Holy Apostles

Course Number: PAS 405
Course Title: Intercultural Competencies

Course Professor:

Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP smahfood@holyapostles.edu 860-632-3085

1. Course Description

This course will explore the nature of intercultural competencies and engage the learner in methods concerning their development and cultivation within a community of faith.

2. Envisioned Learning Outcomes

3. Course Schedule

Week 1: Introduction to Culture and Intercultural Competencies




Week 2:  Interactive Theatre as a Role-Playing Method




Discuss how you see the four pillars of evangelization playing out in your own ministry.

  1. Conversion: a personal encounter with Jesus Christ 
  2. The evangelization of cultures: the encounter between a people’s rituals, symbols, and myths (narratives) and the Gospel, leading to the transformation of culture (inculturation)
  3. Liberation: the transformation of social, economic, and political orders in light of gospel values of life and human dignity
  4. Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue: work to bring about the unity of all peoples in pursuit of Jesus’ mandate

Week 3:  Storyboarding




Choose one of the passages below. How do you see it relating to evangelization today? Storyboard an example.

Week 4: Part II: Seeking an Understanding of Culture and How it Works




Week 5:  From Storyboarding to Scripting



Suggested Reading:


"Culture is the particular way in which a human group interprets life and relates with nature, God, the world, and other peoples. Culture is not accidental, but an integral part of human life. Culture is lived and expressed through traditions, languages, relationships, food, music, and religious expressions. It embraces the totality of life of the group and the life of each individual who belongs to it; therefore, all human beings relate and respond to God and express this faith from and within their culture." - Principles for Inculturation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Department of Education, USCCB

Week 6:  From Scripting to Acting




The five parameters of interacting with other cultures are listed in the module as follows. Choose one and describe a situation you experienced in your own pastoral setting that can be explained by the parameter. How did you handle the situation then? How would you handle it now that you've been provided a rationale for its occurrence? Script the event for presentation to the class.

Week 7:  Part III: Developing Intercultural Communication Skills in Pastoral Settings




Week 8:  Intra- and Interaction between Individualist Cultures and Collectivist Cultures




Week 9: Developing our Semester Project



Week 10: Part IV: Expanding Knowledge of the Obstacles that Impede Effective Intercultural Relations



        Suggested Reading over the next three weeks:


Week 11: Understanding Racism inherent in Every Culture




Week 12: Rescripting Script A.


Week 13: Part V: Fostering Ecclesial Integration Rather Than Assimilation in Church Settings with a Spirituality of Hospitality, Reconciliation, and Mission




                        Catholic Identity



Week 14:




  1. Articulate a vision of ministry based on ecclesial integration and inclusion.
  2. Foster the inculturation of the Gospel in all cultures.
  3. Plan with the people, not for the people.
  4. Broaden your understanding of ministry groups, programs, and structures, and cast a bigger net.
  5. Empower people from different cultures and ethnicities into leadership positions.

Week 15: Rescripting Script B. Coming to a resolution within our ministerial contexts.



Semester Project – Incremental due dates (see below)

Concerning the semester project, the following schedule applies:

  1.  Completion of Script A – End of Week 9.
  2. Completion of Script B – End of Week 12.
  3. Completion of Script C – End of Week 15.




Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl).


A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 60-69; F 59 and below

Grading Rubric for the Major Papers and Discussion Board (DB) Postings

1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)


Absence of Understanding

Posting shows no awareness of the concepts addressed in the topic by shifting off-topic


Posting demonstrates a misunderstanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic through an inability to re-explain them

Adequate Understanding

Posting demonstrates an adequate understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic by a re-explanation of them

Solid understanding

Posting demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic and uses that understanding effectively in the examples it provides

Insightful understanding

Posting demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts of the topic through the use of examples and by making connections to other concepts


Incomplete writing

Posting is only partially written or fails to address the topic

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Posting touches only on the surface of the topic and proceeds to talk about something else; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

Posting is an uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment;  satisfactory organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some errors

Solid writing with something interesting to say

Posting is an adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples;  level-appropriate syntax and diction;  mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any error

command-level writing, making a clear impression

Posting is a thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development ; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage


Missing Research

Paper shows no evidence of research: citation of sources missing.

Inadequate research and/or documentation

Over-reliance on few sources; spotty documentation of facts in text; pattern of citation errors.

Weak research and/or documentation

Inadequate number or quality of sources; many facts not referenced; several errors in citation format.

Adequate research and documentation but needs improvement

Good choice of sources but could be improved with some additions or better selection; did not always cite sources.

Solid research and documentation

A number of relevant scholarly sources revealing solid research; sources appropriately referenced in paper; only a few minor citation errors.

COMMUNITY INTERACTION (50-word response)

Inadequate response

Response merely provides laudatory encouragement for original post, e.g., “Excellent post! You really have thought of something there.”

Poor response

Response misses the point of the original posting or merely summarizes original posting to which it responds.

Acceptable response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds.

Individually-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds and fosters its development.

Community-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the learning community and fosters its development.


Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at rmish@holyapostles.edu or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.


Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own.  At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends. Plagiarism includes: 1. Directly quoting without acknowledging the source. 2. Changing a few words of a text without indicating this was done and/or not acknowledging the source. 3. Not acknowledging that the structure of ideas or logic is from another author. 4. Not acknowledging a unique image (including analogies, similes, metaphors etc.) is from a particular document or author.

Students, where applicable:

     Should identify the title, author, page number/webpage address, and publication date of works when directly quoting small portions of texts, articles, interviews, or websites.

     Students should not copy more than two paragraphs from any source as a major component of papers or projects.

     Should appropriately identify the source of information when paraphrasing (restating) ideas from texts, interviews, articles, or websites.

     Should follow the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Stylesheet (available on the Online Writing Lab’s website at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl/resources).

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously.  Students caught plagiarizing will receive a zero for the assignment, and may be withdrawn from the class and/or expelled from Holy Apostles.


Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.


Students who have completed little or no coursework are ineligible for an “Incomplete” in a course. An instructor may grant an incomplete to a student who:

An “I” for “Incomplete” is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the instructor.

A student seeking an Incomplete should obtain the Incomplete form from the shared folder of the files tab in Populi or from the Associate Registrar’s office. The student will fill out the parts of the form pertaining to the student and submit the form to the instructor before the end of the semester.

If the instructor approves the Incomplete, the instructor fills out the section of the Incomplete form indicating what the student must do to finish the course and signs the form.

The instructor of an online class sends the approved form to the Assistant Registrar for online learning; the instructor of an on-campus class sends the form to the Associate Registrar for on-campus learning. The instructor also sends a copy of the completed Incomplete form to the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete (I) must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade  administratively turns into the grade of “F” for “Fail” if the course work is not completed by the end of the sixth week.

“W” for “Withdrawal” will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week.

Absent the granting of an “I” for Incomplete, “WF” for “Withdrawal/Fail” will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.

A student who does not complete sufficient coursework to pass a course and does not request a W or a WF will receive an F as the final course grade.


Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP, Vice-President of Administration at Holy Apostles College & Seminary, is a Lay Dominican of the Chapter of the Holy Rosary in the Central Province of St. Albert the Great. Dr. Mahfood holds a master’s in comparative literature from the University of Texas at Arlington, a master’s in philosophy and a master’s in theology from Holy Apostles College & Seminary, a master’s in educational technology from Webster University and a doctorate in postcolonial literature and theory from Saint Louis University. Among his publications include his book Radical Eschatologies: Embracing the Eschaton in the Works of Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Nuruddin Farah, and Ayi Kwei Armah. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, Dr. Stephanie Mahfood, and children, Alexander and Eva Ruth.