date of the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church is
indeterminable. While the belief system recognized as Christianity is in place
by the first century. In the year 313 Constantine established Christianity as
the state religion.
In the Early Middle Ages, after the invasion of Germanic peoples into
the territories of the Roman Empire, there was a period of chaos. Barbarian
kingdoms took the place of the Empire. Much ancient culture disappeared,
and the Church preserved some of it.

In 800, the Pope crowned Charlemagne emperor in order to resurrect the

ancient Western Roman Empire. This caused Christianity to move from the
Mediterranean area to the area located from the kingdom of the Franks to

In the High Point of the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church experienced
a reformation through the ranks of monasticism. This was the time of the
Crusades, beginning in 1095 and lasting for several centuries. As a response
to the rise of the bourgeoisie or the city people with money who were
involved in commerce, cities grew, and new monastic orders arose. The most

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important were the Franciscans and Dominicans. They supported themselves

through begging. They brought about a new awakening in missionary work
and penetrated the universities where they were the leaders of scholastic
theology. Important figures were Bonaventure (Franciscan) and Thomas
Aquinas (Dominican).

Great cathedrals arose at this time and the papacy reached the height of its
power and prestige, most notably in the papacy of Innocent III (1198-1216).

In the Late Middle Ages, the decline of the papacy was rapid. The seat of the
papacy moved from Rome to Avignon on the French border (1309-1377). The
Great Western Schism occurred at this time with two and sometimes three
popes claiming the papacy (1378-1423). The movement that brought the
Church back to one pope was the movement where councils met and made
decisions. During this time, the popes began to pay more attention to
building beautiful palaces and making war on Italian potentates than on the
spiritual life. Scholastic theology became more and more specialized and of
more interest to the theologians themselves than related to the daily life of
the average Christian.

From 1453 to 1600, two important events took place in history that greatly
affected the Roman Catholic Church. They were the discovery and
conquest of the Americas and the Protestant Reformation. The Roman

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Catholic Church underwent a renewal called, the Counter-Reformation. The

First Vatican Council was held in 1870. It was here that the pope was formally
declared infallible. Pope Pius IX reacted to modernism democracy, freedom
of conscience by condemning it. During this time, the Christian faith
became truly universal through wide geographic expansion. Beginning with
the papacy of John XXIII in 1958, there was an opening up to the modern
world. The Second Vatican Council opened in 1962 brought further reform to
the Church. (
Autobiography or Biography
Title- The Life Of Thomas More
Author- Peter Ackroyd
Publication Date- 1998
Major Themes- Born in London, England, in 1478, Thomas Mores 1516 book
Utopia was the forerunner of the utopian literary genre. More served as an
important counselor to King Henry VIII of England, serving as his key
counselor in the early 1500s, but after he refused to accept the king as head
of the Church of England, he was tried for treason and beheaded (he died in
London, England, in 1535). More is noted for coining the word Utopia, in
reference to an ideal political system in which policies are governed by
reason. He was canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint in 1935, and has
been commemorated by the Church of England as a Reformation martyr.
Over the course of Thomass life he had many other things he wanted to
accomplish but he being a devote Catholic he felt he was always being
pushed to do something to serve god. He went to one of the best schools to
study law at the time and was also a great writer. As stated in the book.
Around 1494, his father, a prominent attorney, brought More back to London
to study common law. And in February 1496, More was admitted to Lincolns
Inn, one of Englands four legal societies, to prepare for admission to the bar,

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and in 1501 he became a full member of the profession. More managed to

keep up with his literary and spiritual interests while practicing law, and he
read devotedly from both Holy Scripture and the classics.
More was, meanwhile, torn between a life of civil service and a monastic
calling, and he made the decision to work toward becoming a monk. To that
end, in 1503, he moved to a monastery outside the London city limits and
subjected himself to the discipline of the Carthusians, taking part of the
monastic life as much as his legal career would allow. The prayer, fasting and
partaking in penance would stay with him for the rest of his life (as would the
practice of wearing a hair shirt), but his sense of duty to serve his country
overcame his desire for monasticism, and he entered Parliament in 1504. He
also was married for the first time around this time, either in 1504 or early
the following year.
Mores life is a prime example of how serious some Catholics take their faith.
Its built on discipline and service. In Mores case in facing death he wouldnt
go against what he believed was right in the eyes of God. His final words
before he was beheaded was The kings good servant, but Gods first.
Film Viewed-Documentary on Catholic Mass
Director, Company, Year:- Cresta Creative Group
Major Themes- This documentary video crystalizes what the Catholic Mass
means and what it means to Catholics. They feel that they live on the mass
and it was Gods way of leaving something behind for them to connect with
him always. It was his way of providing a veil for them to always protect
them. They consider mass their lifeline. From the moment they walk into the
doors they feel at peace and its like an energy boost for until the next mass
service. The mass service is a constant reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made
for them. And to remind them that he is the light of the world. Also despite
them being sinners they feel that God will still accept and love them.
Mass is conducted in forty two different languages. And what was interesting
to me is that across the world they are preaching on the same topic in each
church. The reading of the scriptures during mass is their way of feeling like
God is speaking directly to them.
Cultural Specific Event

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Date- 4/5/2015
Event Attended: Catholic Mass
Major Themes: Me and my friend whos Catholic arrived at the mass a little
late. When we walked in the people were so focused on their worship that I
didnt notice anyone look back at us when we walked in. When we walked in
there was these little wells filled with water that the people dipped their
hands in and placed the water on their foreheads. I later found out thats
their way of remembering their baptism. The mass was very peaceful and
relaxing. The only interaction between the groups is when the preacher
asked everyone to greet the people to your left and right by saying peace
be with you. Other than that it was more focused on yourself dedication.
Just like many other churches they took up communion. This is the time
when they break bread and wine in remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made
for them. Also a rule is if you were not baptized in a Catholic they ask that
you do not partake in the communion. But if you wanted to you can. Because
they will not single you out and ask you in front of everyone. The overall
experience was enlightening. Getting an inside look on how things flow was
very helpful.
Personal Interview
Date of Interview: 4/5/2015
Name of Interviewee: Jasmine Crew
Major Themes:
Summary of Immersion:

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Application of Cultural Knowledge

Name of Field Placement Agency: Resources for Human Development
Address of Agency: 5200 Wissohickan Ave. Phila. PA

Agencys Community
The community surrounding Resources for Human Development has
everything you need to survive. Right directly in front of the building they
have a bus stop. So if a client needed to get there they would be dropped off
directly in front of the building. RHD is right next door to a high school and
surrounded by apartment complexes going in each direction. So its not
secluded by any means. One block up you have a shopping center that has
a Chinese buffet, a Walmart, dicks sporting goods, sprint store, and a shop
rite. If you come out of the building a and make a left they have a Kroc
Center where people can go and workout if they want to. If you go five blocks
north of the building they have a welfare department and housing authority
building. So the company is right in the middle of everything.
RHD has many different locations throughout the city of Philadelphia. Where I
was placed was at the central office and the overall management is done.
Participants in the population I focused on does not come to the central office
often. But if they did they more than likely get there by company van from

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the other locations. But they can easily get to any location by bus. Theyre all
on a bus route.

I walked into the intake office to get a feel of how a possible client might feel
walking in. When I walked in I was greeted by the receptionist. She asked
me who I was there to see and I advised her I was an employee and was just
passing through. The dcor was really colorful. On the walls there were
pictures of people of all different races. They also had an array of magazines
to look at. And they also had brochures of the company and the particular
program that I was visiting now. I did notice that the only language the
magazines were in was English. They should at least have some literature in
Spanish because we deal with a huge Latino population. If I was a member
of the Catholic population I would feel welcome because there are no other
religions posted around the building so I would think it was fair and they
dont show any bias to one particular religion or people.
Administration and Staff Training
RHD has ongoing trainings dealing with diversity and cultural competency.
They have a website called Miniversity that has a listing of all the trainings
that available to staff at all times. Also upon hire all staff are required to
attend a cultural competency training in order to prepare their staff for
working with people of all races, religious, and sexual orientation. RHD
employs people from my population and many other populations. Their core
values is based on diversity and fairness.
Yes RHD funding allows cultural variations. For example RHD has a position
for language translators. This allows them to meet the need for most
languages and also if they find that a person is of a certain religion they try
to match that individual up with someone who may have the same faith.
And other accommodations are made to meet that individuals needs.
Staff Sensitivity
In my observation I have found that you have individuals who are sensitive
when it comes to serving our clients and there are others who need more
training. The new staff have trouble understanding that the people we serve

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need to assisted in therapeutic manner. Some take what a client might do

personally and try to respond in a way they would with someone who does
not have a particular illness. So I would suggest the new staff get the proper
training so they can be prepared to handle any situation. The more
seasoned staff are more sensitive and are able to handle themselves more
Agency Programs and Services
RHD doesnt particularly reach out to the catholic community. They try to
reach out to the community overall to see what the needs is and then try to
develop programs based on that. RHDS mission statement is to provide
caring, effective, and innovative services that empower people of all abilities
as they build better lives for themselves, their families and their
Every year surveys are given to staff and participants to determine the
quality of services being delivered. Also twice a year each program is
audited by the state to ensure services are being delivered property. Also
each program has been given the NIAC criteria which they are trying to
implement into the program.

I couldnt find any documentation to answer this question. But just asking a
few clients about how they feel about the service they receive they all think
they get the proper amounts of support. And they understand the services
that are available to them.
RHD has a number of additional services that they provide for their clients.
They have developed relationships with the Department of Behavioral Health
which provides their clients with additional resources in their community to
address all their needs including, drug rehab centers, housing authority, child
services, counseling, and OVR which provides jobs for individuals with mental
health and drug addiction.

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