Traditional drums, played by a Vietnamese youth group, sounded a dramatic welcome. Asian and Pacific Island Catholic communities joined in a celebration of Marian devotion. In Washington, D.C., 600 pilgrims, including a group of Chinese and Korean faithful led by Felician Sister Dong Hong Marie Zhang, liaison to the Chinese Community of the Newark Archdiocese, gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Wearing native dress from the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, Laos, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Korea, Samoa and Guam, the pilgrims carried floral arches, banners, and statues of Mary. The pilgrimage was sponsored by the Asian and Pacific Catholic Network, in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, as well as the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and the Diocese of Arlington, VA.
Sr. Dong Hong composed the intercessions for the mass, which were prayed in seven languages. Her New Jersey Chinese Catholic worship dance group performed a “call to prayer” worship dance at the altar. She says that the Chinese and Korean faithful from New Jersey were inspired by solidarity with other Asian communities at this event.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, in his homily, noted that the presence of Catholic worshippers from Asia and the Pacific Islands “remind the entire church that God’s Spirit is present in every corner of our world.” Click here for more coverage and photos of the event.