Many Catholics of Burmese origin gathered at Don Bosco camp in Safety Beach on 16-18 December for a renewal of faith, a better understanding of the Bible, appreciating the Catholic liturgical practices and a time to come away for social gathering. These Catholics came from Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Tasmania, Port Lincoln, Adelaide, Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.
Over the weekend, Fr Martin Aye Ngwe from Tasmania presented the Theology of Communications. A visiting priest from Hakha Diocese n Burma, Fr Pius Cung, presented the Apostles’ Creed. A Kayah Jesuit scholar from Burma, Fr Wilbert Mi Reh SJ, spoke about ‘Hope’ from a Christian perspective while the local Salesian priest of Burmese origin, Fr William Matthews SDB, explained the meaning of the celebration of the Eucharist. All topics were presented both in English and in Burmese.
Fr Wilbert celebrated the Eucharist with the whole group on Saturday morning. Fr Martin was the main celebrant for the Mass on Sunday morning during which a Karen family from Hoppers Crossing was able to join us.
There were a variety of fun games and activities throughout the weekend. All participants were divided into four groups to compete in soccer and valley-ball tournaments. On Saturday afternoon, the whole group went down to the beach for a walk. A few daring kids and adults jumped into the water for a bit of fun in windy and cold conditions.
On Saturday evening, there was an entertainment session where all groups from different places and cultural dances performed for all participants.
There was an interesting Q&A Session on Sunday afternoon where all participants were invited to ask any question or clarification to the four priests who presented different topics over the weekend.
It was a profound gathering of the Catholics of Burmese origin who live in the eastern States of Australia. Many reported that they felt like they were back home in Burma.
It was a celebration of family and unity in faith. It was a weekend where everyone felt blessed.
Currently, Fr William Matthews SDB oversees the pastoral needs of the Burmese Catholics in Melbourne, Adelaide and New Zealand. There is a monthly Burmese Mass at Our Lady’s Church, Monash Street in Sunshine on every second Sunday at 3:00 PM.