“We, though many, are one body in Christ” – Romans 12:5

By Daniel Rice, Seminarian

20170624_202210.jpgOn Saturday, June 24, I was privileged to attend the annual Diocesan Multicultural Mass at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church. Members of so many communities within the diocese were present to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist.  Serving at this liturgy, celebrated by our very own Bishop Michael Burbidge and several priests in the diocese, I looked out at the congregation gathered there and saw people of various and sundry ages, races, places of origin, and garb.  I heard the voices of many faithful Catholics—singing together in a diocesan multicultural choir for the first time—ring in harmonious praise of God.  Yet what truly united us was not being in one choir or in one church building, but our faith in Christ, our Savior.

The Church is the body of Christ, Who is her Head, and it is through Him that we become one with Him and therefore truly one with each other.  This was expressed vocally in a particular way at the end of Mass as we sang, “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord.”  One can call to mind also the beginning of the first Eucharistic Prayer, in which the priest, on behalf of the people, beseeches God to guard, unite, and govern the Church together with the pope, the bishop, and all who “hand on the catholic and apostolic faith.”  We were indeed blessed to be made one together with our bishop, a successor of the apostles, through whom we have that direct link to the very beginnings of the Church.  In addition, Saint Paul speaks of how we are united through the Eucharist. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). What better way to reflect upon, manifest, and bring about our unity than to come together for the Holy Sacrifice of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Mass.

Afterward, we made our way to the school gymnasium, where we celebrated the 7th annual multicultural fair.  An Indonesian cultural dance performance, Korean drummers from St. Paul Chung, and a Ghanaian youth dance provided entertainment while a crowd of people waited in line to experience an abundance of ethnic cuisine.  These communities could only send a small contingent of their members to this Mass and fair, since the church and gym are only large enough for so many people.  Each community had their own table showcasing photographs and descriptions of their ministries, worship, traditions, and events within the diocese.  At the multicultural fair and reception, I met in-person the clerical and lay leaders of several communities with whom I had already corresponded via email.  I have enjoyed visiting many of them already, and I look forward to visiting as many more of them as I can throughout this summer.

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Left: “SANCTA MARIA + REGINA APOSTOLORUM + ORA PRO NOBIS.” Translation: “Holy Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us.”  Right: “SALVE REGINA + VITA DULCEDO + ET SPES NOSTRA.” Translation: “Hail, Queen, our life, sweetness, and hope.”

Our Lady, the Mother of the Church, is truly the Queen of the Apostles, who, after Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, went out to the far reaches of the world to proclaim the Gospel, the Good News. Through a line of succession that stretches through the centuries down to our own bishops (for us in Arlington, Bishop Burbidge), we are united to them and thus to Christ. May His Most Blessed Mother always unite us more and more in true Christian charity.

Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us.

 

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