The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest and the most diverse culturally in the United States. Our Ethnic Ministry indicates the continued commitment of our Church to welcome the strangers among us by providing pastoral care and social outreach to the growing number of migrants from varied Ethnic backgrounds. We welcome, respect, affirm and celebrate cultural diversity in Word and Sacrament. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we hope to bring about a new Pentecost so that people of various races, cultures and languages can live in unity and solidarity as one Church, the Body of Christ.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, one of the largest dioceses in the United States, is home to an estimated 5 million Catholics of varied racial and ethnic backgrounds. According to the 2000 U.S. National Census, approximately half of the present population is Hispanics, the majority of whom are of Mexican descent. The second largest group is of white, Western European heritage, followed by Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, African-American, Japanese, Polish, French, Tongans, Indonesians, Native Americans, and many other small ethnic communities that add to the diversity and vibrancy of the Archdiocese. The many faces that come to the Altar of the Lord and the many languages used to celebrate the Eucharist at any given Sunday (approximately 40) are testimonies to the commitment of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to welcome all people, regardless of color, race, ethnicity, social class, educational background and political leanings.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has a long history of pastoral care to newcomers, refugees, migrants, and immigrants, through the Archdiocesan Office of Ministry to Ethnic Groups. Over the years, this office has undergone some structural and organizational changes to better serve the growing number of ethnic groups in the Archdiocese. In its ministry, the present Office of Ethnic Ministry is committed to the new evangelization rooted on the foundation laid down by Pope Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation, On Evangelization in the Modern World: “What matters is to evangelize man’s culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots)… always taking the person as one’s starting-point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God.” (EN 20).
The new evangelization calls us to look at the relationship between faith and culture, in which faith gives meaning to culture and culture providing the context in which the Good News is proclaimed. It invites us to discover each people’s story with God as told in symbols, arts, rituals, rites, cultures, traditions, faith beliefs, and expressions of faith. Such discovery brings us to Christ, the center of our Christian life, which brings unity to all our diversity as He brings us all to Him. In Christ, all communities are able to share with one another their experiences of pain and joy, their hopes and dreams, their resources and programs. In this life-enriching exchange, the Office of Ethnic Ministry guides the different ethnic groups to be inclusive communities and grow into a “communion of communities.”
In this new age of mission, the Office of Ethnic Ministry hopes to bring to the Local Church of Los Angeles a new Pentecost experience in which people of various races, cultures, languages, color of skin and different status in life, with hearts burning with the fire of the Spirit, treat one another with equal dignity and respect that is befitting all children of God, thereby building one community, one Church, one Body of Christ.