By BETH VILLANUEVA | Published March 11, 2004
Filipino-American Catholics have been living in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for a very long time now. According to rough estimates, there may be 17,000 to 25,000 of this Asian ethnic group who call the state of Georgia their adopted and permanent home.
Out of this number numerous social, cultural and religious organizations have been started as a means to strengthen their ethnicity and to promote their history and impart to their children their many beautiful traditions and spiritual heritage. To a great extent the majority of Filipino-Americans are able to interconnect with their fellow immigrants on a regular basis and loving manner through these various associations. These different groups have provided them opportunities to bond together and have helped them realize their dreams. Because Filipinos are by nature friendly, hard working, family-oriented and can speak English fluently they easily integrate themselves into the mainstream American society while maintaining strong family ties. A great number are in the medical profession and in many professional fields.
With the encouragement and pastoral guidance of Father Chito Palang, at present serving as the parochial vicar at the Church of St. Monica in Duluth, a spiritual group has been recently established called The Filipino-American Catholic Group of Georgia. The main objective is to organize retreats during the seasons of Advent and Lent and during special occasions. For a long time there has been a felt religious need to bring together Filipino-Americans to spend time in prayer, reflections, meditation, Scripture studies and faith-sharing. There is a future plan to celebrate a Mass on a regular monthly basis. The feasibility of celebrating Simbang Gabi (nine days of Masses before Christmas) is being discussed. Advent and Lent retreats have been held in 2003 and 2004.
It is the hope of all in the group that their faith, hope and love will continue to be deepened to the benefit of everyone whom they meet and with whom they work side by side.
For more information about the group, call Beth Villanueva at (404) 788-1667.