The St Arnold Janssen Chapel and the Marsfield community grounds were a kaleidoscope of colour and multicultural prayer, song, dance and food recently for the annual Multicultural Sunday celebrations.
Friends of the SVD from various ethnic chaplaincy groups, Bible groups, breakfast groups and communities who worship at the chapel in Marsfield came together in national dress under the theme of ‘Being Neighbour’.
Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD, who headed the organising committee for the celebration this year, says it was “a wonderful success; a really good day”.
“We started with Mass at 9am, with Fr Michael Hardie SVD as the celebrant and homilist,” says Fr Elmer.
“Fr Michael’s homily focused on the question of ‘Being Neighbour’ and urged those present to consider the question, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ and ‘How can I be a better neighbour to all, but especially perhaps to refugees or to somebody who is new in this country?’”
The Mass also featured the prayers of the faithful being read out in various different languages and then the praying of the Our Father, with everyone speaking in their mother tongue.
Following Mass, everybody gathered in the grounds for cultural performances in dance and song. Presentations included groups from the Epiphany Community, a Mexican solo, performances from the Chinese, Vietnamese, Slovak, Samoan and Holy Trinity communities. Fr Truc Quoc Phan SVD was also a big hit, performing magic tricks for the children.
A highlight of the program was the joint singing of the song, ‘I am Australian’.
A multicultural banquet followed, with contributions from all the different cultural communities.
“We were very happy at the enthusiastic way that all the different communities pitched in to make it such a great day,” Fr Elmer says.
“Hearing everyone singing ‘I am Australian’ just reminded us that at the end of the day, we all come from different cultures, but we are Australian and we embrace this country.
“The SVD Multicultural Sunday Celebration sums up who we are, what we are here for and what we are trying to achieve. Part of our charism and spirituality as SVDs is to try to make people feel as ‘at home’ as possible.
“And we are all about bringing people together, so this is one way we do this each year, gather together all the people who are associated with us in various ways and have a celebration.”