Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tonight at Our Lady of Peace, there was a special celebration for the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. I was struck when one of the priests cheered, "Viva Mexico," and, "Viva la Raza." The former is an understandable way to acknowledge the contributions of the Mexican parishioners to the celebration, but the latter? Isn't that a bit much?

I have noticed at this and another celebration that there were few Filipinos in attendance, even though Filipinos comprise the majority of Mass go-ers? Of course, the other celebration was for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But still... (What is attendance like at the Simbang Gabi?) There were some Anglos and members of other ethnicities, but the number of Filipinos was disproportionately small, in comparison to the number of Filipino families who are members of the parish. There's been at least one complaints that the Filipinos feel excluded, or that there is a preference being shown towards the Mexicans?

If the IVE apostolate is to Mexicans, then perhaps they should have been given a different parish? But the Bishop had his reasons for turning the shrine over to the Institute. (It is said that he (or the chancery) and the former pastor, Msgr. Sweeney, had difficulties. May Fr. Sweeney rest in peace.) But if it isn't, shouldn't they be willing to be like St. Paul, and be "Filipino to the Filipinos" and so on? There is one IVE priest serving as the pastor of the San Jose Chinese Community--I believe he previously worked in Taiwan as a missionary. I hope it isn't the case that the parish community is in danger of fragmenting, and that I'm reading too much into appearances, but it is worrisome.

Have some of the conservative and traditionalist Anglos and homeschooling families left the parish as well?

Perhaps the local Church probably shouldn't be an agent or instrument of assimilation or integration, except per accidens? It has to meet people where they are, and to tell them that they should integrate into a new society may turn them away from the Church, if they perceive that the society is hostile. But, there are duties to one's neighbor and to one's community, and it could be also argued that this includes accepting that culture and absorbing it, so long as it does not go against Church teaching on morals.

Watching the members of the other ethnicities there, I could not help but think that if more Mexicans do move into California, how can members of other ethnicities resist against being assimilated into their culture, if they do not have a vibrant, living, substantial one of their own, or a real community that is a bearer and transmitter of that culture? How many would choose to move away instead of "becoming Mexican"? One's eagerness to adopt a different cultural identity is dependent upon whether one will be more accepted as a result--while I like much of Mexican culture, and would be willing to learn Spanish, I would be reluctant to make the change if I would still be regarded as an outsider, nonetheless. And so, has the Anglo-American majority in various locales dropped the ball when it comes to promoting its culture and yet being welcoming to those who do assimilate?

I also thought about the Anglo-Americans who do wish to preserve their culture, but find it mostly excluded from the schools, and instead of it being acknowledged by the elites, it is replaced by some sort of liberal ideology. What a raw deal.

(Sure, they're not being raised in a different culture--multiculturalism gives a shallow treatment of other cultures, primarily through 'book learning' and 'giving exposure,' and all within a liberal framework. Still, to have the contributions of one's people neglected, or even denigrated, can have an impact on self-image and cultural confidence.)


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