Many debates on immigration center around burgeoning Hispanic and Latino populations, but new studies found other ethnicities are on the rise, including Asian populations.
For the first time since 1910, Asian immigration to the U.S. topped Hispanic immigration. Some 36 percent of all new immigrants were Asian in 2010, compared to about 31 percent who were Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census.
Asian immigration to the U.S. impacts the Church as well.
A recent study by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate found 3.6 million U.S. residents identified as Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander are Catholic, making up about 20 percent of the ethnicity in the country.
Among the nation’s estimated 6,700 multicultural parishes in the U.S., some 29 percent of these parishes celebrate at least one Mass a month in a language other than English or Latin, according to the study.
The Denver Archdiocese is home to some Asian communities.
St. Lawrence Korean Church in Aurora, Queen of Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Wheat Ridge and All Saints Church in Denver all hold Masses in the parishioners’ native language.
All Saints holds a weekly Mass for its Hmong community. St. Lawrence celebrates its Masses in Korean except for one Sunday Mass, and Queen of Vietnamese Martyrs worships in Vietnamese exclusively.
For years, these parishes saw growth in their Asian populations. More recently, the number of parishioners has steadied but two parishes are overseeing construction projects.
St. Lawrence Korean Church is funding a $1.3 million project to expand its space and beatify its interior.
“They were crowded and now they will have more room for their community,” said Walt Wostenberg, construction manager for the archdiocese.
The A.D. Miller construction company is improving the church by adding office space, a nursery, expanded narthex and a bell tower with design elements reminiscent of the hats worn by Asian clergy in the 1800s.
The construction office is also overseeing a project at Queen of Vietnamese Martyrs Church to add a new rectory.