In light of the Eucharist and Pentecost, bridge building across cultures is an inherently Christian task. The fact that Catholic parishes serve increasingly diverse populations makes it a necessary one. The dehumanizing rhetoric against immigrants that the recent election normalized makes it an urgent one. I strongly recommend John Burke's Building Bridges, Not Walls: Nourishing Diverse Cultures in Faith to lay and ordained ministers who are looking for guidance as they take up that task in their parish. This book provides parish leaders (and those preparing for ministry) with clearly-written theological, historical, and pastoral resources to advance intercultural relationships in a way that is culturally sensitive and just.
Victor Carmona, Oblate School of Theology, American Catholic Studies
As someone with extensive experience as a lay liturgical leader in various Catholic congregations, Dr. Burke defies the stereotype of the scholar in an ivory tower. This book is packed with socio-cultural and power-relationship theories and suggested changes in perspective and practical strategies. To be sure, Burke's valuable insights are very useful for all involved in ministry, clerical or lay, but because the author brings a strong academic understanding, including concepts from Latino theology, to a real world setting, esta libro es para todo mundo (this little book is for everyone).
Gilberto M. Hinojosa, Catholic Southwest, A Journal of History and Culture
John Francis Burke fuses the sober insight of a political scientist with the heart of a pastoralist. I highly recommend Building Bridges. Burke recognizes that there is no panacea or simple solution for fostering communication and the exchange of spiritual gifts in intercultural communities. The practical wisdom he imparts in the last two chapters is refreshingly concise and to the point. I fervently wish that we could put this book in the hands of every pastoral agent in the United States.
Peter Casarella, University of Notre Dame
With this book John Burke offers the U.S. Catholic church a gift of inestimable value. Burke brings together the rigorous training of a political scientist, the theological insight of one who spent a lifetime immersed in the Catholic theological tradition, and decades of pastoral experience. The fruit is a practical, bilingual guide that can assist church ministers and parishioners in transforming parishes comprised of isolated sub-cultures into flourishing parishes that celebrate the rich catholicity of our church.
Richard Gaillardetz, Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, Boston College
Anyone who is involved in pastoral ministry in today's Church will find rich material and inspiration in Dr. Burke's reflections which integrate his rich pastoral experiences, theoretical insights and practical models related to engaging Catholics of many cultures in living as one Body of Christ and People of God.
Rev. Donald S. Nesti, CSSp, Director, Center for Faith and Culture, University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas
John Francis Burke has written a must-read for Catholic ministers and pastoral leaders. Burke examines the growing multicultural realities of US Catholic parish life, giving readers theological and social science resources for thinking about diversity as well as practical suggestions for multicultural parishes. Readers will appreciate the dual Spanish-English edition and the scenarios opening each chapter. Although Burke reflects most on the US Latino contribution to US Catholicism, he maintains a broad yet deeply researched perspective that it will be helpful for any shared parish context. The book is most pertinent to Catholic contexts but will be interesting to any reader concerned with diversity and ministry.
Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier, Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles)
In Building Bridges, Not Walls - Construyamos puentes, no muros, Dr. John Francis Burke successfully tackles the age-old question "How can many be one?" In his bilingual book, Dr. Burke delivers invaluable insight into ways the church is able to embrace the challenges of inter-cultural ministry. This book is a gift to the church in North America.
+Ricardo Ramirez, CSB, Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces
This is an accessible work filled with good insights and excellent recommendations. Burke has made a very important contribution to the study of US Catholicism in the twenty-first century.
Hosfmann Ospino, The Review of Politics
The principles, histories, obstacles, and strategies Burke details provide hope that the Church can minister constructively within the spiritual wealth that is all God's people.
Exceptionally well written, organized, and presented, the inspired and inspiring text is presented in both English and Spanish, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal, church, community, and academic reference reading lists.
The Midwest Book Review
Building Bridges, Not Walls is the most practical book I have read for Catholic leaders and parishioners in the growing number of shared parishes that serve two or more language and cultural groups. It offers essential analysis and counsel as we strive as the Catholic Church to be a sign of unity in a broken and divided world.
Timothy Matovina, Worship