St Mark’s Catholic Church, Inala echoes with the sounds of Ecumenical Christmas Carols, 2017

The eve of December 3, 2017 attracted many people from Inala, its neighboring suburbs and even parts of Brisbane to St. Mark’s Mercy Hall. People from different backgrounds, nationalities and walks of life were united in spirit for the Community Christmas Carols – a unique happening in the history of St. Mark’s parish. St. Mark’s took the initiative to host this event and welcomed all the Christian Churches in the local area who wished to come together as one people of God to retell the story of Jesus, to sing the carols, and to celebrate joyfully the birth of Jesus our Savior. It took many months of planning and organizing by the various Church leaders. The different nationalities of the leaders and church communities truly represented the multi-cultural face of the suburb of Inala and other South Brisbane communities. United under the banner of Jesus Christ, the birth of Jesus was celebrated with one heart and many voices! The evening was a prayerful and enjoyable experience of love and fellowship for everyone who attended.

The event began at 6.30 pm as around 1000 people gathered in St. Mark’s Mercy Hall. The Praise and Worship Team of Uniting Church, Inala enthralled the crowd with their melodious hymns to warm up the gathering and bring alive in the hearts of everyone gathered the spirit and music of Christmas.

Fr. Stephen Pilly SVD, the Parish Priest of St. Mark’s Catholic Church, Inala warmly welcomed everyone present to the Community Christmas Carols. He said, “We have gathered here together to sing, to pray and to welcome Jesus into our hearts. United in His name, we want to celebrate the birth of Jesus by praying together, singing the Carols and wishing each other the message of Christmas – joy, love and peace.” He then invited a member from the Ngutana Lui – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Centre to give the acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land.

The minister of the Anglican Church, Inala Rev. Carol Palmer, led the gathering into the Opening Prayer. This was followed by the ‘Unfolding of the Christmas Story’ where episodes were presented by the various choirs from the different Christian communities and multicultural groups. The episodes were: the Birth of Jesus Foretold (part one) by the Filipino community of St. Mark’s Catholic Church; The Birth of Jesus Foretold (part two) by the Vietnamese Community; The Birth of Jesus by the Chinese Community; The Story of Shepherds and Angels by the Samoan Community; The Story of Visitors from the East by St. Hugh’s Anglican Church; The Guiding Star by the Tongan Community of St. Mark’s Catholic Church; and the Reason for the Season by the Fijian Community. To involve the entire gathering into the “Unfolding of the Christmas Story” the organizers interspersed the program with some of the common and familiar Carols for everyone to sing.
In his Christmas Message Fr. Stephen Pilly SVD stressed that Christmas is a time of celebration in joy and gratitude because God so loved the world that he sent us his only Son to be one among us, to be God with us – the Emmanuel. And so, he said the message of Christmas is one of Joy, Peace and Love. As followers of Jesus we are called to share that same joy, love and peace to everyone we encounter.”
The Minister of the Inala Uniting Church expressed the vote of thanks to the different choirs from the different communities as well as to all those who came from far and near to be part of the evening. He then led the group in the Closing Prayer.
Following the Carols, the large gathering was invited to enjoy the multicultural meal very generously contributed by the various communities and served in the undercover area of the St. Mark’s Catholic School, Inala. Truly this was a memorable evening that was enjoyed by all!

Written by Sr. Philomina Mathew SSpS,
Pastoral Associate of St. Mark’s Parish