By: Michael Folmar, Seminarian
This 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.
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 my 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!
By: Michael Folmar, Seminarian
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 the 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!
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!
Hello! 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Posted in Asian and Pacific Islander, Bishop Ireton High School, Black Catholic Community, Choral Concert, Filipino Catholic Community, Ghana Catholic Community, Korean Catholic Community, Vietnamese Community
- Tagged Asian, Bishop Ireton High School, Black Catholic, Choral Concert, Filipino, Filipino Serenata Choir, Ghana Catholic Community, Ghana Catholic Community Choir, Good Shepherd Parish, Heartsongs: Tam Tinh Ca, Hispanic Charismatic Choir, Holy Martyrs of Vietnam, Korean, Multicultural, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Pacific Islander, Queen of Apostles Parish, St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. Paul Chung, Vietnamese
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
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.
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”.
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.