Mgr Daniel McHugh on the Intercultural Mass at Holy Trinity, Newcastle-under-Lyme, celebrated on Saturday 18 February, Chair of St Peter

At the end of the celebration on Saturday (18 Feb 2023), Father Fretch, the Filipino Chaplain, spoke of the wish of the Filipino Community in Birmingham to host the next Intercultural Mass.

They had not experienced this celebration before, and had come to Holy Trinity Church to highlight the part of Filipino Faith and Culture in the life of the Church today. Fr Michael Pulijc, the Chaplain to the Royal Stoke University Hospital, hopes with the help of Fr Fretch to begin a quarterly Mass for Filipinos (many work in health care) as a way to supporting them, and their Catholic Faith.

Mgr Daniel McHugh, the Co-ordinator for Ethnic Chaplaincies in the Archdiocese, recalled the beginning of the West Indian Chaplaincy in 1974 when the then Archbishop, George Patrick Dwyer, began the Chaplaincy because the people had drifted away from the Catholic Church to set up their own Churches, where they felt more at home: many had been attracted to Pentecostal Communities.

The success of the Chaplaincy led to young people taking their steel band to Westminster Cathedral to play at Mass on the occasion of celebrating the World Day of Migrants.

Fr Paul McNally, parish priest and area dean, welcomed Bishop Stephen Wright, the priests and the congregation at the beginning of the Mass, saying how much pleasure it gave him to see the wonderful gathering of our diverse community present in Holy Trinity Church.

Bishop Stephen in his Homily endorsed this, recalling his experience in Rome recently as one of the many new Bishops from across the world gathered round Pope Francis in celebration of the special role of the Pope as successor of Peter and the centre of unity in a Church from many lands.

He spoke too of the impression a Pilgrimage to the Sea of Galilee made on him, where Peter made his profession of Faith in Jesus as the Christ, leading to him being made Head of the Church.

Mass was very well attended and a joyful occasion marked by contributions from many different Ethnic Communities, singing in different languages with music from many cultures:
• The Gloria sung in Igbo, a language spoken in Eastern Nigeria
• The Apostles’ Creed sung in Ukrainian
• The Marian Anthem in Arabic, a language used in the Chaldean Liturgy
• The Offertory Hymn in Lingala, a language from Central Africa
• The Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Tagalog, a language of the Filipinos
• The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic by Dr Subhi Zora, a Sub Deacon in the Chaldean Community
• The Holy Communion Hymns in Malayalam, sung by young people from the Syro-Malabar Community

A reading was done in Italian by a parishioner, and Intercessions in different languages by pupils of St John Fisher Secondary School.

After Mass the celebration continued in the Parish Centre with foods and entertainment provided by the different Ethnic Communities. A group of children from the Syro-Malabar Community did a specially beautiful series of dances: they had clearly practised hard!

It was especially pleasing to see priests from the different Ethnic Communities concelebrating the Mass and present afterwards.

Bishop Stephen had highlighted the presence of the priest from the Ukrainian Eparchy who had travelled from Liverpool. Mgr McHugh welcomed him especially in the week when we recall the invasion of Ukraine, and the role of the Ukrainians here in outreach to those fleeing the war.

Thanks to Fr Paul McNally and parishioners of Holy Trinity for welcoming the different communities. Holy Trinity Catholic Church has long been a place where the waves of immigrant groups have been welcomed as can be seen from the beautiful and interesting history booklet of the Church and the local area, last updated in 2009 marking its 175th Anniversary.

Photo Album by Con McHugh

Intercultural Mass at Holy Trinity Church, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Ethnic Chaplaincies in our Archdiocese