Celebrating Diversity

Detroit Catholic Article

At the beginning of June, I stepped into the sacristy after the 12:15 pm Mass one weekday to talk to my pastor about race and diversity. After the killing of George Floyd the week prior, I’d seen many things online about race, systemic racism, and our cultural preference for all things white. I’d had a conversation with a close friend about the impact of George Floyd’s murder on her personally and she said, “Katie, I’m no longer going to feel like I have to choose between being Authentically Catholic and being Black.” This phrase struck me deeply because I couldn’t understand what she meant.

I met this friend about six years ago at my current parish, which is the most diverse parish I’ve ever belonged to or seen in my travels doing parish vision planning. I live in a unique area of Charlotte and my parish has more than 30 countries represented with 1st and 2nd generation immigrants. We more closely represent the United Nations than the ‘typical parish.’ It’s with this knowledge and my friend’s experience of our parish that I wanted to talk with my pastor.

As we talked that afternoon we both said, “We need to do something … we just aren’t sure what that something is.” We ended the conversation with a commitment to continue to learn, talk, and discuss what this ‘something’ might be. For me that has looked like many emails filled with links to articles, videos, and podcasts of great things I’ve been reading, seeing, and listening to on the internet. I think this is important so we can truly hear someone else’s story.

Then I saw this from Detroit Catholic regarding the Feast of Ste. Anne from the newly raised Basilica. Their Novena celebration is 9 days of Masses each focusing on one of the many cultures that exist in the Archdiocese.

As in prior years, the novena will honor the Detroit area’s many cultures, from the French who established Detroit’s oldest parish in 1701 to the Latino culture that is prevalent in the parish today.

The homilies at each Mass will be themed to the culture being represented, with different homilists each time, to celebrate the rich diversity in the local Church that sprang from the archdiocese’s “founding parish.”

I love this idea and think it could be transformational in our parishes; truly celebrating our diversity.

Ste. Anne novena schedule

Friday, July 17 — Honoring Asian Culture: China, India, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam and Korea
Fr. Hoang Lam, celebrant and homilist at 7 p.m. Mass

Saturday, July 18 — Honoring African Culture: African-American, Benin, Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda
Fr. Ted Parker, celebrant, and Fr. John McKenzie, homilist, at 7 p.m. Mass

Sunday, July 19 — Honoring French and French-Canadian Culture: Special recognition of Ste. Anne founders and Ste. Anne School alumni
Fr. Patrick Gonyeau, celebrant and homilist at 12 p.m. Mass

Monday, July 20 — Honoring Chaldean Culture
St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Eparchy Bishop Francis Y. Kalabat, celebrant and homilist at 12 p.m. Mass 

Tuesday, July 21 — Honoring Latino Culture: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Spain
Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hanchon, celebrant, and Fr. Bernardo Cruz, homilist, at 7 p.m. Masss

Wednesday, July 22 — Honoring Albanian Culture
Fr. Frederik Kalaj, celebrant, and Fr. Marko Djonovic, homilist, at 7 p.m. Mass

Thursday, July 23 — Honoring Western European Culture: Austria, Germany, Italy and Malta
Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda, celebrant, and Fr. Enzo Andari, homilist, at 7 p.m. Mass

Friday, July 24 — Honoring Eastern European Culture: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia
Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Robert Fisher, celebrant, and Fr. Barnabas Kiss, homilist, at 7 p.m. Mass

Saturday, July 25 — Honoring Celtic and British Culture: Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales
Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Battersby, celebrant, and Msgr. Timothy Hogan, homilist, at 7 p.m. Mass

Sunday, July 26 — Feast of Ste. Anne
Mass celebrated by Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, noon

Check out this photo gallery from the Novena!

How is your parish celebrating the diversity of Catholicism and your people? Is a novena like the above something you could do in your community in preparation for your parish or diocesan feast day?

If you do something like this, I’d love to hear about it!!

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