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Rooted in culture, united in faith

GARLAND — The word “catholic” literally means universal, as in universal Church, and that concept has been rooted in the Church from its earliest days.

On June 8, the universality of the Church in Dallas was on full display with the inaugural Diocese of Dallas Multicultural Celebration, “Unity in Diversity,” a celebration of the richness of the diocese’s diverse cultures.

“Our diocese is a very diverse diocese,” said Helen Ta, diocesan director of intercultural ministries, who coordinated the event as an initiative of the Diocese of Dallas Ministries Office. “With this multicultural celebration, we have all these different communities coming together to share their cultures, their food, their languages — all as one Church, celebrating Unity in Diversity.”

Representatives from the diocesan interracial healing task force along with more than a dozen cultures joined with their Catholic brethren at Mother of Perpetual Help Catholic Parish for a Marian procession followed by the celebration of a multicultural Mass by Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly that highlighted cultural heritages through language, song, and prayer.

“It was just very moving, looking out from the altar at the beginning of the Mass and seeing it all,” Bishop Kelly said. “It was beautiful looking out and seeing all the different faces from all the different communities that make up the Diocese of Dallas.
“It is important that we celebrate that diversity,” Bishop Kelly added. “With the music, the language, and the dress, it all just highlights the true nature of the Catholic Church being a universal Church.”

As the faithful processed around the Mother of Perpetual Help campus, ethnic groups carried Marian banners representing the different cultures in the diocese. Faithful recited a multilingual rosary in 10 different languages, including English, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Igbo, Spanish, French, Latin, Portuguese, and Polish.

During the Mass, choirs from the National Shrine Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Perpetual Help, and the Gambian community came together in prayerful song.

Prayers were offered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The first and second readings also were shared in different languages. The Prayers of the Faithful were said in six different native tongues — English, Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean, French, and Tagalog — by a representative from each culture.

Following the celebration of Mass, the faithful gathered in the parish community building to sample food samplings and view cultural displays from 12 countries, including India, the Philippines, Cameroon, Vietnam, Korea, Mexico, the United States, Nigeria, Gambia, Venezuela, Canada, and Brazil. The afternoon was filled with musical and dance performances representing the diverse cultures, ranging from drum corps and opera singing to matachines and the lion dance.

Find more images from the celebration in the photo gallery at and in the June 21 print edition of The Texas Catholic.