- Message from the Director
- First Welcoming the Stranger Training takes place in the New England Region
- Phoenix, Arizona slated for Far West and Mountain States Regional Training
- Mexico-USA Bishops' Joint Statement on Immigration
- MRS Studying Services for Victims of Trafficking
- 2001-2002 Small Grant Awardees
- Haitian Leadership Training Workshop
- Letter From Participant at Hmong-American Youth Retreat
- Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network Initiates Mobile Team Pastoral Formation Courses
- Refugee Mental Health Conference
- Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network 15th Anniversary
- MAFO National Farmworker Conference
- Pastoral Statement Celebrates Asian-Pacific Presence in the U.S. Church
- International Meeting of National Directors of Pastoral Outreach with Nomads
- Highlights of the AWRC/ACCA Executive Meeting in Washington, DC
- Statement from the African Clergy and Religious in the United States
- Roberts Brothers Circus and Big Apple Circus Visit
- Migrant Ministry Visit to the Diocese of Grand Rapids and the Diocese of Kalamazoo
- History in the Making for Filipino American Catholics
- April 2002 Meeting for Those Who Serve the People of the Sea
- Chinese American Catholics Hold 23rd Convention
- Job Opening
- Building Bridges: Crossing Cultural Boundaries
The cover of this edition of the Networker features the image which will be used for Migration Week 2002 and for the Migration and Refugee Services Christmas card. With figures representing all sizes, sexes, ethnic groups, the card reflects the Advent vision of Isaiah the prophet, in which God invites all people to share a meal with Him: "On this mountain the lord of Hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines." Is 25:6
This banquet prefigures Eucharistic banquets celebrated in parishes and dioceses. The pastoral statement Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity emphasizes the importance of celebrating multicultural Liturgies as a way to experience the Church we are becoming. In such celebration the dictum is true: the Eucharist makes the Church. A well-celebrated Eucharist to which everyone in the neighborhood from every ethnic and social background is made to feel welcome and is represented in some way in liturgical service "makes the church"; that is, helps a local church realize who makes it up, in what way Christ is changing the community to integrate new member into its life, and to work in solidarity, with the newcomers.
In this time when ethnic and political conflict have been exacerbated by religious fanaticism, it helps for us to invite to our churches and prayer services and to our communities leaders of the great religions to manifest the saving will of God operating through them, to give a testimony of unity in so far as possible to counteract the divisive and deadly influence of fanaticism. The one God, who fully revealed Himself in Jesus His Son whose birth we so joyfully celebrate, has also been revealing himself "in many and various ways" Heb 1:1 through other great religions with whom we need to enter into greater dialogue for the well-being of our world.
Some scripture scholars indicate that the symbolism of the manger in the crib scene refers to God's will to feed the hungry heart of all His people with the Bread of Life sent to nourish and give direction and clarity to their lives. In this Christmas Season all of us here at PCMR pray that Jesus, the Revelation of the Father's love will fill your hearts with love and encourage you to make your Christmas tables and your Eucharistic tables signs of His universal love, especially for the strangers in our midst.
First Welcoming the Stranger Training takes place in the New England Region On November 27-28, 2001, over one hundred participants gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Crossings in the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island to learn more about the bishops' pastoral statement, Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity. MRS staff were very pleased with the presence of eight bishops, who would be the leaders in their dioceses in efforts to "welcome the stranger."
The gathering opened with a multicultural prayer service followed by a welcome to the diocese given by Most Reverend Robert Mulvee, Bishop of Providence. The keynote presentation on the pastoral was given by Reverend Anthony E. McGuire, Director, MRS Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees. The three key themes of the pastoral: conversion, communion, and solidarity were discussed and later illustrated in the panel presentation on and Challenges and Best Practices in Welcoming the Stranger. Presentations were given by MRS staff and the New England Planning Team members on Diocesan and Parish Structures that Foster Unity in Diversity. Workshops focused on Advocacy, Schools, Youth and Religious Education, Parish Welcoming, Evangelization, Liturgy and Outreach, Lay Leadership Training, and Migrant and Mobile Ministries.
The USCCB Committee on Migration has made available financial resources for those dioceses who submit an action plan with a grant application for funding to establish diocesan structures or develop programs or initiatives that enhance "welcoming" in the dioceses. The New England dioceses requesting funding have four months from the date of the training to submit their plans and grant application to MRS/PCMR.
The MRS Staff is very grateful to the New England Planning Team and to the Diocese of Providence for making this training such a success!
Phoenix, Arizona slated for Far West and Mountain States Regional Training
The next regional training on the Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity pastoral statement will be held February 27 - March 1, 2002 in Phoenix. Dioceses in the following states have been invited to this training: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Mexico-USA Bishops' Joint Statement on Immigration
On October 17 and 18, 2001, in sunny San Diego, bishops and staff from the Comision Episcopal para la Pastoral de Movilidad Humana of the Mexican Bishops' Conference and bishops and staff from the Committee on Migration of the USCCB met for the first listening session in preparation for a joint pastoral statement dealing with immigration. In the meeting, testimony was given dealing with human rights, the need for greater participation of lawyers, excessive force on the border, need for pastoral accompaniment and stronger advocacy for immigrant rights. Testimony came from migrants themselves, lawyers, academics, politicians, pastoral agents, bishops. The next listening session will take place with the "Tex-Mex" bishops in McAllen, Texas on January 8, 2002. The third and final listening session will take place in Mexicali from January 28 to 30, 2002. Please pray for positive results from this historic endeavor. It is the first time the two bishops' conference have worked together on such a statement. There is a great deal of enthusiasm on both sides that this be a helpful statement for some of our hemisphere's neediest people. We hope that through this statement and accompanying actions the church in both countries can truly place itself in solidarity with the migrants. Much work has to be done, many hurdles overcome until the statement comes to fruition. The project was conceived in a joint meeting between the two committees in Mexico after Easter this year. At the end of that meeting a Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe was celebrated. Let us continue to place this project in her hands.
MRS Studying Services for Victims of Trafficking
An MRS Trafficking Working Group has been formed to pursue certain responses to the needs of victims. The worldwide increase in trafficking in persons has not escaped the United States which is a country of destination for unsuspecting victims. The Working Group will assist MRS design a strategy for serving victims of trafficking through its networks of resettlement programs and Catholic Charities, pastoral care ministries, and collaboration with CLINIC.
Trafficking in persons exact immeasurable costs on victims - slave-like working conditions, debt bondage, coercion, forcible isolation, violence, including sexual abuse and exploitation, and health and life-threatening risks. Complex in nature, trafficking is viewed in varying perspectives - as an issue of irregular migration, or a problem of organized crime, or a problem of public order. The inhuman conditions that are part and parcel of the lived experiences of victims, especially women and children, underscore that trafficking violates basic human rights. The MRS Trafficking Working Group plans among other steps, to organize education/training opportunities regarding the issue of trafficking in children and women.
2001-2002 Small Grant Awardees
|Diocese||Project Title||Contact Person||Amount Funded|
|Allentown||Pastoral Formation in Lay Leadership||Rev. George R. Winne||$1,000|
|Boise||Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network||Celine Caufield||$1,000|
|Boston||The Troubadour||Rev. Jerry Hogan||$1,200|
|Boston||Evangelization of Southeast Asian Immigrants||Sr. Janet Deaett, SND||$750|
|Charlotte||Weaving One Heart: Welcoming the Refugee||Joseph T. Purello||$1,148|
|Chicago||Alij-A Cultural Dance||Ruphina Pettis||$1,200|
|Daughters of Divine Love||Reorganization of Nigerian Immigrants||Sr. Miriam Therese Ezike||$1,200|
|Fresno||Catholic Faith||Mr. Doua Lor||$1,200|
|Fresno||Hmong Catholic Youth Band||Mr. Doua Lor||$1,200|
|Grand Rapids||Evangelization Media Project||Sr. Sandra Garay, MC||$700|
|Grand Rapids||Migrant Pastoral Ministry||Sr. Kathleen Kaiser||$1,140|
|Grand Rapids||Vacation Bible School for Migrant Farmworker's Families||Sr. Guadalupe Moreno, CCVI||$1,200|
|Houma-Thibodaux||Welcoming the Stranger Among Us||Dr. Marian Schwab||$1,200|
|Indianapolis||Evangelization, Training, and Outreach to Hispanics||Rev. Thomas Smith||$1,200|
|Los Angeles||Eritrean Liturgy Help||Fr. Charles Andrus, SSJ||$1,200|
|Miami||Youth Choir Development||Fr. James Parappally||$1,000|
|New York||Creation of Christian Communities||Sr. Rita Schneider||$1,200|
|Newark||Opening of New Brazilian Community||Rev. Msgr. George Lutz||$1,200|
|Oakland||Riit Kmhmu' bring to America "Ceremonies of Respect"||Rev. Donald MacKinnon||$1,200|
|Rochester||Hispanic Migrant Youth Soccer League||Sr. Judith M. Justinger, SSJ||$1,100|
|Stamford (Ukrainian)||"Welcome to our Parish" Gift Packet Program||Rev. Jonathan Morse||$1,200|
|Washington||Sudanese Apostolate Pastoral Services||Mr. Charles A. Kon||$1,200|
|Washington||Adult Education and Children Mass Book||Rev. Tesfaye Fesuh||$1,200|
|Youngstown||Tri-Diocesan Migrant Ministry Team: Sharing the Tradition Small Group Project||Mr. Brian R. Corbin||$1,200|
Featuring 2000-2001 Small Grants Projects...
Haitian Leadership Training Workshop
Through local support and a grant from PCMR, Fr. John Morin, OMI and the Haitian Apostolate in the Archdiocese of Boston held a weekend leadership workshop for the 11 Haitian communities in Boston. The March 9-11 meeting ran from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning closing with a Haitian celebration of the Mass. A special guest speaker from Miami helped lead the workshops. The purpose of the weekend was to provide basic leadership training to Haitians who were raised in a society without strong models of organization and leadership. According to Fr. John Morin, OMI, "People were hungry for this training." Finding themselves in important leadership positions and on various committees, Haitian immigrants in the area had expressed their desire to learn the skills needed in these roles. The first workshop provided a basic foundation, and plans are already underway for a workshop in early 2002.
Letter From Participant at Hmong-American Youth Retreat
I am so thankful that I had been given the opportunity to go to the leadership retreat in Minnesota this year... Many Hmong Catholic Youths attend church because their parents are forcing them to. They don't understand... Fr. Joe tells us that mass are a very special thing because when we go to church we are given the opportunity to receive the body of Jesus Christ. He died for us and he sacrificed himself for us. For me it was an awakening moment because I know that I am not strong enough to sacrifice myself for someone else.
I met so many wonderful brothers and sisters who related to what I was going through... having the opportunity to meet Father [Bishop] Chong Tito was like meeting an angel sent down from God... I can't believe that even though he has been through so much suffering he never gave up hope. Although he knows that when he returns to his homeland he will again be persecuted and he still goes back. If that were I and maybe many other people also they would've just taken the opportunity to live in America and to rather not go through all that punishment.
I hope that the diocese will help to support the ... Hmong Catholic Youths so that we can build and increase our knowledge about this new wonderful religion that we are barely beginning to discover.
Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network Initiates Mobile Team Pastoral Formation Courses
The Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network (CMFN), in collaboration with the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC), hosted the first mobile team leadership program on the grounds of the Sisters of St. Francis in the Diocese of Toledo from August 30-September 4, 2001. Within the diocesan boundaries, there are 130 migrant camps spread over 9 counties. In the past, many farmworkers were unable to travel to MACC in San Antonio for the CMFN pastoral leadership formation program because of lack of documents or because they could not leave their families for so many days. Taking the program to the local area where farmworkers are living and working helps many people and further nurtures the development of local migrant leaders.
Sr. Mary Jo Toll, SND, the Coordinator of Migrant Ministries for the diocese was the local facilitator, and Fr. Richard Notter represented CMFN. Seven of the farmworker graduates of CMFN's pastoral formation course at MACC acted as leaders and presenters during the mobile team course. Twenty-three participants developed pastoral leadership skills in migrant camp based bible study programs, catechesis and health services. Training in the use of Rev. Virgilio Elizondo's video bible series, "Abre Tu Biblia," has been a particularly effective method of identifying new grassroots pastoral leaders in the camps. A faith-sharing catechetical program on the Good Shepherd and Our Lady of Guadalupe was offered simultaneously for migrant farmworker children, and opportunities were provided for the parents and their children to participate in activities and prayers services together.
The second mobile team pastoral formation course was held in Fresno, California from November 15-20, 2001 and welcomed participants from the Diocese of Fresno, Monterey, San Bernardino and Stockton. Graduates from the course held at MACC in San Antonio also coordinated the planning and acted as presenters during this course in coordination with Mr. Zeferino González, Director for Hispanic Ministry in Fresno, Sr. Cecilia Calva, Director of Hispanic Ministry for San Bernardino, and Ms. Marina Ocampo, Coordinator of Migrant Ministry for Monterey. Offering the course to surrounding diocese proved to be a good way to make the course available to a broader geographical area. CMFN will offer its course at the Mexican American Cultural Center from February 14-19, 2002.
Anyone interested in hosting the CMFN mobile team pastoral formation course in their diocese or wishing to recommend students for the February 2002 CMFN course at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio can contact Ms. Celine Caufield for further information at (208) 384-1879 or CMFNCC@aol.com.
Refugee Mental Health Conference
The National Alliance for Multicultural Mental Health (NAMMH) will be held June 8-11, 2002 in Atlanta, GA. For more information, please visit the website at www.refugeesusa.org/who/nammh_conf2002.cfm or contact Ellen Mercer at 202-797-2105 or email@example.com
Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network 15th Anniversary
Board members of the Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network visited several area migrant camps during their fall meeting from October 4-7, 2001, including several where Fr. Toribio Guerrero, CMFN President, had come with his family as a child to work in the pickle harvest. They also visited the newly constructed el Centro de Salud Familiar, largely funded by the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows. A highlight of their work was the approval of a new mission statement for the organization:
The Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network: (CMFN) promotes the formation of welcoming church communities by advocating social justice, dignity and respect for all, that we may be a more missionary Church. Through leadership formation, networking and provision of resources to pastoral ministers and farmworkers, CMFN helps bridge the differences and distances that separate the people of God.The Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network (CMFN) celebrated its 15th anniversary with a Quinceañera celebration and Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, October 7, 2001, St. Joseph Church in Wautoma, Wisconsin in the Diocese of Green Bay. Fr. Philip Dinh-Van-Thiep, pastor, Sr. Pat Flanigan, parish coordinator of the Hispanic Ministry and Mr. Rudy Pineda, Diocesan Director for Hispanic Services extended a very warm welcome to CMFN members and the local parish and migrant community who filled the Church for the occasion. All were invited afterwards to a festive meal with entertainment by a local Mexican band in the parish hall.
MAFO National Farmworker Conference
MAFO National Farmworker Conference: "New Horizons, New Challenges" will be held from February 18-21, 2002 in San Diego, CA. Please contact Mr. Lalo Zavala for more informaiton at 320-650-1711 or see www.mafofarmworker.com. Four main tracks will provide training on Workforce Development, Community Development, Health/Social Issues and Education.
Pastoral Statement Celebrates Asian-Pacific Presence in the U.S. Church
by David Early, USCCB Office of Communications
Recognizing the growing Asian and Pacific presence in the Catholic Church in the United States, the nation's Catholic Bishops have approved their first pastoral statement on the topic and called for a stronger pastoral response to the needs of these diverse communities.
Asian and Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith received final approval by a mail-in ballot of the membership of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The document was on the agenda of the Bishops' general meeting last month, but the absence of a quorum on the last day forced the USCCB to complete the vote by mail-in ballots. It passed on a 229-01 vote.
"We pray that this pastoral statement will facilitate a fuller appreciation of [the Asian and Pacific] communities in our local churches and will encourage Asian and Pacific Catholics to take on active leadership roles in every level of church life," the Bishops write.
To address the pastoral needs of Asian and Pacific Catholics, the Bishops recommend numerous diocesan and parish initiatives including the establishment of pastoral institutes where clergy and other pastoral ministers can receive continuing education; greater intercultural communications training; and the development of "mobile ministries" to reach small and isolated Asian and Pacific Catholic communities.
In describing the rich diversity within the Asian and Pacific community— a diversity of ethnicity, language, culture, place of birth, religious tradition, and recency of arrival in the United States— the statement suggests the description "Asian and Pacific" is deceptively oversimplified. The definition of "Asian" used in the document encompasses 53 countries stretching from Mediterranean countries like Cyprus, Turkey and Israel in the west to Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia in the east. "Pacific," as defined in the statement covers the vast reaches of the planet's largest ocean to include 26 countries and territories like American Samoa, Guam and Tahiti, and lesser known places like the Yap Islands, part of the Federated States of Micronesia. Taken together, Asians and Pacific Islanders speak hundreds of languages, embrace all of the world's major religions, and even within Catholicism belong to both Latin and Eastern Churches.
The statement provides a broad overview of the history of Christianity in Asia and the Pacific, and reminds readers that Jesus Christ himself was Asian. A similar overview of the presence of Asians and Pacific Islanders in what is now the United States notes that as early as 1763, a Filipino settlement had been established in the bayous of Louisiana.
The bishops trace the Church's early pastoral ministry to these communities to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The statement acknowledges that while the numbers of Asians and Pacific Islanders within the Church in the United States are growing rapidly, their presence spans several generations. They said their tremendous increase in the general U.S. population and within the Catholic Church presents a "teaching moment" which prompted the preparation of Harmony in Faith.
The bishops celebrate the rich gifts offered by Asian and Pacific peoples to the Church in the United States. A substantial part of their statement highlights some of those gifts, including the high value placed on family and education, their profound spirituality and religiosity, their long tradition of lay leadership and the contributions of Asian and Pacific clergy and religious.
"Asian and Pacific Catholics have come of age and are not merely objects of the Church's pastoral care," the bishops write. "Rather, they have grown and should continue to grow as participating agents and coworkers in the apostolic mission of Jesus Christ. Parishes and dioceses should draw upon the Asian and Pacific communities as sisters and brothers in Christ, as important resources who contribute to the Church in the United States in moving in the direction of the Kingdom of God."Asian and Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith was presented to the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Camden (NJ), Chairman of the Bishops' Migration Committee, which developed the statement.
The full text of the statement is available on the Web at: www.usccb.org. Printed copies are available by calling USCCB Publishing at 1-800-235-8722.
International Meeting of National Directors of Pastoral Outreach with Nomads
The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People hosted a meeting of the National Directors of Pastoral Outreach with Nomads and experts in this ministry from November 28-December 1 at the Salesianum in Rome. The three bishop representatives were Most Reverend Renato Ascencio León from Mexico, Most Reverend Szilárd Keresztes from Hungary, and Most Reverend Petru Gherghel from Romania. All the nations of Europe except Bulgaria, Great Britain and Holland were represented. Fr. Peter Clark, pastor of St. Edward Parish, a community of Irish Travelers in North Augusta, South Carolina, and Sr. Charlotte Hobelman, SND from PCMR represented the United States. Fr. Peter Clark had a chance to meet Rev. Stephen Monaghan, CM, pastor of the Parish of the Traveling People located in Dublin, Ireland. For the first time a representative from India, Fr. Mathias Bhuriya, shared his experience as a member of a nomadic tribe and a priest ministering at the Cathedral parish and with nomads in his diocese.
Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People concelebrated the opening liturgy on the evening of November 28. Msgr. Anthony Chirayath facilitated the work of the international meeting whose primary goal was to obtain input on a draft outline for a document on pastoral outreach with nomads, to share reports by each national director on the pastoral situation with nomadic peoples in each country and to discuss plans for the next international meeting. Fr. René Bernard from France provided an orientation to the project of the proposed ecclesial document. Participants met in language groups to provide input on the proposed outline and the input provided by Fr. Bernard.
On Friday morning, the 34 participants traveled to the offices of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees for a concelebrated Mass with the new Secretary, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto and the enthronement of the statue of Mary, Queen of the Gypsies in the Pontifical Council Chapel. The highlight of the meeting was an audience with Pope John Paul II on Saturday morning and the opportunity to receive his blessing individually.
Highlights of the AWRC/ACCA Executive Meeting in Washington, DC
The officers of African Women Religious Conference and the African Catholic Clergy Association had an executive meeting on December 2-3, 2001. They met to discuss:
- the Annual Joint Conference which is now scheduled to take place in August 1-4, 2002,
- to give suggestions to the new coordinator of Ethnic Ministries, Sr. MaryPaul Asoegwu,
- to map out the future direction of ACCA and AWRC.,
- To look at the United States Catholic Bishops' Statement on Africa - "A call to Solidarity with Africa."
Archbishop John Onaiyekan noted that the document comes as a breath of fresh air to Africa and the African church. The document reflects a greater awareness of the African reality and also embodies a posture of solidarity. What the Archbishop recognizes as a major advance is that the document points to a movement beyond the mere sending of dollars to Africa and focusing on challenging the unjust and at times criminal structures. Like the Director, the Archbishop believes that it is important for the document to get to the people for whom it is intended. Those delegated with any responsibility in this context must take it seriously. Pious sermons alone can no longer suffice. The real world issues that are causing structural evils should be tackled. While others may provide some directions, it is the African bishops themselves who should be prepared to deal with the realities of their homeland.
The Archbishop, speaking as the Vice President of SECAM, noted his delight with a group such as ACCA/AWRC. After being assured that African Community outreach Network (ACON) will also cater for the lay faithful, he remarked that the African Synod had adopted the model of "the church as the family of God." One of the implications of this is that the family should not just be the heads of the family but every member. He encouraged Africans in the United States to communicate with SECAM. The Archbishops recognized that there are many Africans in the United States and consequently, there is need for pastoral care for them. The African bishops will give moral support to initiatives taken here and this explains the need for those ministering here to organize themselves into a group. The Archbishop cautioned that bishops who have priests in the United States and those priests are refusing to return home should approach the issue with great diligence and not be tempted to generalize. Finally, he pledged SECAM's support for the ACCA/AWRC.
The Joint Conference of AWRC/ACCA will be producing a communique and statement which they hope to circulate to their members and others.
Statement from the African Clergy and Religious in the United States
The Presence of African Priests and Sisters in the United States
Prompted by, and in response to the prophetic insight of Pius XIII's Encyclical, "Fidei Donum", the reinforcing message of Pope John II's Encyclical, Redemptoris Missio", and more recently the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Africa of Pope John Paul II, all of which underscore the significance of the sharing of human and material resources between and among Churches, the bishops and Leaders of Religious Communities in Africa have been sending some of their priests and sisters for ministry to the Churches of the West in a spirit of evangelical generosity.
The Bishops are particularly aware of this apostolic responsibility as they declared it in the Lineamenta of the Special Assembly for Africa, "No particular Church, not even the poorest, can ever be dispensed from the obligation of sharing its personnel as well as its spiritual and temporal resources with other particular Churches and with the universal Church" (No 42).
A total number of forty-three of us, (30 priests and 13 nuns) among the African priests and sisters currently ministering and studying in the United States met for three days in August 2001.
Our meeting, which was prayerful in nature, took place at the Marywood Center for Spirituality and Ministry in Jacksonville, Florida (Diocese of St. Augustine) from August 23-26, 2001.
The main focus of the gathering was to reflect on our ministry as African priests and nuns working in the United States. Our reflections were centered on questions such as:
- Why are we in the United States at this time in the history of human salvation?
- How did we end up here in the first place?
- How effective is our ministry here?
- For how long shall we remain here?
- How many of us are here and where are we located in the States?
- What kinds of ministries are we involved in and how do these fulfill the mission of the Church?
- We understand our presence in the United States as a response to the Church's call for the sharing of human and spiritual resources;
- We bring along typically African spirituality, sense of liturgy, and sense of community- gifts we can never impose but only unveil;
- We see ourselves as sign and witness to the universality of the Church.
- We develop an increased appreciation of the many years of Euro-American missionary toils on the African soil.
- Our presence provides opportunity for honest and sincere dialogue about the African reality.
- We have the opportunity to accompany the many African immigrants scattered around the country.
Our honest and sincere discussion of this quest revealed the following observations:
- Some of us were sent by our bishops and superiors specifically for missionary work. A few, however, do choose to remain in the United States for good following some major or minor disagreements with their superiors.
- Some were sent here specifically to study with the view of going back home after completing their studies. However, a few have decided to stay and work here with or without the consent of their superiors.
- There are some who came here as refugees and for their safety have opted to remain here and work for the Church in the United States.
Regardless of how we got here, we observed that we are trying to do our best in a new environment as priests and nuns. We acknowledge the appreciation of the people we serve.
Aware of the diversity of the African continent from which we come and equally aware of the diversity of the United States, we hope to work towards the following objectives:
- Create and foster unity among us so as to encourage and help one another whenever the need arises;
- Help to resolve any conflicts and differences among us and with our superiors at home;
- Facilitate ways and means of reaching out to minority groups among us. It is evident that some countries of Africa have more priests and nuns in the United States than others. For example Nigerian and Tanzania have more personnel. Other countries, however, are very thinly represented, at times with one or two priests or nuns. It behooves us to reach out to everyone especially those with less numbers.
- Explore ways of making our ministries in the United States more effective and meaningful.
We acknowledge the need for establishing means of communication among us. To this end, we have proposed the launching of a newsletter that may serve to inform and unite us as African priests and nuns working as missionaries in the United States.
We are also working with other existing groups including:
- Migration and Refugee Services at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC (USCCB/MRS/PCMR)
- The African Community Network, Inc. (ACON)
- African Catholic Clergy Association (ACCA)
- African Women Religious Conference (AWRC)
Roberts Brothers Circus and Big Apple Circus Visit
Sr. Charlotte traveled from September 22-24 through several towns in the Shenandoah Valley
with Sr. Dorothy Fabritze, MSC, and Sr. Bernard Overkamp, MSC, who are engaged in full-time circus ministry with the Roberts Brothers Circus as it performed in several towns along the Shenandoah Valley. She also met with Fr. Jerry Hogan on September 26 to do further planning for the tenth anniversary meeting of the Circus and Traveling Show Ministry. They also visited the Big Apple Circus as it opened its new season at the Dulles Town Center in Virginia. Fr. Hogan ministered with the producers, performers and workers who were dealing with the aftermath of the terrorist attach in New York which is their home base. Although the producers, cast and crew were personally impacted by the tragic events of September 11, they had to find the inner strength to allow the show to go on.
Fr. Jerry Hogan blessed the Big Apple Circus before their opening performance and told them: "When people come to the circus, they come to a sacred place, a temple. It is where you use your gifts from God, whatever God you believe in, to help people leave behind their pain and misery. And that's in normal times. Now, the terrorist attack of September 11 ‘raises the bar' for the acrobats, clowns and other performers in the one-ring circus, who have the job of making people laugh amid such unimaginable grief. You'll have to rescue people and give them happiness."
The Big Apple Circus provided free tickets to Pentagon workers to attend a performance while they performed in Virginia. For families, and especially children, the wholesome entertainment of the Big Apple Circus provided a healthy environment to enjoy a good time together and to laugh again.
Migrant Ministry Visit to the Diocese of Grand Rapids and the Diocese of Kalamazoo
Sr. Pat Lamb, RSM, the parish Outreach/Social Justice coordinator, extended an to invitation
Sr. Charlotte Hobelman, SND, to present an evening of prayer, reflection and discussion on Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity for the parishes of St. Francis de Sales and Our Lady of the Lake in Holland, Michigan on the evening of October 16. Both parishes do outreach with migrant farmworkers during the summer months. It was an opportunity to share the U.S. Bishops' new pastoral statement and to demonstrate the use of the parish kit developed by PCMR to implement it. Fr. Stephen Dudek, the pastor, has promoted a welcoming vision in the parish of St. Francis de Sales, which is made up of Anglos, Vietnamese, and Hispanics, college students and migrant farmworkers.
On October 17, Sr. Charlotte met with Ms. Fanny Tabares, Director of Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, and Fr German Perez-Diaz at Immaculate Conception Parish in Hartford, Michigan. This parish offers social outreach to migrant farmworkers at its Centro Aleman. In the evening, Sr. Charlotte attended the annual appreciation dinner for the migrant ministry volunteers held at St. Joseph Parish in Kalamazoo and gave a bilingual talk on "Christ As a Migrant" with an emphasis on the biblical basis for commitment to migrant ministry and national statistics on migrant farmworkers. It was evident that all age groups were represented among the many volunteers who attended the dinner including family groups. There are twelve parishes that volunteer in migrant ministry, and they visited all 288 farmworker camps in the nine counties in the Diocese of Kalamazoo between spring and fall of 2001.
History in the Making for Filipino American Catholics
A historic event for Filipino American Catholics transpired on September 10-12, 2001 in Philadelphia. Twenty four arch/diocesan directors or coordinators of Filipino Ministry gathered to form the Filipino American Catholic Ministries Council. This structure is the first national organization formed in response to the growing needs for Filipino pastoral ministers/agents to support and encourage one another; enrich each other's ministry by sharing experiences, challenges and resources; develop better communication and coordination among ministers and ministries; discuss on a national level issues facing Filipino Catholics in the United States; and, advocate for appropriate responses.
Because of the September 11 terrorist attack, prayer services were generously interspersed during the meeting. The Philadelphia Filipino Apostolate showered the participants with the world-renowned Filipino welcome and hospitality and lent a total Filipino experience of church and ministry to the gathering. The delegates discussed gifts and challenges of Filipino devotional/prayer groups, clergy and religious, and youth and young adults. On the last day, an ad hoc committee was created from among the delegates to form a Filipino American Catholic Ministries Council, U.S.A. tasked to: a) put together the proceedings of the meeting; b) coordinate future gatherings; and, c) design a process of developing a viable pastoral plan especially focused on formation of leaders.
April 2002 Meeting for Those Who Serve the People of the Sea
The Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America (AOSUSA) will host its first conference under its new name and revised constitution. For many years as the National Catholic Conference of Seafarers, maritime ministry was provided to the People of the Sea by dedicated Apostleship of the Sea Chaplains.
Now the Catholic seafarer chaplains have changed their name so that the organization more closely reflects their relationship with the International Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) and with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The first conference of this newly named organization will take place in San Diego, California at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center on April 9-12, 2002.
For Further Information Contact:
Rev. Fr. John A. Jamnicky National Director, Apostleship of the Sea
Chinese American Catholics Hold 23rd Convention
The 23rd Annual Convention of the North America Chinese Clergy, Religious and Laity was held at the Poverello of Assisi Retreat Center in San Fernando, California on October 15-19, 2001. Undeterred by the September 11 tragedy, twenty seven priests, two deacons, two monsignors, seven religious sisters, twenty four lay women and twenty three lay men convened to discuss various facets of lay ministry in the Church today. They came from three cities in Canada (Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal) and from all over the United States (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Fernando, Rowland Heights, Monterey Park, San Francisco, Fremont-Oakland, Fresno, Boston, New Jersey, Atlanta, Miami, and Seattle).
According to Fr. Paul Pang, Director of the Overseas Chinese Apostolate at the Vatican, there are 199 Chinese Apostolates in various countries in the world, the majority in North America. Fr. Pang also addressed the convention and enjoined lay leaders to heed their baptismal mission to become like the apostles, to witness and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In his opening address, Fr. Pang said, " Live a life of holiness as witness to the spirit of the gospel. Offer your life to Christ, be on the frontline in evangelization."
The NACCRL Convention was hosted by the St. Bridget Chinese Catholic Parish under the dynamic leadership of the Pastor and President of NACCRL, Fr. Joseph Cheng, SDB. The convention theme, "Working With Laity, Together Building an Evangelizing Community" was addressed by Auxiliary Bishop Edward Clarke of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in his very enlightening keynote speech, "Collaborative Ministry: Uncovering the Gifts of the Laity, Recovering the Place of the Clergy." Bishop Clarke explained the revolution going on in the church in the concept and undertaking of "ministry."
Msgr. Joseph Chiang, the PCMR National Consultant on the Chinese Apostolate, challenged the participants to be "not just ordinary Catholics but to become outstanding leaders among the Chinese American Catholics. He encouraged the clergy and the laity to use their three T's (time, talent and treasure) to the fullest in their mission. "As lay leaders, step up, speak up and DO your mission. Do not be afraid," he said.
Cecile Motus represented PCMR at the convention and gave a presentation, "Harmony and Unity Among Sodalities".
Job Opening...Job Opening...Job Opening...
Staff Attorney (Labor Project): Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), a non-profit, legal services organization in Washington, DC has an immediate opening for an attorney in El Paso, Texas. This position will engage in training, federal and state litigation, and representation of low-income immigrants, including agricultural laborers, in Texas and New Mexico. The attorney will report to CLINIC's labor attorney in Washington, DC and will be part of a multi-service collaborative. Qualified applicants must have experience representing low wage workers, and the ability to work collaboratively with partner agencies. Immigration law knowledge helpful. Salary commensurate with experience. Send resume, references, and writing sample to Attorney, Labor Project, Human Resources, CLINIC, 415 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20017. Fax (202) 635-2649. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us on the web at www.cliniclegal.org. This position will remain open until filled. No telephone calls. EOE.
Building Bridges: Crossing Cultural Boundaries
PCMR is pleased to announce the 2nd edition of Building Bridges: Crossing Cultural Boundaries - Profiles of Dioceses Ministries of Hospitality. This publication is geared towards diocesan leaders who are interested in establishing a ministry of welcome to newcomers and people on the move. This edition includes samples of: diocesan structures, diocesan pastoral plans and guidelines, and position descriptions. To order a copy, please call 202-541-3230 or e-mail email@example.com. One complimentary copy is available; additional copies are $5.00 (with a discount for orders of 10 or more).