ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ PRAYS FOR A RENEWED SPIRIT OF FRATERNITY IN OUR SOCIETY DURING CLANDELIGHT PRAYER VIGIL IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER AMERICAN COMMUNITY
In his remarks during the outdoor Prayer Vigil for Racial Acceptance held this evening at Incarnation Parish in Glendale, Archbishop José H. Gomez reminded the faithful that Asian American families belong to the oldest communities that arrived in America. He called Catholics to pray for a renewed spirit of fraternity in our society and to always be mindful that we are all part of the family of God.
“The first families from the Philippines arrived here in California, at Morro Bay, nearly 450 years ago, in 1587,” remarked Archbishop Gomez. “If you think about it, Asians were here, working and worshipping, 33 years before the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower on the other side of the country. It is very sad that these relatives, neighbors and parishioners of ours are facing violence and discrimination in recent months, not only here in California, but in other parts of the country as well.
“We pray for a new spirit of fraternity in our society, that we may all come to see one another as brothers and sisters. We are all children of God, who loves us and created each of us in his own image to live in equality and with dignity as one family of God,” said Archbishop Gomez.
Homilist Bishop Alejandro “Alex” Aclan for the San Fernando Pastoral Region, where Incarnation Parish belongs, echoed Archbishop Gomez’s statement.
“We gather tonight to enter our Lord Jesus Christ so we can ask him for his help so we can overcome the racism we are living in at this time,” said Bishop Aclan after narrating a recent act of violence against a Filipino woman in New York City, and reminding the congregation there are many Asian and Pacific Islander American professionals that contribute to the U.S. economy and enrich the country, including countless professionals in the healthcare field and in culinary businesses.
Bishop Aclan called the faithful to action, including educating ourselves, participating in activities that foster community, dialogue and reconciliation with people from different races and to form the conscience of our young so they learn to respect each other’s dignity.
“As we listen to other experiences we can understand and learn to emphasize and unite with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Bishop Aclan.
Also present at the prayer vigil were Auxiliary Bishop Marc Trudeau for the San Pedro Pastoral Region, Fr. Rodel Balagtas, Incarnation’s pastor, who delivered introduction remarks, and more than a dozen priests from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, mostly of Asian American descent.
Nicholas Lau, a member of the Archdiocese’s Ethnic Ministry, whose parents are originally from Hong Kong, religious Sister Teresa Liu, originally from Taiwan, and Serapia Kim, a Korean young adult from St. Joseph Korean Catholic Center in Canoga Park shared their testimony of finding similarities and beauty in diversity.
“I pray that we may not succumb to the sin of indifference,” said Serapia Kim. “Rather, may we rise up together in our passion for justice and our deep care and love for one another.”
“In my Novitiate, I lived with eight Sisters who were from seven various ethnicities and races. It was not easy all the time,” said Sister Teresa Liu. “There were miscommunications, misunderstandings, and plenty of awkward moments. We all had to learn how to listen to each other, to dialogue and show sincere interest in each other, as Jesus commanded, ‘As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.’ (Jn 13: 34) Through this love, I learned to appreciate the beauty of our diversity.”
“No, we shall not diminish one community’s experience of injustice over another’s. Yes, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, you, me everyone,” Nicholas Lau told the congregation. “Yes, this is about having our stories heard; the stories of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. And yes, we shall learn to love each other.”
Dressed in Chinese attire, Maggie Lau, who presides the Archdiocese’s Ethnic Ministry, led the congregation in prayer and each person in attendance held a lit candle in a demonstration of love and acceptance of our brothers and sisters from all races and backgrounds in the U.S. and abroad.
To view the entire prayer vigil, visit https://www.facebook.com/incaglendale/ and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvtHZEZ01TrjLvgGBECCZMg.
NOTE: Photos are available upon request.