On Thursday 21 March a special event was held at Maryvale Institute; the Inaugural Meeting of Ethnic Chaplaincies in the Archdiocese.

Over 30 people were there representing 15 ethnic communities: Eritrean,Congolese(Francophone),Keralan(Syro-Malagar Rite), Chaldean Iraq, Zimbabwean, Keralan(Syrian-Malankara Rite), Korean, Polish,Punjabi, Ukrainian, Nigerian, Lithuanian, Vietnamese,West Indian, and Cameroonian. And apologies were received from the Chinese, Italian and Irish.

The main address was given by Bishop Paul McAleenan, the Lead Bishop for Migrants at the Bishops’ Conference. Bishop Paul ranged over a number of issues for migrants in England today, not least the hostile environment that is being promoted.

He spoke specifically of the Church itself and the need for welcome to people of the different backgrounds.

He said “while integration is our aim, it is not the same as assimilation; we have to make people feel at home and that their customs, language,  rites and culture are valued. This is where the Chaplaincy has a role to play as well as the Parish”. 

In this the role of the priests from different ethnic backgrounds is particularly important said  Cecilia Taylor-Camara  of the Migrant Policy Department of the Bishops’ Conference. And, Tom Burke of the International Department of the Bishops spoke of the research being undertaken into ethnic participation in the life of the Church.

A wonderful day was enjoyed by all and hospitality was provided by the Bridgettine Sisters, themselves of Indian background.

Click image below for full album