This Feb 24, 2018 BCBP Ohio, an outreach of BCBP Chicago Mission, would have for its Breakfast Fellowship a life testimonial and sharing by Fr. Ramon Owera of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception congregation.
Time: 9 am
Place: St Elizabeth Church
6077 Sharon Woods Blvd
Registration: 8:45 am
This is big deal for the following reasons:
Columbus is a large city and home to Catholic minorities, Pilipinos among them, who are either scattered and straining to be part of mainstream (i.e. Caucasian) Catholicism, with much effort but with little self boosting image to go forward on, or be part of a smallish, scattered mini-stream Catholicism.
And it is just possible that Fr Owera’s leadership could be the impetus for a true “Pilipino Parish” on a scale similar to other minorities’ parishes in the city, who somehow, down the years have managed to found their “own” parishes and not succumb to absorption by the great majority.
Many, I know, feel that being absorbed by the majority is better than being the “small pond” among the larger lake, but I disagree.
Precisely because we are in a “foreign” land ( we are not talking about citizenship here, which we all need) but about finding our cultural identity, where else, but in our faith and a parish of our own?
Historically, for instance, Columbus had been “home” to many prayer groups, rosary groups, etc that had remained insulated unto themselves, down through the decades, and the result is stunted growth at best, and isolationism at worst.
There are 2 things that Fr Owera had accomplished by just “being” in the Columbus Catholic scenery which I believe could “providentially” become the cornerstones of a Pilipino Catholic Parish:
1. The “Simbang Gabi” which brought Pilipinos on a scale I had never seen before.
2. The novena to “The Immaculate Concepcion of Mary,” on the days leading to the Dec 8 2018 solemnity celebration, the novena practice of which, much more than the intellectual assent, by the faithful, advances the heartfelt devotion and acceptance of Mary in the scheme of salvation ordained by God.
That there is a need to rethink our faith in indigenous categories is understandably lost to society’s majority, we realize, but must or should never be to the minority who can be rendered spiritually poorer for it.
Vatican II’s document “Ad Gentes,” promotes a positive outlook on culture thus:
By sincere and patient
dialogue…the disciples of Christ can learn about ” the treasures a bountiful God has distributed among the nations of the earth.”
It is precisely in a Pilipino Parish that we “can discern The Fruits of the Holy Spirit in consciences and making an inventory of the spiritual values to be found in a people’s religious culture.”
Because ” each branch of the human family possesses in itself and it’s worthier traditions some part of the spiritual treasure entrusted by God to humanity, even though many do not know the source of that treasure (G.S. 86)
“The main goal of the pastoral efforts in the Church today is to build communities which make it possible for a person to live a Christian life.” (Clark, 1972)
BCBP believes in these.