Parishes throughout the diocese and across the country embraced this year’s Social Justice Week theme Celebrating Cultural Diversity with a range of events that focused on bringing people together from different cultural backgrounds to learn more about each other in their parish community.
There were Masses celebrating cultural diversity in New Plymouth, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Wellington parishes where prayers of the faithful were said in different languages and parishioners were encouraged to attend dressed in their national costume.
There was also a seminar at Ss Peter and Paul parish, attended by around 30 parishioners and Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, which looked at ways cultural diversity could be better celebrated in their parish.
In Palmerston North a Social Justice seminar, organised by Rex Begley, Bishop’s assistant for Social Justice, included presentations from the Indian, Bangladeshi, Cook Islands and Filipino communities.
Further afield, Social Justice Week events in Auckland included a marae tour at the Hato Petera College Marae, Northcote. There was also the hugely successful Kiwi Family Dinner where Catholic families welcomed international students into their home for an evening to share a meal.
Lyttleton parish in the Christchurch Diocese held a session on the Treaty of Waitangi and the Christchurch Justice and Peace Commission organised an evening meeting with Caritas Director, Mike Smith.
A number of events also took place in Dunedin Diocese including a discussion group at Sacred Heart parish that reflected on whether their parish valued cultural diversity, and whether people from a range of cultural backgrounds were represented in parish ministries.
Caritas research and advocacy officer, Lisa Beech, spoke to parishioners at Green Island and Mosgiel parishes about welcoming the stranger during Sunday Mass.