Our diverse diocese

Maronites and Filipinos and Burmese, oh my!

Those who think that the Catholics who fill the pews of our churches in central Illinois are only of European descent should consider three news stories in our past two issues.

From June 30 to July 4, the Quad Cities Myanmar Catholic Community hosted 1,000 persons, including three Burmese bishops and 30 priests, for the National Conference of Burmese-American Catholics.

On July 15-16, St. Sharbel Maronite Rite Church in Peoria welcomed  nearly 1,000 visitors from around the United States — most with Lebanese or other Middle East roots — to celebrate the feast day of its patron saint.

And last weekend, the Filipino-American community gathered at St. Joseph Church in Peoria for the 19th anniversary of the enthronement of the image of Santo Niño de Cebu.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Hispanic population in our diocese has reportedly increased by more than 80 percent in recent years. The person you exchange the greeting of peace with at Mass may well have roots in Vietnam, South Korea, or a nation in Africa, just to name a few global spots.

We congratulate those whose hard work led to the three major events of the summer listed above. And we thank God for the many gifts of faith and culture brought to our diocese by Catholics who come to us from around the globe. — Thomas J. Dermody

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