Greetings of Christ's peace and love.
I wish to share with you the good news regarding the publication and distribution of the document Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters which was approved by the body of bishops during the 2018 USCCB Spring Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
It is the first official document issued by the body of US bishops since 2001 that recognizes the growing Asian and Pacific Island population in the United States and clearly indicates an intentional pastoral outreach to advance the Church's mission of evangelization to these particular cultural communities. It is a response to Pope Francis' call to go to the peripheries to proclaim the Gospel but also to bring the peripheries for closer integration and fuller communion with the Church, the Body of Christ.
Our Asian and Pacific Island brothers and sisters are ready for their fuller and active engagement in the Church. However, as they share their rich cultural gifts of strong faith, cultural values and colorful traditions, their diversity also poses a challenge to the Church. The Pastoral Response, the result of a laborious and expansive in-depth study of Asian and Pacific Island Catholics in our country today, offers guidance, resources and a framework for dioceses and parishes to assists diocesan and parish leaders as well as the faithful so they can integrate the suggested approaches in their own pastoral plans or actions specific to the circumstances and needs of their local Asian and Pacific Island communities.
Encountering Christ in Harmony is very significant to the present mission of our Church as it presents a strong message of the collegial voice and intentional effort of the U.S. Catholic Bishops to provide the important pastoral outreach to the Asian and Pacific Island communities and to help them develop able leaders and partners in evangelization as missionary disciples of Christ.
We are extremely grateful to the collaborative work of all the bishop members of our subcommittee, the cooperation from the consultants and Secretariat of Cultural Diversity staff, as well as the tremendous support from the standing Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Asian and Pacific Catholic leaders and many others who in various ways contributed in completing this document.
I seek your continued support for the concrete implementation of the Pastoral Response in all the dioceses and parishes throughout the nation. Let us join in prayers and in our efforts so that it will be an effective tool to build bridges in our communities and to promote unity in the midst of diversity. May this endeavor through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary merit God's blessings and bring it to fruition.
Bishop Oscar A. Solis, D.D.
Bishop of Salt Lake City
Chairman, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs