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WASHINGTON (May 4, 2011)—Asian and Pacific Catholics will hold a one-day celebration of faith and heritage at The Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, Saturday, May 21.
The gathering also will commemorate the 10th anniversary the U. S. Catholic bishops’ pastoral statement, Asian and Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith.
Bishop Randolph C. Calvo of Reno, Nevada, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Catholics, highlighted the importance of the celebration.
“As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Asian and Pacific Presence pastoral letter, it is a good time to both look back at where we come from and reflect on where we go from here, a vision for the future, especially since the Asian-Pacific community is growing in the United States,” Bishop Calvo said. “We must celebrate the gifts of faith and culture but also develop leadership and educate the communities in the faith.”
As part of its pastoral goal of promoting understanding of cultural diversity in the Church, USCCB currently is developing educational materials that will describe the richness and diversity of Asian Pacific ethnic groups present in the U.S. Catholic Church.
The day’s events will begin with a seminar on “Catholic Identity: Being Asian Pacific, American, and Catholic Today” at the Pryzbyla Center (620 Michigan Ave, NE, Washington) at Catholic University, followed by a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine, where a multilingual rosary and Mass will take place. Bishop Leonard Olivier, SVD, retired auxiliary bishop of Washington, will be the celebrant and homilist.
The annual “Asians for Mary Pilgrimage” began in May 2003 organized by the USCCB’ Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, which is now part of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church (SCDC). This year the pilgrimage is sponsored by the Asian Pacific Catholic Network (APC-Network) of the mid-Atlantic Region, in collaboration with SCDC. The APC-Network is committed to the propagation of the Catholic faith and practices as seen through the eyes of Asian and Pacific immigrants.
The three speakers at the morning seminar will be Jesuit Father Allan Figueroa Deck of USCCB, Edmund Chia, PhD., of the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and Gemma Cruz, PhD., of De Paul University in Chicago. The pilgrimage begins at 1:00 p.m. with a procession of 18 Asian communities with their images of the Blessed Mother. Once inside the basilica, a “Call to Prayer” will follow with Korean teen drummers from Maryland, the Pakistani Choir from Philadelphia, and the Montagnard liturgical dancers from North Carolina. A multilingual rosary will be prayed at 2:00 pm. The event will culminate with a multicultural Mass at 2:30 PM. Our Lady of Vietnam Parish choir from Silver Spring, Maryland, will lead the congregation in song at Mass.
The Asian and Pacific Catholics of Metropolitan Washington area invite all Catholics and other religious groups to participate in the Asian and Pacific Catholics Day events. Participating communities include Bengali, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Indian (Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites), Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Montagnard, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Tongan, Thai and Vietnamese Catholics.
“We are diverse in our ethnic backgrounds and ways of worshipping but one in our faith in God,” said Bishop Calvo, who was born in the Pacific island of Guam.
For further information, media and others may contact Fred Semendy (703) 472-2032, or Carolyn Ng (301)474-3046, or Cecile Motus (202-541-3384).
Keywords: Asian, Pacific Islanders, Bishop Randolph Calvo, Asian Pacific Catholic Network, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, Father Allan Deck, Edmund Chia, Gemma Cruz,
U.S. Catholic Bishops, USCCB
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