Mass for Multicultural Communities celebrates unity through diversity

First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
Previous Next

Catholics from more than a dozen different cultures and traditions came together as one body in Christ at the eighth annual Mass for Multicultural Communities at St. John Neumann Church in Reston June 22. 

The evening started with a musical prelude before the Mass, which was performed by a 60-member multicultural choir directed by Que-Thanh Le. This is the second year the choir, which includes musical talent from throughout the diocese, has sung together for the Mass. 

“It really brings a new elevation to the Mass in the sense of the sights and sounds, of people in their native attire, in their language, coming together to sing the parts of the Mass and bring the faithful together as one,” said Corinne Monogue, director of Multicultural Ministries.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge was the principal celebrant of the Mass with more than 22 priests concelebrating, including Metropolitan Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam of the Archeparchy of Asmara, the head of the Eritrean Catholic Church.

During his homily, Bishop Burbidge encouraged the faithful to pray, reflect and act.

“At this Mass, we pray for these special intentions for our country, that, with God’s grace, we will welcome and embrace the diversity that is ours, remember that we are one nation under God and live in union with one another freed from all division and chaos.”

After Mass everyone was invited to the multicultural fair and reception featuring informational displays and ethnic food. This year, two new communities — Albanian Catholics and Native American Catholics — were included.

 

Buy photos from the Mass for Multicultural Communities at catholicherald.smugmug.com

Albania, a southeastern country on Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, was ruled by an atheist communist regime that suppressed Catholicism. Since the fall of communism, Albanian Catholics have enjoyed being able to worship and practice their traditions openly. Last year, a group of Albanian Catholics in Arlington reached out to the Office of Multicultural Ministries hoping to gather quarterly to pray and celebrate Mass in their own language. In celebration of their first time participating in the Mass for Multicultural Communities, Monika Kryemadhi, a member of the Albanian Parliament and wife of the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, brought three gifts to the community in Arlington: a wooden reliquary containing first-class relics of the 38 Albanian martyrs, a 200-year-old rosary, and a replica of the cross of Zadrima. The cross of Zadrima is a traditional gift from women to their daughters-in-law, given in secret during the time of persecution. 

In the past year, the Office of Multicultural Ministries also has encouraged increased participation from the area’s Native American Catholics. In attendance were Teresa Sappier, a member of the Penobscot tribe of Maine, along with Lupe Fukagawa, a member of the Apache tribe. 

The fair included three live performances featuring a duet by the Hispanic musical group Lluvia de Fuego, a group of young dancers from the Tamil Catholic community and Sappier.

Sappier played a drum, while singing three songs: the medicine song, her community’s dance song and the song of the rising sun.

“My people, the Penobscots, have been Catholics for over 400 years,” said Sappier. “In fact, my ancestors embraced Catholicism because the religion was so close to our way of life.”

Buy photos from the Mass at catholicherald.smugmug.com.

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018