African Catholics dance for the Lord

By Jordan Grantham, 10 November 2017
Rev Msgr Ron McFarlane, EV PP, principal celebrant of the All African Mass 2017, with members of the African community. Photo: Diocese of Parramatta

The African Catholic community burst with vibrant songs and colourful cultural dress on Sunday 5 November at the All African Mass to celebrate the All Saints of Africa Centre, Blacktown.

Msgr Ron McFarlane, Episcopal Vicar for Migrant Chaplaincies was Principal Celebrant of the Mass, concelebrated by Fr Christopher Antwi-Boasiako, the Chaplain of the African Catholic community, Fr Chukwunonyerem Akamadu and Fr Kene Onwukwe.

Watch video from the Mass here.

View images from the Mass below or click here.

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St Patrick’s Church, Blacktown is next door to the All Saints of Africa Centre, where people feasted after the nearly two hour liturgy.

A pan-African choir provided piercing peals of music throughout the Mass.

A line of Sudanese girls danced with shiny pompoms below the sanctuary throughout the Mass.

Msgr Ron preached on what it means to be Christian.

“We are the Church. We are the representatives of Jesus. It is our vocation; it is our calling to continue the work of Jesus,” he said.

“Now, the key is our willingness to serve Jesus and our willingness to serve all our brothers and sisters.”

“All Christians are called to show leadership through service. People who do not seek to serve God and their fellow human beings simply cannot be Christian. The very motto of a Christian has to be ‘I serve’.”

“The example for living that Jesus gave to us was a life of love and service. In fact we can say with truth: Jesus ended up on the cross because he regarded each and every one of us as important.”

“The example of how to live our lives He showed us, when at the Last Super, He washed the feet of his disciples.”

“Now He is God, surely we are prepared to follow his example. The ultimate proof of our sincerity is that our actions are seen to match our words, so that we show the way to God by the example of our lives.”

“We are the Church. We are the representatives of Jesus. It is our vocation; it is our calling to continue the work of Jesus,”

“The Gospel, St Paul reminds us, is not just some human thinking. It is not a particular philosophy or social theory, that we can agree or disagree about. The Gospel is the message given to us from the living God. It is a challenge to us every day of our lives. The challenge to us is to practice what is taught to us by Our Lord.”

“It is a living power that will purify our hearts and heal our relationships with one another, if we allow it to enter our heads and our hearts.”

Msgr Ron left the congregation with two quotations to reflect on regarding their lives.

“Thomas Merton – ‘The big problem that confronts Christianity is not Christ’s enemies. Persecution has never done much harm to the inner life of the Church. The real religious problem exists in the souls of those who in their hearts believe in God and who recognise their obligation to love and serve him yet do not do these things’.”

“All Christians are called to show leadership through service. People who do not seek to serve God and their fellow human beings simply cannot be Christian. The very motto of a Christian has to be ‘I serve’.”

“G.K. Chesterton said ‘Christianity has not been tried and found wanting but rather, it has been found difficult and left untried.”

People from the Kenyan, Zimbabwean, Sudanese, Ghanaian and Nigerian communities read the prayers of the faithful.

Towards the end of Mass, an energetic dancing procession boogied its way up to before the altar to donate to the African Catholic community.

Fr Chris, Fr Akamadu, the organising committee and Msgr Ron were given special thanks for their contribution to the special day.

“All Masses we celebrate are to remind us of our culture and traditions and not forget where we come from,” Fr Chris said.

Mr Batsirai Maringehosi gave the vote of thanks, noting: “It was fun to learn each other’s languages through singing.”

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