Visiting WorkCamp 2018

By Luke Poczatek

This past summer, I went down to visit our Diocese’s annual WorkCamp event. My main goal was to visit some of youth from St. Paul Chung Parish and Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Parish. The faith was very much alive, and the high schoolers and group leaders from these two parishes were very welcoming. I spoke with the Korean youth, and told them I was planning on visiting the parish this summer. Meeting with them, I could see that the faith was strong. Meeting with the parishioners from Holy Martyrs, we hit it off quickly. I told them that my grandmother was Vietnamese, and they all got really excited! I made the connection with them, that I really understood their culture through my grandmother. I loved a lot of the same food, and understood plenty of their customs. They even showed me their special type of perfume which consisted of some green liquid. When I smelt it, I told them it reminded me of my grandma! They were all very kind to me, and it made me look forward to visiting their parish.

Looking at my time with the communities at WorkCamp, I got a chance to see that the faith is strong in the youth, in these diverse cultures, and the Lord is working to nurture this faith in their parishes. They express so much joy in their lives, and this joy was contagious when I was with them. Their camaraderie and zeal was awesome to witness, and I was touched by the way they welcomed me as a part of their group. It encourages me to always be the one that welcomes others, and to do it with the joy that these campers showed.

Luke at Work Camp II
Luke Poczatek (Second Row, Center) with teens and Youth Group leaders from Holy Martyrs of Vietnam

 

Advertisements

Korean Catholicism cascaded from Martyrs’ faiths

By Tschangho John Kim

May is a special month for Korean Catholics. Saint Pope John Paul II canonized 103 Korean martyrs to sainthood in May 6, 1984. Pope Francis beatified 124 Koreans including 123 martyrs in 2014, and declared May 29 to be the day of commemoration for the Blessed. In addition, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Korea dedicated the month of May to adore the Virgin Mary.

Catholicism has been introduced into Korea not by missionaries, but by Korean scholars searching for the truth of the universe, a unique case in the history of religion. From early 17th century, a few scholars studied a book written by a Jesuit priest Mateo Ricci titled, “The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven.”  Since 1777, a few scholars gathered in a Buddhist Temple regularly and discussed on the new idea that came from the West. One of the scholars, Seung-Hoon Lee, had an opportunity to visit Beijing, China as a member of King’s delegation in 1783. He stayed there for few months and met several Jesuit priests, and finally was baptized as Peter by Fr. Jean-Joseph de Grammont, became the first official Korean Catholic. When he returned back to Korea, a number of catechism books, crosses, rosaries and other sacred items came along with him that guided those yearning scholars as lighthouse for searching for the truth about the Creator.

By 1785, Peter Seung-Hoon Lee has baptized more than a thousand, and thus few leaders thought they need to establish a church and a sacerdotalism. They self-appointed a bishop and few priests and became disciples for spreading the Gospel which they have translated into Korean. They served Masses, communions and confessions. One of them soon found out that no one allowed to exercise priesthood without ordination and proper education. They wrote a letter with explaining what they did to Bishop Alexander de Gouvea in Beijing who was stunned at the least to hear the self-appointed sacerdotalim, asked them to stop practicing sacraments, and the self-appointed sacerdotalism in Korea thus ended in 1790. At the time, Bishop Gouvea was so moved by the faiths expressed in the letter, he dispatched a Chinese priest named Fr. James Wenmo Chou in 1794.

Catholicism spread steadily and widely in the Yi dynasty Korea, particularly after a few missionaries arrived from the Paris Foreign Missions Society in 1831 headed by Bishop Lurent Imbert. But the faith soon faced in conflict with Neo-Confucianism, the governing philosophy in that society, and with the traditional culture. Catholic teaching then banned the practice of ancestral rites as deifying activities while Korean custom considered it as a filial duty to ancestors. In addition, the dominant strict hierarchical social order in the hermit kingdom could not tolerate the idea of the principal equality of all mankind. The kingdom’s authority thus banned Catholicism as a dangerous belief that might eventually destroy the system based on which the kingdom has founded.

The persecution that began in 1801 lasted for about 80 years during which time more than 10,000 of the Catholics have been martyred. St. Bishop Imbert was martyred in 1839 and was canonized in 1984. Among 103 Saints and 124 Blessed, there were 10 martyrs came from just one family. St. Paul Hasang Chung, his mother, St. Cecilia Choi Yoo and his sister St. Elisabeth Junghye Chung were canonized in 1984 by St. John Paul II. His father, Augustine Yakjong Chung and his brother, Carlos Chulsan Chung were beatified in 2014 by Pope Francis.

The persecution finally ended in 1882 and religious freedom was officially declared in 1894. Since, Catholics in Korea have been steadily increased to about 10% of the South Korean population of 51 million as of 2018.

Korean Catholics in the northern Virginia gathered together in 1985 and began a mission named after St. Paul Hasang Chung. The St. Paul Chung Parish in the Arlington diocese thus started with about 1,100 faithful now has 6,700 registered parishioners, the largest among Korean parishes in the USA. The Parish church was completed in 1995 with the following passion engraved on the cornerstone of the church, “We dedicate the Church to the generations to follow as heritage of out motherland we left.”

Reference
1. A Brief History of Korean Catholicism (in Korean), St. Andrew Kim Parish, LA, 2006, http://www.standrewkimchicago.org/xe/catechism/9523
2. Catholic Bishiops’ Conference in Korea, Dawn of Catholicism in Korea, http://english.cbck.or.kr/history/106; http://english.cbck.or.kr/history/1178
3. The Wall Street Journal, 2014, A Brief History of the Catholic Church in Korea, Aug 14, 2014. https://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2014/08/14/a-brief-history-of-the-catholic-church-in-korea/
4. Kirsteen Kim, 2016, Are Koreans the world’s most dynamic Catholics? Catholic Herald Nov. 10, 2016, http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/november-11th-2016/are-koreans-the-worlds-most-dynamic-catholics/

 

Prayer becomes habit with Lightworks

Lightworks, the Ignation spiritual program, is a 14-week series focused on praying with the Gospels. You can find out more on Lightworks here.

Men and women of all ages gather together at various parishes across the Diocese of Arlington, and meet in groups that speak Vietnamese, Korean, and English.

Here is what folks had to say about Lightworks this year:

  • “[I] feel more intimate with the Bible.”
  • “Prayer became a habit in every day life.”
  • “Sharing and listening in the group became spiritual and enriched.”

Rob, who attends with his wife , shared:

“My wife Maria is a veteran of Lightworks and asked me to participate with her.  I agreed because I thought it would be something good for us to do together.  I’m glad I did.  I look forward to it every Monday night now.  Liem, our leader is great!  He adds so much wisdom!

Lightworks gets two thumbs up from me.  It has been a real positive experience for my wife as well, as she has participated several times.

The results are in! People who participate in Lightworks have nothing but good words to share!

Check out some photos from this year’s participants:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read more on Lightworks:

Thank You!

By: Michael Folmar, Seminarian

Seal of Office of Multicultural MinistriesThis past summer was truly a gift, as well as a blessing. To have been given the opportunity to visit and interact with various ethnic communities throughout our rich diocese has been very edifying. I cannot thank our shepherd, Bishop Loverde, and my Vocation Director, Fr. J. D. Jaffe, enough for assigning me to the Office of Multicultural Ministries for my summer 2016 assignment. Being enriched by all the experiences my summer assignment brought me, I now have a better understanding of all the various facets of people that I will, God willing, serve as a priest in our diocese. St. Paul said that we need to “be all things to all men.” Therefore, a solid understanding of the history and traditions of those we serve is valuable to possess. Each one of us originates from a particular cultural background, have had different experiences, and have been fostered by various Catholic upbringings, which have all shaped us uniquely in the image of God.  If we are to meet people where they are and lead them on to greater holiness, closer to God, we need to understand where they are coming from. We all are “beautifully and wonderfully made” in God’s image and likeness. Each one of our lives is a gift that needs to be shared by using our God-given talents for the good of each other. We are on life’s pilgrimage journey to Heaven and we can help each other to get there with a better understanding of where each one of us began. Moreover, we need to never forget to “welcome the stranger among us,” for it is Christ in Whom we are all united.Ghanaian Picnic 2016 - Michael Folmar Making Doughnuts.jpg-large

In addition to pastoral ministry, I also experienced quite a bit of fun of this past summer – I had the opportunity to make doughnuts (Ghanaian sweet rolls, or ‘bofrot’) at the annual Ghana Catholic Picnic! Overall, I thank God for forming me in the various ways He has and pray that all that I have learned carries on into the future. Not to make this a “thank-a-thon,” but I also want to thank all the various leaders of our ethnic communities in our diocese who assisted in all my visits. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my supervisor, Corinne Monogue, Director of the Office of Multicultural Ministries for our Diocese, and Elizabeth Tauke, the Office of Multicultural Ministries’ Program Specialist. Under their wings and guidance, I was able to navigate my way around and through the various ethnic communities of our diocese. I have enjoyed contributing to this blog as it has helped me to reflect more deeply on all of Corinne, Liz, and Michael Folmarmy visits. Please pray for me as I return to Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland on August 18th.  As I have stated before, I am headed into Third Theology. I look forward to learning more and being formed into the man Jesus Christ is calling me to be, so as to better serve all of you in our diocese as, God willing, a priest. May God bless each of you and may Our Lady’s mantel of protection never cease to safeguard you!

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: What Unites Us

By: Michael Folmar, Seminarian

Korean- Moonja, Michael Folmar (bright)Although I have never been to Korea before, I experienced the closest thing to it this past weekend. I was privileged to attend Mass at St. Paul Chung Korean Catholic Church in Fairfax (www.stpaulchung.org). This parish is home to thousands of Korean Catholics that are in the Northern Virginia area. When I arrived at St. Paul Chung parish, I was greeted by confused stares mixed with friendly faces. I was the only non-Korean in sight, which made me feel out of place at first. As I continued to proceed inside, everything was written in Korean. Luckily for me, however, most things were also provided in English. I was soon welcomed by Moonja Kim, a Korean representative for the Multicultural Council of the Office of Multicultural Ministries. She introduced me to the pastor, Father In Joon Chung, who I would like to thank for having me. Father Chung recommended that I experience Korean- St. Paul Chung Statuethe student (youth) Mass, which took place at 11:40 am. Once it began, I no longer felt like a stranger and immediately felt like a part of their community, even though I was the minority. For, it is the Mass that unites us and no one else can unite the Body as well as Jesus Christ, the Head, can. At this Eucharistic Banquet, I was quite impressed by the number of youth that came. Some of them even played woodwind and string instruments for Mass. As I saw all the youth, it brought to mind that we need to pray for Korean vocations for our Diocese to the priesthood and religious life. This is especially needed at St. Paul Chung because the priests that serve this parish come from Korea. So, they tend to be at St. Paul Chung’s for a few years before returning back to Korea.

At the end of Mass, I was determined to get my photo taken by a picture of Our Lady of Korea. It is always comforting to know that each culture has a special place in their hearts for Our Blessed Mother. After this past weekend, I feel as though I had a taste of Korea and did not even have to leave our Diocese to experience it!Korean (Take 3)- Our Lady of Korea n Michael Folmar

St. Paul Chung Catholic Church holds several Masses on Sunday, including an English Mass at 11:40 a.m. For those who have not yet experienced Mass with the Korean Catholic Community of our Diocese, I would strongly recommend it!

 

Welcome Michael Folmar!!!

            Michael FolmarHello! I’m Michael Folmar and I am a seminarian for our great Diocese of Arlington. I will be headed into Third Theology at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD this coming August. This summer I am helping out in the Office of Multicultural Ministries for the diocese here. So, I have been given countless opportunities to visit all the various ethnic and cultural Catholic ministries (Hispanic, Filipino, African-American, Korean, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Ghanaian, Eritrean, Cameroon, and Asian and Pacific Islander) that make our diocese vibrantly shine. Ultimately, the office that I am in serves and unites these several ministries by evangelization, as well as by going out to them.

            This past weekend, I was blessed to be at St. Anthony’s in Falls Church (www.stanthonyparish.org). This parish has a very active Hispanic ministry that has captivated several people to come from all over the area – including Maryland. I cannot tell you how hospitable and welcoming everyone was to me. I am also learning Spanish this summer at St. Anthony’s and so have countless opportunities here to learn, as well as practice, it. I started off my endeavor with the Hispanic ministry here by going to Legion of Mary in Spanish on Saturday. It is always nice to see how much devotion and love people have for Our Lady and Jesus – and it sure was not lacking here. Afterwards, there was a Mass in Spanish, followed by two more Spanish Masses the following day. The most heavily attended Mass that filled up the Church was on Sunday at 1 pm. It was very edifying to see various families come here and make it a day at the Church. Many came well before Mass and stayed long after. It was a family event centered around Christ. La Iglesia de San Antonio (its name in Spanish) is a place of refuge and renewal in Christ for many families. Moreover, there is a true sense of community and belonging here.

           Multicultural Office Well, I will be blogging from time to time throughout the summer about other ethnic and Catholic cultural ministries throughout the diocese. So check back here soon. Who knows, you might find out about a ministry that could catapult you closer to Christ. Keep in mind – ALL of the various places that I will be visiting are open to everyone. The more we understand one another, the more solidarity can take root and so bring about more intercultural communication to further build up Christ’s one universal Church. Until next time – ¡Adiós!

Recap: First Annual Multicultural Choral Concert

HopXuongCaDaVanHoa_2015 (91)

Photo taken by Mr. Tuyen and Mr. Thao

This past April, the Office of Multicultural Ministries held its first annual Multicultural Choral Concert! Hosted by Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, VA, the concert featured various choirs throughout our Diocese from all different cultures. The participating choirs were as follows: Filipino Serenata Choir from Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Ghana Catholic Community Choir from Queen of Apostles Parish, Heartsongs: Tam Tinh Ca, Hispanic Charismatic Choir from Good Shepherd Parish, Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Combined Choir, St. Joseph Gospel Choir, and St. Paul Chung Korean Choir.

Callie 6 - Multicultural Choral Concert

Photo taken by Mrs. Phyllis L. Johnson

Each choir performed at least two songs, including the Finale song, Celtic Alleluia by Christopher Walker, which was sung collaboratively by all of the choirs. The entire concert was a beautiful event, showcasing just a few of the many ethnic cultures that are so prevalent in the Diocese of Arlington. The Bishop Ireton students were very involved with the concert, as well – students whose cultural diversity represented each of the performing choirs would introduce a choir before they took the stage. This was the first time our office directly collaborated with Bishop Ireton High School, and it was a major success! Bishop Ireton has already started to plan for the second annual Multicultural Choral Concert in their state-of-the-art auditorium for April 2016. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Korean women with drums

Photo taken by Mr. Tuyen and Mr. Thao

To view some footage of this year’s Multicultural Choral Concert, watch the video below, filmed by Mr. Ed Jones of the Black Catholic Community.

The Asian and Pacific Island Catholics for Mary 13th Annual Pilgrimage (May 2nd, 2015)

Written by: Marierose Hoang

What is a better way to start the month of May, a month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, than joining the Asian and Pacific Island Catholics for Mary annual pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.

It started with a beautiful morning with much anticipation as I joined other members of the Holy Martyrs of Vietnam parish in Arlington on a hired school bus for a 45 minute ride.  We were one of the first groups to arrive at the Basilica and were promptly greeted by a jubilant Rev. Msgr. Vito A Buonanno (Director of Pilgrimages) whom at first I did not even recognize.  There was a sense of a true pilgrimage as we gathered on the side steps of the Basilica for a quick banh mi thit (traditional Vietnamese Pork Roll Sandwich) lunch. Happy faces were everywhere.

I am particularly proud of our youth group, clad in their brand new traditional Vietnamese outfits, which performed the pilgrimage’s opening Welcoming Drums.  There were close to 20 different processions with more than 10 Asian and Pacific Island churches and communities coming as far as North Carolina and New York.  The atmosphere was filled with excitement but nevertheless still remained solemn as each procession entered the sanctuary.  I cannot help but feel so elated, joyful and grateful for being able to partake in this special annual event.  From the Call to Prayer (Sacred songs and movements) to the Rosary recited and led by different communities, the pilgrimage truly reflects an unprecedented united front for all Asian and Pacific Island Catholics.  The Mass was celebrated by the newly appointed auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonvile and joined by many members of the clergy. The wonderful performance of the children choir of Our Lady of Viet Nam Catholic Church, Maryland added to the richness of our diverse Asian community.

This 13th Asian and Pacific Island Catholics for Mary Pilgrimage so well attended, it truly served as a testimony of our devotion to the Blessed Mother.  It was a true testament that our Catholic faith is alive and growing!

*All photos in this post are property of the Archdiocese of Washington

Korean Catholics from the Diocese of Arlington Witness Pope Francis in South Korea!

Written by: Tschangho John & Moonja Kim

As soon as the Vatican confirmed on March 10, 2014 that Pope Francis would visit South Korea in August 2014, Moonja and I began to prepare to attend the Pope’s Masses with excitement.

Pope Francis’s visit would have significant impacts on Catholicism in Korea, where it was laypeople, not missionaries, who established the first Catholic communities in the peninsula in the 18th Century at the cost of many lives. The Pope Francis effect, as people have proclaimed, assisted with adding more than two million new Catholics to this growing Church, with this visit being one of the highest conversions of Catholics, and a big missionary spirit.

Our first Mass celebrated by Pope Francis was on Aug. 15 in Daejeon Stadium, located about 100 miles South of Seoul, where he delivered an inspiring sermon to thousands of young adults attending from all Asian countries for the celebration of Asian Youth Day. He encouraged the youth to recognize the differences among people and become the seeds for the harmonized unifying world.

At the second Mass on Aug. 16, Pope Francis celebrated the beatification ceremony for 124 Korean martyrs who were victims of persecution by kings in the Yi dynasty. Over one million people attended the Mass, stretching over a mile on the main boulevard in Seoul.

Mass of people in Korea - Pope visit

We were so lucky and blessed to have seats only about 30 yards from the Altar. We were able to hear so clearly his plea for us to listen to those in need in this society surrounded by materialism, by remembering the martyrs’ ultimate sacrifice.

During the parade to the Altar before Mass, Pope Francis stopped 15 times to kiss babies presented to him along the police line, hearing thunderous acclaims by millions, “Viva il Papa”.

Pope blessing baby in Korea

Giving Neglected Coins to Neighbors in Need

Written by: Moonja Kim

St. Paul Chung Catholic Church held a campaign focused on helping neighbors in need throughout various communities by collecting parishioners’ piggy banks filled with coins. Led by Father Patrick In-Joon Chung, the campaign began on December 1, 2013 (the beginning of Advent) with a mass-distribution of plastic bags to all parishioners interested in participating. Eight hundred piggy banks were collected by January 12, 2014, raising a total of $11,205. This money was then donated towards helping single seniors without a family, the handicapped, ill, and those in constant need. Father Chung did not stop there – he encouraged his parishioners to think about their neglected neighbors whenever they place coins in their piggy banks, saying, “Through this campaign, it will provide opportunity to refresh our numbness toward neglected neighbors and to love them in action.”

The effort of collecting 800 piggy banks and counting thousands of coins provided a wonderful and worthwhile gathering of many parishioners from the St. Paul Chung community. Parishioners felt surrounded by love and generosity as they spent hours filling tiny paper rolls in which the coins were wrapped.   Many of these volunteers mentioned how much they loved this experience.  In addition to the coins, inside the piggy banks were paper money and some prayers and resolutions that the parishioners contributed to the church.  We hope to provide inspiration as we enter Advent 2014, by encouraging others to reach out to their neighbors in need.