THE Lockyer Valley cultivates more than just fine produce; it boasts a canvas of culture, celebrated at a Multicultural Mass on Pentecost Sunday last month at St Mary’s Church, Gatton.
More than 300 parishioners and visitors from the Gatton Laidley Catholic parish united to celebrate and worship the vibrancy of their community.
Gatton Laidley parish priest Fr Noyichan Mamoottil, who is a Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament priest, was overjoyed with the event.
“God has blessed our community in amazing ways,” Fr Mamoottil said.
“I am thankful for this wonderful community, and the different ways they live their faith.”
Nations across the world were represented, with 24 flags proudly displayed by their respective flag-bearers during the procession.
The pastoral formation team’s Derek Pingel echoed Fr Mamoottil’s spirit.
“It was such a joy to see the diverse ethnicity of our community, especially expressed in ways we don’t usually see at Mass,” Mr Pingel said.
“The energy of the African drumming group and the colour of the Filipino dancers, really created a sense of who we are as a community.”
Making the celebratory Mass even more memorable was the multi-lingual Prayers of the Faithful, spoken in the languages of 14 different nations.
Fiona Ho, who was received into the Church at Easter, represented her native Macau, and shared her prayer for all international students in the parish who were in the middle of exams.
Many of the prayers petitioned God to bring peace and justice to homelands and unity throughout the world.
Countries represented included Solomon Islands, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Holland, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, El Salvador, Fiji and Australia.
Fr Mamoottil typified this part of the celebration as he fluently prayed in Malayalam, his native Indian language.
Parishioner Fabiola Maria Siqueira, who was originally from Brazil, felt connected to the occasion, especially the Prayers of the Faithful.
“To write an intercessory prayer and share it in my own language really connected my country and this community,” she said.
The parish boasts a Filipino community choir, and its rendition of Isang Pagkain, Isang Katawan, Isang Bayan (One Food, One Body, One Town) resonated with the whole church.
Mass ended but the multicultural celebration continued.
The parish journeyed through the flavours of many cultural cuisines, customary music and dance from the South Sudanese and Filipino communities, along with a vibrant display of many a nation’s traditional costume and attire – a fitting way to wrap up a morning that was undoubtedly multifarious in every sense of the word.