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World Mission Sunday Oct. 18 is ‘first step’ in developing goals

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

By Staff Report

ARCHDIOCESE — Sibichen Thekveli believes the World Mission Sunday Mass Oct. 18 is the first step in developing the goals and framework for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s five-year Asian solidarity project.

As a member of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Community, Thekveli said very few people in America are aware of Eastern Catholic traditions. He said the project is a chance for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Community to present themselves as a learning, educational and exchange opportunity to sister Catholic traditions in Cincinnati and elsewhere.

“We have transported our faith in the Catholic Church with us to here in North America,” Thekveli said. “We want to ensure that it will flourish locally and partake in every good endeavor of the local church and co-exist with it, as beautiful flowers of slightly different shades in a beautiful garden.”

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Hoang Vu, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Fairfield. (CT/E.L. Hubbard)

There are several local Asian Catholic communities, including the Catholic Vietnamese Community of Dayton, Our Lady of Lavang Vietnamese Community, St. Andrew Kim Korean Catholic Community and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Community.

Mike Gable, director of the archdiocesan Mission Office, hopes the solidarity project will promote a united spirit for everyone.

Gifts of Asian Catholics include deep spirituality, great religious traditions, simplicity, hard work, emphasis on family, education and the active role of lay ministers, says Chato Villa, who is coordinator of Filipino Ministries in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Villa wants to see stronger coalitions between the Asian communities and the church during the project. She hopes Asian communities will be encouraged to have participation in church leadership positions.

“I hope this project will be able to bring together the local Asian communities in Cincinnati and help promote cooperation, support and harmony among us,” Villa said. “Solidarity will promote a better appreciation of the gifts, talents and spirituality among Asian societies.”

Gable said it’s important to understand the political, economic and social backgrounds of people from Asia.

“Demographers believe the next wave of immigration after Latin America and Central America will be from Asia so I see these (projects) as efforts to help Catholics in our own area to be more accepting, to be more appreciative that (Asians) are members of the same Catholic family and we need to appreciate them and respect them,” Gable said.

Dominic Hoang, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Fairfield, is supportive of the project because it’s the first time he remembers Asian Catholics of various cultures and ethnicities in the archdiocese having a chance to collaborate.

“It is an exciting prospect,” Hoang said. “… I know the Holy Spirit will move us and many good things will come out of the project; we are open to the movement of the Holy Spirit.”

Thekveli said there is potential for all Catholics in the archdiocese to benefit from this.

“I think the first priority should be to understand the Catholics in your neighborhood, wherever they may be from,” Thekveli said. “This is a mutual responsibility. Together, they should look for opportunities to learn, collaborate and help each other, and people in general, both in local communities and in their respective countries of origin.”

See related stories: In this new millennium, the church’s focus is on Asia and Archdiocesan Mission Office has new focus on Asia

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