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New Inala parish priest says community rich with multicultural gifts

Warm welcome: Archbishop Mark Coleridge (second from left) joined Inala parishioners in welcoming new parish priest Divine Word Missionaries Father Boni Buahendri at St Mark’s.

THE multicultural community of St Mark’s Parish, Inala, turned out in force recently for the installation of new parish priest Divine Word Missionaries Father Boni Buahendri.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge celebrated the installation Mass, in front of a packed congregation of more than 600.

Fr Buahendri, originally from Indonesia, said he felt “very warmly welcomed”.

“It was really wonderful,” he said. 

“The Bible was processed in with Tongan dancing, the Offertory featured Samoan dancing and the Prayers of the Faithful were read out in many languages.

“It really showcased the rich multicultural gifts in our parish community.”

Fr Buahendri said he had not only been welcomed by the people of St Mark’s Parish but also by the local Divine Word Missionaries community – assistant priest at St Mark’s Fr Van Bang Nguyen and chaplain to the Vietnamese community in Brisbane archdiocese Fr Joseph Vu.

“This parish is a bit different to other parishes I’ve been in because it is so multicultural,” Fr Buahendri said.

“There is a big Vietnamese community, as well as Pacific Islander communities, Filipinos and some people from Africa, India, Sri Lanka and of course some people of Anglo-Saxon heritage. There aren’t many Indonesians like me, but that means there will be no favouritism from me!”

Fr Buahendri returns to parish life after 10 years working in formation with young missionaries at Dorish Maru College in Melbourne.

“So this is totally different for me, compared to what I have been doing lately – not better or worse, just different – and I’m already enjoying that feeling of change,” he said.

“In a parish, you are working directly with the people and being a part of their life.

“With this being such a multicultural parish, it is my dream to make St Mark’s a real home for migrants, a home away from home for them.

“All of us at the end of the day are migrants and I’d like to make this parish a community where people feel at home.”

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