E-Newsletter of the 

Fall 2015
Dear co-workers and friends,

I am pleased to welcome you to the fall issue of our e-newsletter.
In a few days Pope Francis will be making his historic visit to the United States. Excitement is welling up even more so in the cities the Holy Father is visiting. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says, 
"The presence of Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in our country will be a joyful moment for millions of Catholics and people of good will." Archbishop Kurtz expressed that the Holy Father's visit "will inspire families in their mission of love."

For the schedule of the Holy Father's visit to the 3 US cities, click here

There is much enthusiasm among Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) and their families who will be present at the events during Pope Francis' US visit. In conjunction with the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, the API will be gathering in various locations in Philadelphia for Mass, talks and fellowship. Below you will find a schedule.

The fall e-newsletter highlights events happening within the API communities, including an audience with the Holy Father in Rome by the members of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement-USA this August.

Last July, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the annual conference of the Hmong American National Catholic Association (HANCA) held at St. Anthony's Retreat Center and Santa Teresita Youth Center in Three Rivers, CA. Congratulations to Doua Lor, president of HANCA and his team for organizing a fruitful conference. There were over 300 participants including Hmong families, youth and young adults representing ten US dioceses. HANCA is very grateful to Bishop Armando Ochoa, Diocese of Fresno for his presence and support.       

May Asian and Pacific Islander families be inspired by Pope Francis' visit and witness to their mission of love in word and deed. 

For more information about Asian and Pacific Islanders, I encourage you to check our webpage

I look forward to your input for the winter issue of our e-newsletter. Please contact us at [email protected].
Sr. Myrna Tordillo, MSCS
Assistant Director
USCCB/Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church 
Community Updates

Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement-USA met Pope Francis at the Vatican
The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement in the U.S. joined the w orldwide 
Eucharistic Youth Movement in Centennial Celebration with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

On August 7th, 2015, over 1500 Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM) members across 35 countries around the world met at the Vatican for a private audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis.  Led by Rev. Francis Xavier, SVD, the U.S. delegation to the EYM Centennial Celebration consisted of over 150 Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (VEYM-USA) members across the country.  

With the theme, "So that My Joy May Be in You" - John 15:11, the VEYM-USA joined the worldwide EYM in dancing and praising Jesus.  During the private audience with the Pontiff, Pope Francis urged young people to "be courageous, and go forward" because "God is present" among us.

He also responded to questions from youth members on tensions and conflicts within families and society, discernment between true and false peace, hope in the world, and on relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist.  Following the meeting and the apostolic blessing, Rev. Francis Xavier and other representatives from the VEYM-USA delegation greeted and presented the Holy Father with gifts.

This historic meeting marked the 100th anniversary celebration for the establishment of the EYM, a branch of the Apostleship of Prayer (AP).  The AP has been entrusted by the Holy Father to the Society of Jesus and around the world to help foster Christian spirit.  Its members pray for the Pope's monthly intentions and are led to follow a Eucharistic life through the practice of the daily offering prayer.  

In the United States, the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (VEYM-USA) also known as Thiếu Nhi Thánh Thể (TNTT), is a part of that worldwide AP.  Particularly for the VEYM-USA, their focus is on living the Eucharistic Day.  In essence, the day begins with the morning offering prayer with a deep desire to be in union with Christ. The peak of the day is the Holy Mass and Communion, or spiritual communion. The day ends with a short reflection, penance and thanksgiving.  The work of the daily offering is symbolically captured in the "spiritual bouquet" to offer to Jesus through Mary at the end of each day.  

With over 25,000 VEYM members in the U.S. and hundreds of thousands more around the world (mostly in Vietnam, Canada and Australia) the VEYM-USA is recognized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs as the largest and most active Asian and Pacific Asian youth movement in the U.S.  It is also the most active EYM group worldwide. 

Hmong American National Catholic Association

Historians have depicted the Hmong as a nomadic group of people with indigenous roots that began in China a thousand years ago. From their origination in China, the Hmong migrated into neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The Hmong were known to reside in the mountainous regions of these countries in order to preserve their culture and continue practicing their agrarian techniques in peace. Aside from their agrarian skills, the Hmong were also highly skilled at handcrafts such as embroidery, silverwork, carpentry, and basket weaving.

Hmong Catholics

In 1948, Father Yves Bertrais, a French priest of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate was sent to the country of Laos.  He began his mission by living among the Hmong, learning their ethnic language and teaching them about Christ. Father Bertrais is credited with being the first priest to convert and baptize the Hmong into Catholicism.

Prior to Father Bertrais' arrival, the Hmong language had never been developed into a written language. In 1953, Father Bertrais joined Reverend Linwood Barney and Dr. William Smalley to create the Hmong Romanize Popular Alphabet script.  Upon its development, Father Bertrais began immediately teaching the Hmong people how to read and write in their language.  Before and after the Second Vatican Council, Father Bertrais translated many of the Catholic Church' official prayers.    

Hmong American National Catholic Association (HANCA)

Hmong Catholics who were resettled in the U.S. after the Secret War in Laos found themselves disconnected not only from their ethnic community but also their religious community from their native country. Father Daniel Taillez, OMI, a French priest who had worked alongside Father Bertrais in Laos realized the need to reconnect and reorganize Hmong Catholics in the U.S.  After visiting Hmong Catholic families in the U.S., Father Taillez decided to form a national faith organization for Hmong Catholics that would allow them to continue developing and supporting their Catholic faith; developing liturgical materials; and to bring non-Christian Hmong to the table of the Lord.  In 1983, Father Taillez and Hmong Catholic leaders established the Hmong American National Catholic 
Association (HANCA). 

HANCA is a vehicle for communication, reflection, dialogue, and collaboration with and a link to dioceses, the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church/Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and Hmong Catholic communities throughout the U.S.  Additionally, HANCA furthers the empowerment of Hmong people in both church and society by identifying and developing leadership among Hmong Catholic communities. HANCA promotes all Hmong Catholics through its annual leadership training, convention and national leadership congress. HANCA's Board of Directors are accountable for developing leadership opportunities for Hmong Catholics within their local parishes; overseeing the financial resources of HANCA; and developing religious education materials in the Hmong language for Hmong Catholic communities to ensure consistency and compliance with the Catholic faith.

Contact Information:
Doua Lor, President, Hmong American National Catholic Association
559-287-7284; www.hanca.us

Events connected to World Meeting of Families
  • Thursday, September 24th - 7:00 pm. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines will preside in a concelebrated Mass at Our Lady of Hope parish (5200 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19141). The Filipino community invites you!  For more information, please contact Fr. Efren Esmilla, pastor of Our Lady of Hope ([email protected]; 267-408-0123)
  • Friday to Sunday, September 25-27 - Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church and School in Philadelphia will host a Chinese Catholic gathering. The multiday event will include a talk by Dr. Carolyn Woo, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, on Friday and opportunities for discussion and evening prayer. Registration is required. More information and registration forms are available on their Facebook page.
  • Saturday, September 26th - 10:00 am - at the Aspira Headstart Center (6301 N. Second St, Philadelphia, PA 19120), Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc will preside at a concelebrated Mass with Vietnamese bishops and priests from Vietnam, the US and other countries. The event is sponsored by the Federation of Vietnamese Catholics, chaired by Msgr. Tri Dinh and 3000 bag lunches will be available.  Please contact Hoa Nguyen ([email protected];609-251-6161).
Upcoming Events

September 20, 2015 -The annual Filipino Saints Fiesta Celebration  will be held in Baltimore, MD at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. This celebration is preceded by the Filipino Saints Triduum September 16-18, at 5:30pm Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. The Fiesta Celebration begins at 2:00pm with Mass followed by a procession and Fiesta Salo-Salo (Filipino food).

October 9-11, 2015 -U.S. Catholic China Bureau's National Conference will be in Burlingame, CA at the Mercy Center. Check their website for more information.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 
Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church 
Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs (SCAPA)
3211 Fourth Street, NE, Washington, DC 20017
Telephone: 202-541-3177 I  Email: [email protected] I  Website
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