Bishop Sproxton: ‘Everyone, no matter who they are, has a place at the table’
The annual Cultural Diversity Mass was held during Vigil Mass on Saturday 24 October at St Mary’s Cathedral. The event celebrates the different cultures within the Archdiocese of Perth, and the gifts each group contributes to their community. Photo: Ron Tan.
By Amanda Murthy
People of various ethnic backgrounds and nationalities gathered in one faith to mark the annual Cultural Diversity Mass on Saturday 24 October.
Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton celebrated the 6pm Vigil Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, alongside concelebrant Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Sean Fernandez and assisted by Permanent Deacon Patrick Moore.
Organised by the West Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office (WACMRO), the Mass was attended by Archdiocesan agency workers, the Perth Indonesian Catholic community, the Perth Chinese Catholic community, as well as various affiliated support groups.
Bishop Sproxton reflected on Matthew 22:34-40 in his homily, echoing the famous words of Jesus to “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”.
“Saint Paul [in the Scriptures] was very taken by the response of those early Christian communities that surprised him, because of the way in which they had understood God’s love,” Bishop Sproxton said.
“God can see the potential in each of us - We are made in His image and likeness and with His working in our lives, with His strength.
“We can become what we are able to be, we can reach our potential. This then is the reason why we ourselves can come to the point of loving God,” he continued.
“It starts by us learning to appreciate our place before God. Appreciating the way God which God see us, “He looks at us with eyes of love and mercy.”
Bishop Sproxton, acknowledging the contributions that migrants and refugees bring to each community they join upon settling in Australia, remarked that the Catholic Church should be the place where everyone is “welcomed can find their feet in society”.
“Here in our Archdiocese, we are blessed to have so many parishioners from overseas [who] are making profound contributions to their communities and sharing their traditions, cultures and food with the community.
“This evening’s Mass is how we are giving thanks to the Lord for this change, that is and has occurred in our Catholic communities,” Bishop Sproxton cited.
“We give thanks for the way in which, with each wave of migrant or refugees who joins our communities, how each of them brings each special gift.”
After thanking the migrants and refugees present for all their gifts and contribution in society, Bishop Sproxton ended his homily by stating that everyone, no matter who they are, has “a place at the table”.
“We thank God for the invitation to His table and pray that all of us in our own turn, that we will welcome the newcomer in our communities – that there will be a place for the newcomer in God’s Church."
The West Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office Director Deacon Greg Lowe spoke at the end of the Cultural Diversity Mass held on Saturday 24 October at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.
At the conclusion of Mass, WACMRO Director Deacon Gregory Lowe thanked all who were involved in organising and participating in the Mass.
“In this time of uncertainty, keeping our first culture alive is important and keeping the faith, even more so,” Dcn Lowe said.
“That is why this Mass is so special, because it allows us in some small way, to keep in touch with who we are as human beings, from a diversity of cultures, while reminding us where we are going as a baptised Body of Christ.
“God alone, can give us the ability to create harmony between all peoples, something the world is surely in need of right now.”
Cultural diversity, Deacon Lowe added, offers an essential service – a blessing to be welcomed, to be promoted, to be protected and integrated into the very heart of the local Church in the Archdiocese of Perth.
“This is important, because spiritual truth, beauty and goodness is not the preserve of any one culture, so much as a longing in every human heart,” Dcn Lowe concluded.