Each month the BYTE will publish sections of the U.S. Bishops Pastoral Letter “Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters”.
Our Faith Engaged Across Generations
As the younger generations of Asian and Pacific Island Catholics find themselves maneuvering through a sea of expectations regarding the faith, a combination of dialogue, support, and understanding from all sides may provide Asian and Pacific communities with the tools for responding to these concerns.
Suggestions for Further Engagement
The following three levels of suggestions are starting points for further dialogue, as well as for the creation and implementation of strategic plans. More specific examples can be found in the sidebars and on the website of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs.
National and Diocesan Levels
Promote intergenerational dialogue. Inspired by the Christian missionary call to spread the Good News, dioceses and national organizations could create collaborative models of dialogue between generations. For example, seminars or panel discussions during local or national conferences could focus on how each generation approaches the role of parenting with regard to communication, familial roles, duties, and expectations.
Since Asian and Pacific Island communities often view parishes as trustworthy foundations from which many of their pastoral needs could be addressed, diocesan offices and parishes may:
Promote intergenerational dialogue at the local level. Similar to the previous example, intergenerational listening forums could take place at a parish level. The topics addressed may emerge from local concerns of the parish community. For examples of how to form collaborative models between cultural groups, see Best Practices for Shared Parishes: So That They May All Be One (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2014).
Expand resources for marriage preparation programs. With the increase of interethnic, ecumenical and interreligious marriages in the United States, there is a need for more resources in native languages that include intercultural, ecumenical, and interfaith considerations. In addition, catechetical events and forums can provide dialogue on sensitive topics that may not be addressed successfully in domestic settings, such as cohabitation before marriage or interracial and interfaith marriages.
Celebrate liturgies with an ear to the youth. Modeling after World Youth Day gatherings, celebrate liturgies that speak to the needs of the younger generations. We recommend that parishes become familiar with two liturgical resources, one by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and one by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions: From Age to Age: The Challenge of Worship with Adolescents (1997) and For Ages Unending: The Ministry of Liturgy with Adolescents (2014).
Support other forms of young adult Catholic communities. Parents could encourage their children to strengthen their faith by living in an intentional Catholic community before beginning more traditional professional careers (e.g., a volunteer year with Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, etc.). A useful guide to such opportunities can be found in the Response Directory from the Catholic Volunteer Network.
Plan ecumenical, interreligious, and intercultural gatherings. For second-generation Asian and Pacific Island young adults, consider offering regular opportunities for young adults to share and reflect on the diversity of faith practices, traditions, and spirituality with their peers in similar stages of life (e.g., single or married, with or without children). Also consider building relationships with neighbors by sponsoring ecumenical, interreligious and/or interethnic events (e.g., potluck gatherings, major holiday celebrations, art shows, etc.) during which religious, cultural, or ethnic traditions could be shared, honored, and celebrated.