Catholic Mission & Identity

April 8, 2014
DePaul University

Fr. Simon C. Kim
~ Assistant Professor of Theology, Our Lady of Holy Cross College

Cecile Motus
~ Former Assistant Director, USCCB's Secretariat of Cultural Diversity

As part of the "Catholics in Diaspora" portion of World Catholicism Week, each speaker presented a different perspective on Catholic mission and identity. Fr. Kim's talk is titled "A New Creation: The Catholic Faith in Diaspora," and he offers this summary: The Catholic faith has always been on the move. This movement is the Church’s mission, a composite of emigration & immigration. One result of the mission is Christian diaspora. The more we reflect on diaspora, we find that Christians who immigrate retain elements of the home culture, & yet develop into a new people. These developments are both subtle & drastic at times & show the dynamics of Christian mission & identity as a new creation of believers emerge. This can be seen clearly when looking at the Korean diaspora. Similarities from early Christianity, the Korean Martyrs, & Korean American Catholics can be identified. These initial small, emerging communities develop into a new creation by maintaining significant aspects of the cultural & religious heritage within the new context of the believers’ lives.

Cecile Motus's talk, "Harmony in Faith: Asian & Pacific Catholics in the U.S.," provides a bird's-eye view of the experiences of Asian & Pacific immigrants & refugees, who they are & the impact of migration on their practice of the Catholic faith. Ms. Motus discusses emerging theologies, tensions & opportunities experienced as families integrate in society & the local church. She also shares stories mainly from four larger Asian Catholic communities—Filipinos, Vietnamese, Chinese & Korean.

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