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Celebrating the diversity that different cultures bring to our nation

Migrant and Refugee Sunday will be observed nationally on Sunday August 27.

The Archdiocese of Brisbane will celebrate the day with a Multicultural Mass being held at the Cathedral of St Stephen from 2.00pm, followed by tea and coffee, cakes and a cultural performance by a number of catholic ethnic groups on the cathedral lawns.

The Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop John Bathersby and is being organised by the Ethnic Ministers group and their ethnic communities.

With proposed changes to Federal migration laws only recently thwarted by a block of abstaining Coalition senators, Australia’s treatment of people and families coming to our shores, either under duress or by choice, remains under the spotlight.

In his message this year, the Holy Father warns us against disregarding the reasons why asylum seekers and refugees leave their native land:

“The Church sees this entire world of suffering and violence through the eyes of Jesus, who was moved with pity at the sight of the crowds wandering as sheep without a shepherd (cf Matt 9.36). Hope, courage, love and ‘creativity in charity’ must inspire the necessary human and Christian efforts made to help these brothers and sisters in their suffering.”

This year’s Multicultural Mass will again showcase the amazing diversity of peoples living in South-East Queensland, with a number of migrant chaplains concelebrating and a coming together of the ethnic Catholic communities in the Brisbane Archdiocese.

Mr Clyde Cosentino, Director of the Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care, said that the universality, diversity and unity of the Body of Christ was at the heart of building a multicultural local Church.

“In Jesus, we are one body. We are more one than we are diverse. Being one in the Body of Christ is our deepest identity. Our task is to make that oneness visible, tangible and life giving within our rich diversity.

“The whole church is called upon to make the journey of greater awareness, inclusiveness and respect for all who make up the Body of Christ.

“To experience a faith community that welcomes diverse cultural expressions of faith is a wonderful sign of hope. To be a Church that embraces cultural diversity and brings diverse cultures together in mutual appreciation and respect is a sign of promise in a divided world.

“To settle for anything less is to diminish the Body of Christ,” he said.

Released by the Catholic Communications Office

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