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Multicultural Mass packs Sunnybank church, uniting the many people of God under one faith

Fruits and flowers: Children from a Spanish family bringing up the gifts of the fruit and flowers. Photos: Alan Edgecomb

A PATCHWORK of vibrant cultures packed Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sunnybank, for the sixth annual Multicultural Mass last Sunday.

Parish administrator Fr Stephen Camiolo said the Mass was an “awesome” experience.

He said there were about 750 to 800 people for Mass with a number of parishioners wearing their national dress.

Fr Camiolo celebrated the Mass with parish priest Fr Dan Ryan concelebrating.

“It was huge,” Fr Camiolo said.

“Probably about 600 or 700 for lunch that was kindly donated by all the parishioners in parish, and we all shared it.”

At the lunch, held at the Paloma Centre, Fr Camiolo said there were international dishes prepared by parishioners.

Multicultural Mass planning group chair Ross Frassetto said the lunch was a great success.

Parish pride: “I think it’s very important because being such a multicultural parish, it allows people to bring themselves out in their national dress and be a part of one family.” 

“We were actually beyond lucky with the weather we had last week, it was absolutely beautiful,” he said.

Fr Camiolo said the after-Mass celebrations were full of great entertainment by parishioners from all different ethnic backgrounds and cultures.

Kiribati, Tongan, Micronesia and Indian dancers provided a spectacle, which enthralled the audience by displays of their traditional dancing and singing.

But it wasn’t just the after-Mass celebration that showed off the variety of cultures on display.

“We do what we do for the praise of God and the diversity of our culture,” Mr Frassetto said.

“The interesting thing was this is our sixth (Multicultural Mass), and we’re learning year by year how to make it tidier, cleaner and more enjoyable as an event. 

“We can’t really change the liturgy, because simply a Mass is a Mass but you can enhance that by having as many people participating in portions of the Mass.”

Fr Camiolo said the Mass was a beautiful liturgy. 

A Kiribati choir sang the Communion Hymn in Kirabas with an a-cappella sound.

Diverse dancing: Praanah dance group from the Indian community in their national dress.

A family of four Spanish children in tradition dress presented the gifts of fruit and flowers.

The Gospel was carried forth by men from the Tongan community and the closing song of the Mass was the Australian National Anthem.

The Lord’s Prayer was also said in the many languages of the parish.

Fr Camiolo said the prayers of the faithful were another chance to showcase the multicultural identity of the parish. 

The prayers were said in different languages, including Hindi, Vietnamese, Italian, Spanish, Sri Lankan, Kiribas, Tongan and Sinhalese with the English translation on the screen.

“That’s one of the special things that we do,” he said.

“I think it’s very important because being such a multicultural parish, it allows people to bring themselves out in their national dress and be a part of one family.

“So I just think it’s wonderful for them that they can hear their language in the church, which, you know, it’s rare and it’s only a small part with the prayer of the faithful, but at least it’s there. 

“That’s what I feel anyway.”

And from the many cultures, came one Catholic faith.

“The beauty is we all worship as one family,” Fr Camiolo said. 

“We all have our ancestries, and histories, but everyone just combines together – it’s amazing.”

Mr Frassetto said it was a magnificent event.

“I truly thank the parish and the multicultural community and especially the planning group for their participation in planning this year’s event and look forward to seeing you next year,” he said.

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