By Amanda Murthy
In honour of recognising the multicultural Church of Australia, as many as 200 devotees from all walks of life and backgrounds will congregate at St Mary’s Cathedral on 28 October to celebrate the fourth annual Unity and Diversity Mass.
Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton will be assisted by Deacon Paul Reid when he celebrates the 2.30pm Mass.
This effort is steered by the Archdiocese of Perth’s Western Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (WACMRO).
The agency is expecting to embrace representatives from Caritas, Red Cross, Coalition for Asylum Seekers Refugees and Detainees, Catholic Mission, Catholic Youth Ministry, Centrecare, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, as well as the respective South Sudanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Filipino, Korean, Malaysian, Singaporean, and Vietnamese Catholic communities.
WACMRO Director Deacon Gregory Lowe told The eRecord it is important for the Church to extend its arms and plan gestures like this towards minority groups because it communicates a fundamental stance of welcome and inclusion.
“The need to belong is essential to well-being and, as a Church, we create communities where that sense of belonging can be met so the person can experience further integral human development and flourish as a human person.”
Dcn Lowe said attendees can expect some special inclusions to the Mass, such as the recital of the Universal Prayer in different languages and a display of a map to recognise the many countries people come from.
“Our intention at this Mass will be to pray for all nations, and that we, Australians, will continue to offer a place to call home, especially to vulnerable persons seeking refuge from overseas.”
Dcn Lowe said the “diversity and unity” theme of the Mass holds an added meaning for Catholics, who also see the diversity of three different persons in the Godhead being expressed as a unity – one God.
“The grace that flows from the Eucharist invites and enables participation in this apparent contradiction. Recognising difference at the same time as understanding that we are all in this together, as one, leads communities to live peacefully,” he added.
When the Church celebrates diversity and unity, Dcn Lowe explained it is saying that we recognise, respect, reconcile with, and do our best to realise each one of our differences.
“This means the migrant person is ‘supported’ as they integrate the community rather than being forced to assimilate. The result is more harmony leading to greater social cohesion or unity,” Dcn Lowe concluded.