St. Thomas Aquinas Parish celebrates cultural diversity, universal faith
CHARLOTTE — Rising temperatures did not prevent Catholic faithful representing 26 countries from participating in the fifth annual Multicultural Festival at St. Thomas Aquinas Church over the weekend of May 26.
It was a hot day for music, entertainment, cultural artifacts and sampling of food, said Deacon James H. Witulski.
Paraphrasing the Blessed John Paul II, Witulski said that if one knows only one culture it is as if you don't know any culture at all. And that more or less forms the basis of the parish's yearly multicultural festival.
Pictured: A religious sister dances the "tinikling" traditional dance from the Philippines. The tinikling dance is one of the most popular and well-known of traditional Philippine dances. It involves two people beating, tapping and sliding bamboo poles on the ground and against each other in coordination with one or more dancers who step over and in between the poles in a dance. (Photo provided by Susan Dennis)
He explained that it is a culturally diverse parish with different ethnicities coming together to worship God as one church.
People from 14 countries contributed songs and dances, including parishioners representing Guatemala, Ireland, Togo of South Africa, Puerto Rico, Peru, USA, India, Austria, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Philippines and Trinidad & Tobago.
Capuchin Franciscan Father Remo DiSalvatore, pastor, said that what struck him the most in this celebration is the faithful working together despite their racial and ethnic diversities.
Father Remo added that during the Mass, the prayer of the faithful is prayed in many different languages. And "it is inspiring to hear different languages imploring the love of a universal God," he said.
The festival carried the theme "Praise the Lord all ye nations."
Besides the worship and the culturally diverse entertainment, the multicultural festival featured food – and lots of it.
One participant, Raymond James Kelly, said that the best part of the program for him was being able to sample a variety of food from around the world.
— Susan Dennis, correspondent
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