A unique evening event aimed at embracing the spirit of Advent, while commemorating the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery has last weekend attracted more than 250 people.
The event, titled the 2023 Advent Reflection on Modern Slavery in Word and Music – Forced Labour edition took place at the Redemporist Monastery, North Perth on Saturday 2 December, and featured tenor Paul O’Neill, organist Andrew Brown and the St Elizabeth of the Trinity Choir conducted by Emma Oorschot.
Hosted by Catholic Mission in partnership with the West Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office (WACMRO) and the University of Notre Dame, the event has now been taking place annually for seven years.
Catholic Mission WA Director, Francis Leong said he is grateful to the event partners and sponsors for their support and shared vision for the annual Reflection that began seven years ago.
“They have enabled this opportunity for the Catholic community to come together and reflect on the current reality of modern slavery,” Mr Leong said.
“We all look forward to more and more agencies and organisations joining us each year in bringing people together for this unique evangelising experience that both embraces the spirit of Advent and also commemorates the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery,” he said.
In addition to offering the venue for the evening reflection, the Redemptorists also co-ordinated the vision and theme, with the reflective reading written and compiled by Dr Pina Ford.
Redemptorist Monastery Leader of Mission, Fr Edmond Nixon CSsR said the event is one way we can come together as a Perth community and prayerfully let each other know that we share God’s own thirst for justice to be done.
“On this occasion, justice is especially needed for those impacted by modern slavery in our community, in our region and globally,” Fr Nixon said.
Dr Ford echoed that the Reflection on Modern Slavery gives the Catholic community an opportunity to honour the season of Advent.
“By doing our part to prepare for God to come anew and transform the suffering and indifference in our midst with his beauty and his presence,” Dr Ford said.
WA Catholic Migrants and Refugee Office Director, Deacon Greg Lowe added that with western culture stepping away from universal and ultimate truth, there seems to be a disconnect between what we reality and what we think and believe.
“The Reflection offers an opportunity for integral human development and faith enrichment informed by research evidence and Church teachings,” Deacon Greg explained.
“The genius of the local church is that it can present these things, through word and music, as an experience of goodness and beauty. Goodness and beauty can speak to the human heart about God as Lord and what is right,” he said.
For more information about forced labour issues, contact Dcn Greg Lowe at email@example.com.
To make a donation to the Church’s global works against Modern Slavery, contact Francis Leong at firstname.lastname@example.org.