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Cathedral family day builds community

Our Parish Family Day was an idea that some parishioners had been suggesting for some time. After synodal (prayerful) discussion and planning, and with the blessing of the Cathedral Administrator, Fr Martin Sirju, it was finally realised June 9.

If we are to make the dreams of our synodal journey a reality, we must get to know each other better, not just the names of our fellow parishioners, but who they are and how we can help build each other up as individuals and as groups. This was the purpose of this event: to build stronger and more meaningful relationships as members of God’s family.

The day began at 8.30 a.m. with Holy Mass led by Fr Sirju with Frs Peter Aduaka, Emmanuel Dafe and Michael Cockburn concelebrating and Deacon Roland Joseph assisting.

During the homily, Fr Sirju asked the congregation to think about the blessings and challenges they had experienced in this parish. Parishioners were asked to share their thoughts during the homily, and many did.

After Mass, we  proceeded outside to the forecourt where we sat in beautifully decorated tents. We were given name tags and were served a delicious breakfast.

Volunteers functioned as hosts for the various activities for parishioners to engage in such as dominoes, chess, Jenga, Ludo and tin pan alley. There were some showers, but that didn’t diminish our spirits, especially those of the joyful and raucous ‘All fours’ group.

In between the games, we had some wonderful entertainment. Marionette’s Chorale member Hermina Charles gave a beautiful rendition of ‘If I Could Help Somebody,’ and five-year-old Emmia Clarke sang ‘The Goodness of God.’ Emmanuel Joseph played ‘How Great Is Our God’ on our national instrument, and youth leader John-Michael Mader reminded us of the reason we were there with his spoken word. His statement, “We can’t have a community without unity, and we can’t have unity without you and I” resonated with many of us.

The final entertainment was a medley of our local hits from the lovely Natasha Benjamin. Her fantastic voice and vibrant energy had us swaying to the music. What enchanted us even more was Pedro Christopher, an altar server from our sister church of the Sacred Heart, who courageously joined her for part of her performance. His enthusiasm gave us much delight.

Not to be outdone in the entertainment category, Frs Sirju, Dafe and Aduaka had a dance-off. We cheered as they displayed their best moves. Fr Dafe was judged the winner.

We closed out the day with a final prayer from Fr Dafe and a blessing from Fr Sirju. Parishioners expressed that they had a wonderful time and that they would like to experience another event like this.

The road to synodality will have its blessings and challenges. It is not for those with negativity and timidity. This event was an effort to keep those ties together as we work, pray and at times disagree on how to move forward together.

We thank God for the organising committee, volunteers, and benefactors whose faith, sacrifice and courage made this beautiful day possible. I pray we will remember what Mader said in his poem: “There is no community without unity, and there is no unity without you and I.”

—Story and photos by Alvin Peters, parishioner