Perth Archdiocese embraces cultural diversity through faith

08 Oct 2020

By Theresia Titus

Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton celebrated the Cultural Diversity Mass on 28 October 2018 at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.

By Theresia Titus

The Archdiocese of Perth is embracing cultural diversity within the Catholic community during a dedicated Vigil Mass on Saturday 24 October at St Mary’s Cathedral.

Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton will celebrate the Cultural Diversity Mass, with St Mary’s Cathedral Dean Father Sean Fernandez as concelebrant and Permanent Deacon Patrick Moore assisting.

Esther Deng, Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD) Client Services Manager, has been attending the Mass annually for three years in a row at the invitation of Western Australia Catholic Refugee and Migrants Office (WACMRO).

WA Catholic Migrants and Refugee Office Director Dcn Gregory Lowe addressed the congregation during last year’s Cultural Diversity Mass on 26 October at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.

Ms Deng believes the Mass is a venue for community members to acknowledge others regardless of backgrounds.

“I think it’s important for everyone to be aware, welcoming and embracing of everyone else without the social background, religion, ethnicity, race culture,” Ms Deng said.

“It is great that there are so many different cultural groups that are invited and represented and participating in this celebration and acknowledgement of each other.”

Different cultural communities attended the Cultural Diversity Mass last year on 26 October. Photo: Ron Tan.

Speaking to The eRecord, Ms Deng hopes the Mass would bring unity, which is “especially important” to have in the middle of uncertainties caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

“I hope that that the same spirit of the rescue continues but in a deeper and more meaningful way, especially given how the global pandemic has impacted various countries, cultures, groups, and ethnicities around the world – with some to a far greater degree than others,” Ms Deng expressed.

“Having a background working with people seeking asylum and refugees, we’re now more aware more than ever, of people’s need to be safe and have secure lives.

“The Mass acknowledges and reflects upon this and how we as a multicultural community can respond to this,” she added.

Ms Deng also emphasised that the acknowledgement of the diversity in the Perth Catholic community has been great, with various cultures represented during the annual Mass – but to have more engagement at “a broader level” would provide a well-rounded support for those in need within the community.

“It would be great to see more parishes engaging, not just in their awareness, but also in their actions in terms of supporting people seeking asylum and refugees in the community, and often migrants,” she concluded.

For more information about WACMRO and the annual Cultural Diversity Mass, visit: