Indonesian Catholics in USA: Where Are They? What Are They Doing?
When we talk about a community, the first questions that come up is where are they, how big is the community, what are their activities?
This is about Indonesians and about Catholics. The Indonesian ethnic group in USA is small. We don’t have the exact statistics. Indonesia is not specifically mentioned in the census results, but should be under the “Asian” group. Here is what we will find in the 2010 census report:
“Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. It includes people who indicated their race(s) as “Asian” or reported entries such as “Asian Indian,” “Chinese,” “Filipino,” “Korean,” “Japanese,” “Vietnamese,” and “Other Asian” or provided other detailed Asian responses.
Different competent sources estimate not more than 100.000 Indonesians live here in USA.
And how many Indonesian Catholics are here in USA out of the 100,000 Indonesians? There are about 20 local groups. Most of them called KKI, short for Komunitas Katolik Indonesia followed by the name of the state where they reside. If we estimate an average of 1,000 per local community, the number will be 20,000.
We have KKI Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Colorado, DC (Washington DC Metropolitan Area), Houston, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Orange County, Oregon, Philadelphia and San Diego.
Some of the local Indonesian communities do not use KKI, but the English ICC abbreviation (Indonesian Catholic Community) such as ICC Austin, ICCDFW = Dallas – Fort Worth, and ICC Madison Wisconsin. Some others use totally different naming system, like Warga Katolik Indonesia California Utara (WKICU) The Chicago group name is Paguyuban (= gathering) Warga Katolik Indonesia, in New York they use the name Kerasulan Katolik Indonesia.
Most of the groups are under their respective Diocese such as Warga Katolik Indonesia California Utara (Indonesian Catholic Community of Northern California) is one of the 14 ethnic groups in the Diocese of Oakland’s Department of Ethnic Pastoral Centers.
Every year the Diocese of Oakland holds a big one day gathering of the 14 ethnic groups. This is a multicultural festival called Chautauqua, celebrating the ethnic diversity of this Diocese.
The Indonesian Catholics universe in USA is called Komunitas Katolik Indonesia Amerika (KKIA) but it seems that there is no physical KKIA umbrella organization. One regular event organized by KKIA is KKI Jamboree, once every two years. A 6th KKI Jamboree just ended July 4th held in Ohio.
The various dioceses’ big events and bi-annual KKIA jamboree are some of the special and big events next to the routine rituals and ministry activities. Other activities are social and charity activities.