January 1, 2011
With great pleasure, I welcome you to the website of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs. We are continuing to build this website so that it can be a resource to learn more about the beauty and richness of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
The number of Asian and Pacific Island communities connected with the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church has grown exponentially from nine in 1999 to twenty-five in 2011. Among the Asian communities are the Bangali, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian (Roman), Indian (Syro-Malabar), Indian (Syro-Malankara), Indonesian, Japanese, Kmhmu, Korean, Laotian, Montagnard, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Vietnamese peoples. The Pacific Island communities include the Chamorro, Hawaiian, Fijian, Samoan, Tongan, and Micronesian peoples.
This year, 2011, marks a momentous occasion because we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the bishops’ pastoral statement, Asian and Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith. The bishops on the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs set four goals to mark the anniversary:
- To assess the state of Asian and Pacific ministry in the various dioceses in the country through a survey.
- To increase the capacity for ministry to Asians and Pacific Islanders in the local churches through the development of a leadership formation program and guide for those ministering to these communities.
- To educate the Church in the United States about Asian and Pacific people, especially their Catholic practices, by developing online educational materials for diocesan and parish leaders.
- To strengthen communion, unity, and ethnic identity among Asian and Pacific Islanders and to establish relationships with other cultural and racial groups (particularly with the bishops and local churches of those other cultural and racial groups) through community gatherings and celebrations.
An Advisory Group was created to assist the Subcommittee and Secretariat in planning the observance of the 10th anniversary. The celebratory activities chosen by the Subcommittee, especially the development of educational materials, leadership, and cultural competency, contribute to the fulfillment of several USCCB priorities and suggested activities such as faith formation, vocation, and recognition of cultural diversity.
The Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs invites you to join us in our various activities as we celebrate this anniversary. Please continue to visit this website in the coming months in order to access the exciting new materials that we will be adding throughout the year. Join inspiring diocesan celebrations which will highlight the gifts of Asian and Pacific Catholics and other cultural and racial communities. Some of these diocesan events include the Asian Unity Day of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Asian and Pacific Youth Day of the Diocese of San Bernardino, the Celebration of Cultures of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Chautauqua of the Diocese of Oakland, and Migration Sunday of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
We especially invite you to be part of the Asian and Pacific Day to be held on May 21, 2011 in Washington D.C. at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Come and be introduced to the complexity of Asian and Pacific American Catholic identity in the morning. Then, in the afternoon, pray with eighteen Asian and Pacific communities in various languages and forms of prayer during the colorful and unique pilgrimage in honor of our Blessed Mother.
Thank you for your interest in the Asian and Pacific Island communities within the Catholic Church in the United States. We hope to see you at our celebrations!
With our prayers and best wishes in 2011,
CECILE L. MOTUS is currently an Assistant Director in the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church. She joined USCCB in March 1999 as Ethnic Ministries Coordinator for Asian and Pacific Islanders at the Migration and Refugee Services’ Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (MRS/PCMR). She later served as Interim Director of PCMR.
Cecile was born in Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines. She was an American Field Service Scholar to Detroit, Michigan and finished her senior year at Redford High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education (cum laude) from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. She was a grantee of the East-West Center in Honolulu and graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (cum laude) from the University of Hawaii - Manoa. She returned to the East-West Center as a fellow and developed a Manual for Cross-Cultural Orientation of Indochinese Refugees in the First Asylum Camp in the Philippines.
Cecile has worked in cross-cultural, ethnic studies and Catholic Church pastoral/social programs for more than 25 years. Before joining MRS/PCMR, she was the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Regional Liaison Officer for Southeast Asia for seven years. Previous to her ICMC assignment, she was the Executive Director and Resettlement Director of the Catholic Immigration Center- Catholic Charities in Honolulu, Hawaii for five years. While she was with CIC, she developed an Amerasian Hosting Guideline which laid out the procedures for the Amerasian resettlement program in the state of Hawaii. At the same time, Cecile taught two courses on Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawaii.
Cecile was the Project Director of the Adult English Language and Cross-Cultural Skills Program contracted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the Palawan First Asylum Camp. She was the Training Officer of the United States Peace Corps in the Philippines for twelve years and was also assigned to strengthen language and culture programs of the Corps in Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.
Cecile lives in Arlington, VA and volunteers as a Board member of the St. Charles Borromeo Parish Philippine Medical Mission Project. She is a certified catechist.