Cultural Diversity increases understanding and faith of neighbour, says Migrants and Refugees Office Director

27 Oct 2021

By Amanda Murthy

The presence of migrants and refugees, who collectively represent multi-cultural Australia were celebrated at the recent Cultural Diversity Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on 24 October. Photo: Michelle Tan.

Donned in their Sunday best, the Catholic community in Perth, gathered at St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday, 24 October, for the annual Archdiocesan Cultural Diversity Mass, honouring the presence of migrants and refugees, who collectively represent multi-cultural Australia.

Organised by the West Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (WACMRO), the morning Mass was celebrated by St Mary’s Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Sean Fernandez and concelebrated by WACMRO Director Deacon Greg Lowe.

The Indonesian choir delivered several hymns in Bahasa, and the multi-lingual presentation of the prayers of the faithful, in the Laos, Shona, Tagalog, Burmese, Tamil, Chin and Indonesian dialects – displayed the diversity of cultures, bound by the commonality of Catholic tradition and faith.

In his homily, Dcn Lowe reflected on the faith possessed by Bartimeaus, who in the Gospel reading of the day, acknowledged Jesus as a ‘Messiah’ and pleaded to Jesus to heal him.

Dcn Lowe then invite the congregation to reflect on the love of God, and to take a moment to surrender to God, any prayers they or their loved ones may have, placing their trust in Him.

“Use your preferred language or any language that allows you to deeply express what is troubling you or a loved one. Like Bartimeaus, throw off your cloak of timidity now as we pause in silence as a community in prayer,” Dcn Lowe expressed.

“Faith is knowing that God will keep on saving us and do everything necessary to look after us and sometimes that requires an extraordinary intervention as Bartimeaus can testify.

“In the beauty of our cultural diversity that we celebrate in this Mass today, is that our many cultures and languages serve to increase our faith as we learn that every culture is an aid to faith, because it doesn’t matter where we are from or what languages we speak, God hears all of us because he will not refuse a contrite heart,” he added.

Dcn Lowe cited that it is through the goodness of our many cultures and ways of thinking, that “increases our hope – because every culture has special stories about how loving and reasonable God is and how the person of the Gospel Jesus can be experienced and known.”

“And in discovering the truth that God has no favourites, our charity grows as we become more sensitive to the importance of every culture in the faith-life of the other person.”

With the Church celebrating World Mission Sunday on the same weekend, Dcn Lowe gave thanks for the gift of the church to society, “that connects to anyone in need in any language, and doing so, in culturally safe ways, so that they do not fall into despair.”

Dcn Lowe ended his message by inviting those present to ask the ‘risen Christ’ for an insight that they may be able to see their own blind spots.

“Whether it be an ingrained attitude or an habitual behaviour or random acts of self-sabotage  –  and, secondly, let us also stand before the Lord and courageously pray for the grace to draw near to the presence of God in the world as we go into the week ahead, by humbly asking God, as a way of saying thank you for the gift of faith: ‘Lord, what would you like me to do for you this week?”