Submitted by Fr. Shibu Kallarakkal, Pastor of Mother of the Redeemer Parish, Calgary
Our parish, Mary Mother of the Redeemer in Calgary, held the annual Feast of Nations on August 7, 2022 this year. The event is known throughout Calgary with people from all over coming out to celebrate the diversity of cultures in our community. The Feast of Nations provides an opportunity to come together in faith as one family, and to keep us grounded in our own culture while adapting to new ones. To support cross-cultural understanding, this event also honours various cultural and spiritual celebrations which are important to the people in our parish coming to celebrate the Eucharist together. Together they enjoyed international artistic performances and delicious food from different parts of the world. This event helped bring together our English, Spanish and Italian communities while raising funds for our church activities.
This well attended event took place in various Parish facilities like the church, parking lot and lower hall. Our preparation began a few weeks earlier, involving a multidisciplinary team comprised of the general manager, liturgy coordinators, accountants, volunteers, the food handling coordinator, sound equipment and multimedia technicians, maintenance and stage crew, as well as those performing different acts and presentations. Our food stand representatives put their best efforts to showcase their national cuisine, gathering ingredients, and decorating their stands. This year our food stands featured cuisines from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Italia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
The event started after the 11 am Mass with dances followed by the celebration of Cultures Mass at 1 pm by Fr. Shibu Kallarakkal, Fr. Shaiju Ponmalakunnel, and Fr. Pydayya Yajjala, representing a variety of ministry groups and nationalities through a variety of songs and dances. The Introductory Rite for the Mass began with African dance, with their powerful drumming and energetic melodies. Prayers and readings were read in different languages throughout the liturgy as well as a special African rite for the entrance of the Gospel. Representatives from several nations also carried their national flag in the inaugural parade. This Mass highlighted the importance of our Catholic faith, and the faithful's connection to their heritage and religion. Representatives of different ethnic ministry groups offered songs and dances to highglight the importance of their Catholic faith, personal connections to their heritage, and the inescapable link between their roots and religion.
The cultural activities followed the 1 pm Mass with live music, dancing in cultural outfits, food stands from the participating countries (following the Alberta food handling guidelines) and other groups, such as the Catechesis group, Los Montianos (consecrated laity), youth groups such as the Jubilee group who provided face painting and a bouncy castle for kids, Ephphatha and Guardians of Jesus who provided water & pop, and candies, and several sponsors’ stands.
During the Feast of Nations event, various performing arts were performed at the main stage, which encompassed a wide range of acts including dancing, singing, playing traditional music, etc. Throughout the festival area, food vendors from different countries, served by volunteers of the community, were providing a variety of food and drinks for all event participants to enjoy. There were activities for everyone, and it all came together thanks to all the community members who volunteered for this event and generously donated their time, talents, and materials to make the Feast of Nations a success.
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers