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Brisbane Catholics taking their place in the ‘broad vision of the Kingdom’ at Multicultural Mass

Global village of faith: Members of the HFS Velebit Croatian Dance Group, from the Gold Coast, wear national dress at the annual Multicultural Mass at St Stephen’s Cathedral on August 25. Photo: Alan Edgecomb

BRISBANE’S Multicultural Mass saw 1200 worshippers from almost 40 countries gathered at St Stephen’s Cathedral and acclaim the “broad vision” of the Church on Sunday, August 25.

Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell celebrated the Mass with 17 concelebrants, including 15 chaplains from Brisbane’s Cultural Catholic Communities.

Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care director Clyde Consentino said it was a liturgy filled with culture, worship and sound blended with diversity.

Mr Consentino said close to 40 countries were represented at the Mass.

Global village of faith

He said it was a “wonderful microcosm” of Brisbane archdiocese’s present and changing demographic, cultural diversity and worship.

He said it was great that people could hear parts of the Mass said in their own languages and sung in their own styles.

One of the many unique rituals at the Multicultural Mass was the Samoan penitential rite.

While singing the Kyrie in Samoan, elder and president of the Samoan Choir, Taito Tafa’i Gale, knelt in front of the sanctuary.

Two people then placed a Samoan Traditional Fine Mat over him for the duration of the song, which symbolised the act of sorrowfulness and seeking forgiveness for individual, village, community, country, and globe.

Penitential rite: Bishop Ken Howel embraces Samoan elder Taito Tafa’i Gale after the penitential rite.

At the end of the song, Bishop Howell removed the fine mat and prayed a blessing.

Mr Consentino said Bishop Howell did a wonderful job.

Bishop thanks communities

In his homily, Bishop Howell thanked the multicultural communities for the richness and diversity they brought to the Church.

“Thank you for bringing before our eyes the vast reality of the People of God across the nations,” Bishop Howell said.

“Thank you for your energy and enthusiasm for the faith which energises us in this land and shows us all how to be faithful and faith-filled.  

“We very much need you and all you bring.”

He said the celebration that day came at a difficult time for the Church.

“In all of this I recognise you as the ones who have made a decision to stay with your Church,” he said.

“You are the ones who are not going to lose hope and who will work for the dawning of a new day.”

Bishop Howell said now was the time to “live the faith like we have never lived it before”. “To recommit ourselves to saying ‘yes’ to Christ… to live in real terms, our belonging to him and his Church,” he said.

Mr Consentino said the archdiocese could be proud and humbled by the richness of its Multicultural Masses.

“It was a perfect day and truly a day where… the archdiocese can be proud of what it has by way of cultural diversity,” he said.

Bright futures: Lebanese youngsters Peter Salame, 3, and Augustina Matta, 6, in their national dress.

And the events didn’t stop when Mass ended.

Mr Consentino said after the Mass the whole cathedral precinct was “filled with colour, song and merriment”.

He said a “massive amount of food” was on offer after the Mass from all the various cultural cuisines.

With the food came entertainment, including cultural dances and music, including a group of young Croatian dancers who came from the Gold Coast.

Mr Consentino said there were also a couple of representatives of the cultural unit of the police force at the event, who he said were “happy to take part”.

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