‘Welcoming Parish Initiative’ aims to encourage newcomers
WACMRO Director Deacon Greg Lowe speaks at the annual Multicultural Mass in October 2019. The Welcoming Parish Initiative, explained Deacon Lowe, aims to be a parish improvement and faith-in-action plan designed to be adapted to welcome the newcomer and serve the vulnerable person from any marginalised, minority group. Photo: Ron Tan.
By Amanda Murthy
A new initiative to encourage parish and local communities to harbour a fully inclusive church environment has been launched by the West Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (WACMRO).
The Welcoming Parish Initiative, explained WACMRO Director Deacon Greg Lowe, aims to be a parish improvement and faith-in-action plan designed to be adapted to welcome the newcomer and serve the vulnerable person from any marginalised, minority group.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB speaks with guests who attended the annual Multicultural Mass in 2019. Photo: Ron Tan.
“The initiative seeks to foster an inviting, including and welcoming attitude in parish planning across the leadership, liturgical, faith formation, social and outreach dimensions of parish life,” Deacon Lowe explained.
“Parishioners will be equipped with the awareness and communication skills needed to become more welcoming in their interactions with the newcomer, the volunteer, and the vulnerable person from the local community,” he said.
Deacon Lowe continued by saying that the Welcoming Parish Initiative will also enable the parish, school and local community to identify, plan and implement outreach projects to show solidarity with the vulnerable person in need from the local community, regardless of their cultural or religious background.
Members of the Goan Association celebrate at the conclusion of the 40th Anniversary Mass in October 2019. A new initiative to encourage parish and local communities to harbour a fully inclusive church environment has been launched by the West Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office. Photo: Ron Tan.
“I hope this initiative will extend to the faithful the importance of discipleship and provide everyone with ‘an opportunity to fully digest the Eucharist, as Associate Professor Glenn Morrison, would say’.
“The faithful attend Mass, they receive the Eucharist, but they are also given the opportunity to put their faith into action, being able to receive all the graces that the Eucharist can give,” Deacon Lowe explained.
“An example of faith in action,” Deacon Lowe continued, “could be as simple as small outreach projects organised by the parish, such as the distribution of food parcels to people within the neighbourhood even extending help to vulnerable minority groups in the local community, according to the data, regardless of their cultural and religious backgrounds”.
Members of various multicultural communities at the annual Multicultural Mass in 2016. Photo: Ron Tan.
“This will help bridge cultural and language barriers and give the lay faithful the chance to be Good Samaritans to reach out to someone who may look, speak or be from a different background,” Deacon Lowe explained.
“It is more than welcoming someone with a smile and a handshake, it is accompanying the person, spending time with them and ultimately living out our faith. It’s not paternalism, it’s protective hospitality.
“Our faith calls us to be the face of Christ to everyone we meet, and that is what we hope to continue to encourage within our Catholic community that has so much to offer,” Dcn Lowe concluded.