A Brisbane parish is working on the assumption that God’s love shouldn’t be hidden inside the church, inviting locals of other faith traditions to visit. Source: The Catholic Leader.
By Emilie Ng, The Catholic Leader
For the past few months, the Rochedale parish has welcomed Muslims and Anglicans into its church, with plans to invite local Buddhists and Lutherans.
The connection with the Muslim community grew out of one of the worst tragedies of 2019. Following the devastating Easter bombings in Sri Lanka last year, when three churches were blown up, killing more than 250 people, a card and flowers were left at the Rochedale parish.
The thoughtful gesture came from Muslims at the Kuraby mosque, who were shocked by deadly attacks on Sri Lankan Catholics. Along with the card and flowers, the community attached a petition, signed by 301 worshippers, promising to pray for Christians affected by the attacks.
“The Kuraby Muslim community sent many churches a card, showing their concern, showing their sympathy, and we were just one of the parishes, but we replied to them,” parish priest Fr Baiyi Gong said.
The reply came from Les Hauff, a Rochedale parishioner whose job is to connect with the different local faiths and denominations.
It’s part of an evangelisation project that was inspired by, surprisingly, the Mormon Church.
“About three years ago, we received an email from the Mormon Church, and a lady said she would like to come here and pay us a visit,” Fr Gong said.
“I thought that was a good idea – you can go out and talk to other religions, other churches, other Christian denominations.”
The Muslim and Catholic communities eventually met over a cuppa to talk about their faith experiences last July.
Rochedale parish has since invited the Anglican parish to its doors, with plans to invite the Buddhist temple community and members of the Lutheran Church.
“When it comes to evangelisation, we should go out and talk to people who are not Catholic, or Christian, or who are atheists,” Fr Gong said.
“This is what the saints did, for example, St Francis Xavier, who went to Japan and China and even died in China, on a little island.
Rochedale parish extends Jesus Christ’s love to their neighbouring religious communities (The Catholic Leader)