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Monday, 10 October 2022 19:36

St Kilian's Filipino Streetfood Fiesta

St Kilian’s Parish, Bendigo celebrated Migrant and Refugee Sunday with Mass followed by a spectacular Filipino Streetfood Fiesta.  In his Homily, Parish Administrator, Fr Junray Rayna, humorously shared a story of his first arrival in Australia and then reminded parishioners that every one of us is a traveller and that all of us bring gifts to enrich the tapestry of our communities.  
 
St Kilian’s Church was bursting at the seams on Migrant and Refugee Sunday. Members from Filipino communities far and wide came to join the celebrations, which started with Mass concelebrated by Fr Junray and Mons. Frank Marriott.  In his Homily, Fr Junray, who is from the Philippines, shared his first experience of coming to Australia.
 
 
Randomly held up by Australian Border Force Officers, Fr Junray was shown a series of papers.  The first in Chinese, to which Fr Junray nodded his head gesturing, “No, that is not my language”, then Bahasa, to which he again said, “No that is not my language”.  This went on a few more times until finally Fr Junray mustered the courage to say, in a very polite and nervous voice, “I can speak English.”  Of course, the congregation laughed at the punchline, but they also understood the clear message that we should be careful not to make assumptions about people from other places. 
 
 
Fr Junray said that we all take our culture with us wherever we go.  In Cebu, he remembers seeing Australians who had gathered to watch the “Footie” and he just didn’t understand why it was so important to them.  He continued to say that many migrants initially just don’t understand “Footie” or its cultural significance in Australian society.  “I was driving through Geelong, and I saw this sign – “Drive carefully, because you’re not a cat. You don’t have nine lives”,” he said.  It was only later, that Fr Junray fully understood the meaning of the billboard slogan.
 
 
After Mass, the congregation poured out of the Church to enjoy an array of Filipino streetfood and song.  Fr Junray expressed his gratitude to the many wonderful, hardworking and generous people who supported the St Kilian’s Parish Day, including the Bendigo Filipino Community Choir. 
 
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