The multicultural community of St Mark’s Parish, Inala, turned out in force recently for the official installation of their new parish priest, Fr Boni Buahendri SVD.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge celebrated the Installation Mass and more than 600 people were there to take part in the occasion.
Fr Boni, who is originally from Indonesia, says he felt “very warmly welcomed” by the people.
“It was really wonderful,” he says. “We had more than 600 people packed into the Church and it was a multicultural Mass.
“The Bible was processed in with Tongan dancing, the offertory featured Samoan dancing and the prayers of the faithful were read out in many languages. It really showcased the rich multicultural gifts in our parish community.”
Special guests on the day included SVD Vice-Provincial, Fr Asaeli Raass, Sr Shalini Philomena M. Chakkummootil SSpS (Sr Philo), the Provincial of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, as well as the Dean of the local area for the Brisbane Archdiocese, the Principal of St Mark’s Catholic Primary School, the Chair of the Parish Pastoral Council, and Chair of the Vietnamese Community Pastoral Council.
Fr Boni says he has not only been welcomed by the people of St Mark’s Parish but also by the SVD community there – Fr Van Bang Nguyen, who is assistant priest at St Mark’s and Fr Joseph Vu, who is Chaplain to the Vietnamese Community in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
“This parish is a bit different to other parishes I’ve been in because it is so multicultural,” Fr Boni says. “There is a big Vietnamese community, as well as Pacific Islander communities, Filipinos and some people from Africa, India, Sri Lanka and of course some people of Anglo-Saxon heritage.
“There aren’t many Indonesians like me, but that means there will be no favouritism from me!”
Fr Boni returns to parish life after 10 years working in formation with young missionaries at Dorish Maru College in Melbourne.
“So this is totally different for me, compared to what I have been doing lately – not better or worse, just different - and I’m already enjoying that feeling of change,” he says.
“In a parish, you are working directly with the people and being a part of their life.
“With this being such a multicultural parish, it is my dream to make St Mark’s a real home for migrants, a home away from home for them.
“All of us at the end of the day are migrants and I’d like to make this parish a community where people feel at home.”