Why it Matters to Support Rizal Center Series
By Gabriel J. Catanus
A few weeks ago, Tito Jerry toured me around the Rizal Center. I had not stepped foot inside for many years, but several warm memories quickly resurfaced as we walked from room to room. I remembered the parties, performances, and meetings I attended as a young person. We reflected on Ambassador Rahm Emanuel’s visit to the center, long before he was Chicago’s mayor. Back then, the Rizal Center gave me a sense that we could take up space in our city.
As a leader who now serves Filipino Americans across the country, I believe strongly in the potential of community organizations to contribute to the common good. And as a scholar, I’m also aware of the challenges which tend to plague community centers like ours. In almost every major metro area, Filipino American organizations are beset with divisions and conflict. More than anyone else, the needy and the next generation end up suffering.
“…but for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, a fresh wind is blowing…”
In many ways, the Rizal Center has become a parable of our community’s strengths and wounds. But with Pentecost upon us, we are reminded of the Spirit’s restorative activity. The forces of empire and coloniality will always threaten and entice, but for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, a fresh wind is blowing— empowering us to gather, care for each other, and do together what we cannot do alone. Let us be inspired and inspire others once again!
Gabriel J. Catanus is the Director of the Filipino American Ministry Initiative (FAMI) at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he teaches theology and ethics. He is also the pastor of Garden City Covenant Church, a congregation serving immigrant families and young professionals. He received his PhD from Loyola University in Chicago where he lives with his wife and two children.