SAN BERNARDINO—Asian Pacific Catholics are an important thread in the multicultural fabric of the Diocese of San Bernardino and, indeed, the Universal Church. The time has come for the Church as a whole to better understand the realities of these cultures, according to recent efforts of the U.S. Bishops.
The Asian Pacific Ministry of the Diocese followed this lead by doubling the annual Asian Pacific Day to include a day for non-Asian Catholic ministers interested in learning more about the Asian cultures. On May 31, this added day of education took place at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. The following day, Asian Pacific Catholics of the Diocese gathered at the Pastoral Center for the annual day of reflection and formation.
On both days, the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter “Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters,” was promoted and studied. Sister Maria Jennifer Nguyen, L.H.C., Director of the Diocesan Office of Asian Pacific Ministry, said the information and prayerful reflection on the letter resonated with several Asian communities that attended, including the Samoan and the Vietnamese.
“They think it is important for them, their children and grandchildren to know about this document and try to live and share their catholic faith and cultures with others,” said Sr. Jennifer, who coordinated the event through her office.
Father Ricky Manalo, CSP, a teacher at Santa Clara University and currently a consultor for the U.S. Conference of Bishops’ Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs, offered the morning keynote address and also led the first breakout session on May 31. Two more breakout sessions were offered that day, one led by Father Albert Avenido, a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and another led by panel that included Fr. Avenido, Msgr. Tom Burdick, Father Linh Hoang, OFM, Ph.D. and Densy Chandra, a longtime leader in Asian Pacific Ministry in the Diocese.
One attendee praised Fr. Avenido’s disarming presentation style. “He was very lively and comical, helping me to face my own ignorance in a playful and non – threating way.”
The June 1 Formation Day delved deeper into “Encountering Christ in Harmony,” with a special session devoted to engaging young adults.
“Some of the young adults also came to inform me how they really like what they learned in the first breakout sessions for the young adults,” Sr. Jennifer said. “They wondered why not too many of the young adults, including them, did not know of this event until almost the last minute.”
Fr. Manalo and Fr. Hoang also presented on this second day. They were joined by a number of priests serving in the Diocese of San Bernardino: Father Timothy Truong Do, Father Alwyn Alfone, Ph.D., Father Anthony Dao, Father Noel Cruz, MS, Father Wonik Seo, M.S.C., and Father Adriano Budhi, M.S.C. Deacon Kalini Folau of the Diocese of Pago, Samoa, was also a presenter on June 1.
“It is great and beautiful to see different people from all walks of life coming together and try to learn what they can to nourish their spiritual life and to find out more about the Asian Pacific Islander Brothers and Sisters,” Sr. Jennifer said of the event.