”We are all one people,” he said at Cathedral Catholic High School in Carmel Valley. “That’s particularly important for us to witness loudly in these days because there are so many in our land who are challenging that idea.”
McElroy said Catholics as people of faith, God and “all these beautiful cultures” must say at work, as citizens and in churches: “We are all one family here in our nation.”
“That is the heritage of who we are as Americans and that we are proud of that and we will stand by that and defend it,” he told a gym audience.
Dressed in colorful wear from their cultures, area Catholics in an opening procession represented communities, including African, African American, Chamorro (Guamanian), Chinese, Filipino, Eritrean, Indian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian Korean, Lao, Native American, Samoan, Cuban, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Peruvian, Tongan, Vietnamese, Burundian, Chaldean, German, Polish and Portuguese.
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The Rev. Michael Pham, director of the Mass’ organizing committees, said, “We are a family of people here on earth. We can work together. This gives us hope. This gives us life.”
Vietnamese children performed using candles, fans and scarves during the Mass.
At the Prayer of the Faithful, petitions to God were spoken in 15 languages, referring to immigrants, victims of human trafficking, farmers and world leaders.
McElroy thanked his auxiliary bishop John Dolan, who Saturday celebrated the second anniversary of his becoming a bishop. Dolan also turned 57.
The second annual multicultural Mass was tied to the celebration of Pentecost.
In Samoan, a parishioner prayed for “immigrants, refugees and those fleeing persecution, that we may be welcoming in word and deed through the counsel of the Holy Spirit.”
In his homily, McElroy said, “God speaks differently in different cultures. Not with a different message, but often with a different voice and a different emphasis and a different loving call.
And we are called first of all … to recognize that in our cultures God has spoken to us and given us a heritage.
“And we are called to preserve that heritage because it is part of us. And it is part of how faith comes to us. And is sustained in our lives.”
After Mass, McElroy told Times of San Diego that the Feast of Pentecost is a “sign of unity of all cultures, and in our Catholic faith our understanding is God speaks to us through our cultures.”
“There is a lot of vibrancy, a lot of joy in the culture,” the bishop said. “We are just such a diverse place in these two counties and so many people from different cultures are here in significant numbers in different communities and so it’s particularly important in a diocese like ours to amplify the message of the unity particularly at a time when that message is under attack.”
The largest ethic communities in the diocese are Hispanics, Filipinos and Vietnamese and their immigration numbers are stable these days, McElroy said.
However, significant growth has seen in the Catholic Korean community, he said.
Despite turbulence last year in the Roman Catholic Church in the wake of additional revelations of priest abuse in Pennsylvania, Bishop McElroy sees a persistent level of faith and participation in local parishes.
“The parishes are strong. The faith is strong,” he said, asserting that parishioner participation hasn’t diminished.
But the bishop said he doesn’t want to underestimate the toll the revelations have had on Catholics, the “woundedness that flows and sense of betrayal.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will meet in Baltimore this week to continue discussing actions in regard to the abuse.
McElroy has advocated greater vigilance and increased lay participation.
Bishop McElroy Urges 2,100 to Share ‘Powerful Prism’ of Cultures, Catholic Unity was last modified: June 9th, 2019 by Chris Stone
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