May 24, 2024 | National & World News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, then prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, speaks during a mission sending ceremony at the Maryknoll Society Center in Maryknoll, N.Y., June 3, 2022. Cardinal Tagle is attending the National Encounter for Asian and Pacific Islander Catholics in Indianapolis July 15-17 as a special guest. OSV NEWS PHOTO/GREGORY A. SHEMITZ

Cardinal Tagle to join US gathering of Asian, Pacific Islander Catholics in July


(OSV News) — A Manila-born cardinal will be the special guest at a gathering of Asian and Pacific Islander Catholics in July, ahead of his participation in the National Eucharistic Congress.

Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu announced May 20 that Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, pro-prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Evangelization’s Section for First Evangelization and New Particular Churches, will attend the Asian and Pacific Island Catholics National Encounter taking place July 15-17 in Indianapolis.

“With great anticipation, we look forward to His Eminence’s affirming presence and accompaniment in the faith on behalf of our Holy Father, Pope Francis,” said Bishop Silva, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs.

On May 18, Pope Francis announced he would send Cardinal Tagle as his special envoy to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress July 17-21 in Indianapolis, with the cardinal to celebrate the congress’ closing Mass.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and head of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, said Cardinal Tagle’s presence was “a gift to the Eucharistic Congress.”

The national congress and the national encounter, though separate events, both involve the participation of U.S. bishops.

The encounter, which will gather pastoral leaders, young adults, religious and clergy from around the country for a celebration of faith and culture, will focus on the theme “Radiant Faith: The Witness of Asian and Pacific Islander Catholics.”

The event also provides an opportunity to assess the implementation to date of the USCCB’s 2018 pastoral statement, “Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters.”

The statement explores how the Catholic Church can “make Asian and Pacific Island Catholics feel at home, both in the church and in the United States, while being able to preserve the richness of the spiritual and cultural backgrounds that they bring as contributing members of the Body of Christ.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are an estimated 24.7 million Asian and 1.8 million Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander residents in the U.S.

Pew Research Center data found that Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese Americans account for 81% of all Asian American adults.

Pew data also shows that 34% of Asian Americans in the U.S. are Christian, with 17% of those adults identifying as Catholic and 16% as Protestant.

Even among a rising number of religiously unaffiliated Asian Americans — now at 32% — a majority still say they are close to at least one faith for nonreligious reasons, such as family background or culture, Pew said.

The USCCB pastoral statement notes the “long history of Asian and Pacific Island peoples whose strong belief in the Bible and in the traditions of the Catholic faith continues to sustain their identity and contribute to the wider Catholic Church.”

At the same time, “even today, Asian and Pacific Island Catholics have a need to negotiate their place in the Church and society of the United States,” the statement found. “These negotiations reveal the complexity of who Asian and Pacific Island Catholics are, especially when their views on identity, the various generations, and leadership are significantly challenged.”

Asian and Pacific Island Catholics National Encounter “will be a wonderful way to prepare ourselves for participation in the National Eucharistic Congress that follows, so that the great sacrament of unity may be even more effective in uniting us together as members of the Body of Christ,” said Bishop Silva. “Our mission of evangelization can only be enhanced when we become deeply aware of those who are different from ourselves and enter into a dialogue with them based upon love, so that our witness to the risen Jesus Christ can be more effective.”

Gina Christian is a multimedia reporter for OSV News.

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