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 Poczatek (Second Row, Center) with teens and Youth Group leaders from Holy Martyrs of Vietnam
By Luke Poczatek
This past Sunday evening, I was able to attend and serve at our Diocese’s annual Lightworks Mass of Thanksgiving. I had no idea what Lightworks, before attending the Mass, but I knew it consisted mostly of our diocesan Vietnamese and Korean Catholic communities. The Mass was a regular English Mass, with the exception of the responsorial psalm and some of the intercessions said in Vietnamese. Still unsure what Lightworks was, we made it close to the end of Mass when before the final blessing, we all sat to listen to testimonies from some of the Lightworks members. They were all talking about how Lightworks helped them grow in a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ, and really stressed that reading Scripture is one way of praying to God. With the reading of Scripture, they spoke of the practice of Lectio Divina, which is an Ignation method of prayer where one prays with Scripture. One enters into the scenes of the Gospels, or other passages of the Bible, in order to have a unique and beautiful encounter with Christ. Each testimony was powerfully moving, and by each sharing of their experience of prayer, one caught glimpse into their spiritual lives. I saw from them that God is not someone far off and distant, but close and personal.
The next day, I spoke with the Director of the Multicultural Office, Corinne Monogue, about how I was moved by the insight the members of Lightworks had, and how they communicated their relationship with Christ through this type of prayer. Corinne told me that the Lectio Divina method of prayer is positively accepted by these cultures, because it complements well with the ancient methods of Asian meditation, speaking of Confucianism and Buddhism background. This was awesome to see, and to know how Christ comes to fulfill, here by taking ancient Asian customs and completing them with His blessing and transforming Grace.
By Luke Poczatek
On Friday, June 22nd, I had the privilege of serving my first Mass for Multicultural Communities, which took place at St. John Neumann Parish in Reston. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Burbidge, and concelebrated by the Archbishop of Asmara Eritrea, with 25 other concelebrating priests. The Mass was accompanied by a beautiful choir, which consisted of much cultural diversity. It was incredible to see, that while each community brings its own identity to the Mass, all are united in the Eucharistic sacrifice.
Following the Mass, was an awesome reception with all the different cultures presenting different foods and items from their community. There were also some entertaining performances from the Tamil Indian community, Hispanic community, and a member of the Native American Penobscot Nation. These performances showed the beauty that each of their cultures uniquely possess. The Mass and reception was also blessed to have a strong presence from the Albanian community, which included the President of Albania’s wife and his daughter, the First Lady. They gave an incredible gift to the Albanian Catholic community of our Diocese: a cross containing ten first class relicts of Albanian martyrs!
Overall, I had a great time getting to meet with many of the different communities, and they graciously welcomed me to their table. I was able to officially meet some of the members from the different cultural parishes, which is a good introduction before I start visiting their parishes individually. All of this is bringing excitement to me as I get more involved in the communities at the Multicultural Office this summer, and I look forward to getting to know the different cultures even more.
Check out photos from the Mass and reception!