By Matthew Lau
The Archdiocese of Perth’s celebration of its cultural diversity will be acknowledged during a special Vigil Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday 26 October.
Previously known as the “Multicultural Mass”, the name was changed last year to “Unity and Diversity Mass” – the annual event is this year dubbed the “Cultural Diversity Mass”.
Deacon Gregory Lowe, Director of West Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office (WACMRO), said the reason for the name change was to focus attention more clearly on “culture”.
“Faith is expressed through culture, which means there are as many ways of expressing faith as there are cultures,” he told The eRecord.
“The liturgy is more than capable of gathering and holding a great variety of human experience and cultural expression in its worship of God, as it were, and it is good to acknowledge this from time to time because the liturgy is such an important part of our Catholic identity.”
The WACMRO Director went on to explain why it is important for the Catholic Church to make a show of solidarity with this type of event.
“It’s important for particular Churches to recognise, respect, reconcile, and realise cultural difference,” Dcn Lowe added.
“The reason is that being open to cultural diversity means you are willing to seek understanding about how culture influences the way human beings interact with one another and can think differently about the same thing such as their faith.
“In a very real sense, appreciating cultural diversity is part of our integral human development because this willingness to encounter and dialogue with difference is a sign of a welcoming generosity which is at the heart of the Gospel.
“Of equal importance is the fact that, importantly, for our times, it also helps us become aware of our innate ethnocentrism, which is often the cause of so much misunderstanding between peoples – even among those who profess the same faith,” he concluded.
At next month’s Cultural Diversity Mass, the Zimbabwe Catholic Community – one of the smallest Catholic cultural communities in Perth – will lead the faithful in the post-Communion hymn.
For more information about the West Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office, visit: www.wacmro.perthcatholic.org.au