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Perth Filipino community gathers for inaugural celebration


Assistant Priest at St Mary’s Cathedral, Fr Jeffey Casabuena, delivers his homily during the Filipino Inaugural Mass on 14 November 2015. Photo: Ron Tan.

By Marco Ceccarelli

The Filipino Catholic community from across the Archdiocese of Perth last month came together at St Mary’s Cathedral for the first time to celebrate the instalment of a monthly Mass in honour of their culture and faith.

The occasion was attended by more than 600 people and celebrated by Perth’s own newly ordained assistant priest at St Mary’s Cathedral, Father Jeffey Casabuena.

The instalment of the monthly event will aim to demonstrate the devotion of the Filipino community to both their faith and to the Australian Catholic Church which has so warmly welcomed them.

In his homily for the occasion, Fr Casabuena emphasised how privileged he felt to be part of what he termed a “historical moment”.

Referring to the monthly Mass as a strong sign of unity for the Perth Filipino community, Fr Casabuena expressed a deep sense of gratitude to God for the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist among fellow Filipino nationals and in the Filipino language.

“This Mass is a way for us to thank God for our faith and for the gift of Australia,” Fr Casabuena said.

“Many Filipinos, if not all, have experienced lots of challenges in life and have seen how God has always been providential. He has given us Australia as a place where we could start a new beginning,” he said.

“We should remember this when we are asked to reciprocate and live lives that are charitable. We also remember how Australia has been one of the few countries which reached out to us during the devastating typhoon two years ago. It is now time to reciprocate the love Australia has extended to us,” he added.

In an interview with eRecord journalist Marco Ceccarelli, Fr Casabuena further commented on the importance of a Filipino Mass in Perth, seeing the event as a sign of a fast-growing community that is gradually adapting to Australian culture.

“The first benefit of this Mass is that it strengthens our bond and unity as Filipinos. Secondly, we feel blessed to see how our Filipino faith and culture has earned the support and respect of the Australian Catholic Church. The Filipino Mass, as well as other national and cultural liturgical celebrations, is a sign of the openness and adaptation of the Australian Church to Australia’s multiculturalism,” he said.

After the Mass, and in a very typical Filipino manner, the congregation continued to celebrate with a Lamesa pagkatapos ng Misa - literally interpreted as sharing in the table of food after sharing in the table of the Lord, in the Parish Centre of the Cathedral.

The next Filipino Mass will be on Saturday, 12 December at 4.30pm, just before the Inauguration of the Jubilee Year Door of Mercy celebrated by His Grace, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB.

There will be no social gathering after the Filipino Mass.