The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is blessed and enriched with the presence of many Asian cultural groups within our local churches and communities. They are Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Korean, Lao, Indian, Indonesian, Sri Lankan and Vietnamese Catholics. Chin, Kachin, Karen, and Karenni families from Myanmar (the country formerly known as Burma) are among the newest arrivals to our diocesan family.
Asian and Pacific Islander Ministry Council - Mission Statement
Guided by the diocesan mission, To Proclaim Christ and Make Disciples through the Sacramental Life of the Church,
We, the members of the Asian and Pacific Islander Ministry Council, representing many Asian Catholic communities, are the bridge between the Asian Catholic communities and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. As disciples of Christ, we continue his mission by:
- Giving voice to Asian Catholic needs
- Serving as a resource to the Office of Intercultural Ministries, promoting respect and awareness of cultural heritage and diversity, and encouraging unity and greater participation within the larger church community
- Deepening faith through evangelization, religious celebrations, formational opportunities and retreats
- Fostering all forms of vocation (Lay, Religious, Priesthood) within our Catholic communities.
Cultural Groups Currently Represented in the Asian and Pacifc Islander Ministry Advisory Council
- Chinese Catholic Community
- Filipino Catholic Ministry
- Hmong Catholic Community: - Holy Family, Fond du Lac; St. Michael, Milwaukee; St. Peter Claver, Sheboygan
- Indian Catholic Ministry
- Indonesian Catholic Community
- Chin, Kachin, Karen and Karenni - St. Michael, Milwaukee
- Korean Catholic Community - St. Magdalen, Milwaukee
- Lao Ministry - St. Michael, Milwaukee
- South Asian Christian Community of Wisconsin
- Vietnamese Catholic Ministry - St. Martin of Tours, Franklin
The Office for Asian Ministry was established by Archbishop Weakland in 1990. The first director was Ms. Rosine Liu Schmitt. Ms. Schmitt is a member of the Vietnamese Catholic Community. Ms. Schmitt worked diligently to gather and organize the various Asian Catholic groups within the Archdiocese. She formed the Asian Ministry Board in 1991. The Board was composed of leaders from each of the Asian Catholic communities within the Archdiocese. It met 4-6 times a year. Its purpose was to advocate for the needs of Asian Catholics within the Archdiocese. The same year the Archdiocese began to celebrate “Asian Unity Day,” an annual gathering which continues to this day and has become a cherished tradition. Asian Unity Day includes a Eucharistic celebration, a festive meal and a cultural program. Some of the past gatherings also included workshops on different topics related to faith and the Asian cultures.
In February 1999, the structure of the Office for Asian Ministry was changed. Archbishop Weakland named Fr. Paul Fliss, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, as Director of Asian Ministry on a part-time basis. At the time Fr. Fliss was studying the Hmong language in Thailand. Some time later, Fr. Fliss received a modification in his appointment. Deacon Blong Yang and Fr. Fliss were appointed co-directors. Deacon Yang continued in this position until in April 2000. Fr. Fliss remained in the position of Director for Asian Ministry, a position he held for nearly a decade.
In May of 2008 the central offices of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee underwent severe restructuring. Several departments and offices were closed, among them, the Office for Asian Ministry. In place of having an Office for Multicultural Services with directors for the various ethnic/cultural ministries, the position for Director of Intercultural Ministries was created to work with existing committees and commissions serving the Asian, Black Catholic, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Hispanic, and Native American Catholic Communities. The Office for Intercultural Ministries is part of the Department for Parish Mission at the archdiocesan offices.
In keeping with terminology used by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Asian Ministry Advisory Council has updated its name and is now known as the Asian and Pacific Islander Ministry Council. This vital leadership entity continues to work with the Director for Intercultural Ministries in order to fulfill its mission as the voice of the Asian faithful in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Asian and Pacific Unity Day, an annual gathering which takes place in October each year. Click here for photos from Asian and Pacific Unity Day (2011, 2009).
The 2017 Asian Pacific Unity Day is scheduled for Sunday, October 8, 2017, at the Cousins Center. More information to follow later.
Recommended Resources related to Asian Pacific Islander Catholics
Asian Pacific Islander Catholics in the United States: A Preliminary Report provides demographic information on Asian and Pacific Islander Catholics. The report is part of a larger National Pastoral Plan project.
Bishops’ Statement – Asian and Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith (also available in Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese)
Rejoicing in the Asian and Pacific Presence (Brochure summary of the full Bishops’ Statement) – available in Tagalog/Filipino, Samoan, Japanese, Malayalam/Indian, Indonesian.