Local Church celebrates multicultural unity in Phoenix Diocese

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Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted greets the faithful following the June 9 Diversity Mass at St. Patrick Parish in Scottsdale.

SCOTTSDALE — Voices, cultures and languages united to celebrate the many cultures of the universal Church June 9.

Roughly 1,000 people from throughout the Phoenix Diocese gathered at St. Patrick Parish for the annual Cultural Diversity Mass .The vibrant liturgy, sponsored by the Cultural Diversity Team and the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries, is held at a different parish each year.

“No matter our language, no matter where we were born, if our faith is alive, the Lord moves us to gratitude and praise,” Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said during the homily.

For some cultures represented, that praise took on noticeably different flares. A Polish family, several African families and those with roots in Vietnam and Korea were dressed in their native garb. For the Polish, that meant braids, beads, flowers and long-sleeved laced shirts. For the Africans, that meant colorful garments and matching headwraps for some of the women.

Some of the African children also displayed the native way to introduce the Liturgy of the Word. They respectfully led a prayerful movement down the aisle with the Lectionary until they reached the pulpit. The readings and music were in several languages.

Despite their different sounds, everyone stood united in their love for the Eucharistic Lord. The bishop spoke largely about the Eucharist considering the liturgy fell on the feast of Corpus Christi.

“Nothing more profoundly unites us with God than Christ’s love for us in the Eucharist,” he said.

The bishop said that it is near the Sacred Heart of Jesus that Catholics can encounter true love and make it their own. It’s there that people can learn to love themselves and the find the capacity to love others.

Catholics left the 90-minute liturgy with a renewed love for the Church’s cultural diversity. The closing song, “Thanks be to God,” had them comfortably singing in a host of languages.

The Phoenix Diocese offers Masses at least monthly for 15 different ethnic communities. Representatives from 10 of them shared the Our Father in their native tongue before Mass.

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