On 27th May 2012, the feast of Pentecost, English Martyrs Church
in the south London borough of Walworth held its annual "World In Our Parish" celebrations.
Since the parish was established in 1890 it has grown tremendously in its cultural diversity, with worshippers originating from more than 100 different nations. The parish has been served by a community of Carmelite friars
The feast of Pentecost is sometimes called "the birthday of the Church" because it recalls the gift of the Holy Spirit being sent upon Christ's followers, empowering them to preach the Good News to every nation. Pentecost is thus a very appropriate time to celebrate the international diversity of the Church.
The "World In Our Parish" celebration took place during the 11.30am parish Mass in a packed church.
Parishioners from many nations gathered for worship together.
The presider at the Mass was the parish priest of Walworth, Fr. Francis Kemsley, O.Carm.
Fr. Francis Kemsley at the 'World In Our Parish' celebration.
Other members of the Carmelite friar community were joined by Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm., Bursar General of the Carmelite Order who is normally based in Rome but who is visiting Walworth for three weeks.
The liturgy celebrated all the gifts of the people who enrich the life of the parish from more than 100 different nations.
Some of the countries from which parishioners originate
were listed alongside a photo of planet Earth.
The offertory procession reflected the vibrant liturgical style of the Church in Africa.
Children from the parish decorated the church
by colouring-in flames representing the Holy Spirit.
After Mass a special lunch was held in the parish hall. The lunch consisted of dishes from four different continents.
Parishioners gathered in the hall for lunch.
Parishioners enjoyed food from different parts of the world.
Tucking into the celebratory lunch.
A time for fun and friendship.
After lunch music from different cultures was performed by different national groups, including parishioners from Asia and Latin America.
Carmelite friar Fr. Agustinus Sutiono (left) joined parishioners in song.
Some of the singers who performed in the parish hall.
Parishioners of African origin enlivened the celebrations with song and dance.
A regular worshipper at English Martyrs is Pat Gaffney, General
Secretary of the British section of the international Catholic Peace
charity Pax Christi
, who has
described Walworth as "A Rainbow Nation Parish". The term "Rainbow
Nation" was coined in 1994 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa to
encapsulate the unity of multi-culturalism and the coming-together of
people of many different nations.