Migrant and Refugee Sunday 2023

109th World Migrant and Refugee Day- "Free to Migrate or to Stay"


The Archdiocese of Adelaide celebrated the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees with Holy Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral at 2.30pm, on Sunday 24 September 2023. This annual multicultural mass is a feature on the diocesan calendar drawing more than 250 people from parishes and communities across Adelaide to come together to the Eucharistic Table celebrating the unique fabric of our multicultural church.

The theme chosen by Pope Francis for the celebration this year is Free to Migrate or to Stay. Pope Francis imploring “We are called to show respect for the dignity of each migrant. And recognise that whatever place we decide to build our future, whether it be our country of birth or elsewhere, the important thing is that there always be a community ready to welcome, protect, promote and integrate everyone, without distinctions and without excluding anyone.”

Father Dean Marin, Vicar General, began the Mass welcoming everyone – especially those that have come from distant lands. He also gave a warm welcome to our missionary clergy, expressing much gratitude as he acknowledged their selfless vocation to minister to us here in Australia.  Monsignor Minh-Tam Nguyen from Vietnam, Father Michael Kyumu from Kenya; Father Laszlo Horvath OFM from Hungaria; Father Selva Leenaiah and Father Santhosh Nazareth CSC from India; Father Pastor Mumburi CP from Tanzania; Father Angelo Cagna CS, from Italy, Father Tomas Ruiz CS from Mexico; were all recognized and appreciated for their ministry here in Australia.  Father Dean reminded us that God’s love is infinite and immeasurable and we need only to trust it.

The Cathedral was full of joy, with choirs from Africa, Vietnam, China and Indian (Tamil Nadu) – uplifting the liturgy with such gusto and vibrancy!

The church was full of people young and old, from many cultures; some who migrated recently and other who migrated more than 60 years ago! Many in national costumes, representing their culture and faith they brought to Adelaide making up our diverse multicultural church.

The Readings were beautifully read in Sri Lankan and Konkani; with the universal prayers read in Vietnamese, Albanian, Korean, Slovenian, Spanish and Indonesian. 

A highlight was at the Lord’s Prayer, where Father Dean invited the congregation to pray this familiar prayer in our mother tongue, in unison!  What might have been chaotic instead was a beautiful moment of unity in diversity! Concluding the Mass with prayer from Pope Francis’ for migrants and refugees; a prayer of hope where all people live in peace and harmony wherever they may be.

After the Mass, coffee and icecream awaited !!– lots of smiles were abound and God’s sun shined on all. There was a such joy on the lawns with each person inspired by our differences but united in our faith and love.