This last weekend I was invited to celebrate mass with a Maltese community in Cairns, in North Queensland.
Many of these families had migrated to Australia many years ago.
Indeed, many of those present were born in Australia.
The celebration centred around the feast of “Our Lady of Ta Pinu”.
The Basilica bearing that name is on the island of Gozo, one of the Maltese Islands.
Mary spoke to a peasant girl at this place before the Basilica was built.
Many healings have been attributed to this place of pilgrimage.
I have personally experienced its peaceful and healing atmosphere.
This Maltese community of North Queensland have strong family bonds.
There were present members of the 2nd, 3rd and even 4th generations born in Australia.
Of course, it threw me back reflecting on my Maltese childhood memories and experiences. I went for a little walk praying the rosary, that simple yet beautiful Christian mantra prayer.
I was surprised to realise that I was praying in Maltese (I normally pray in English).
It is so important for us all to be true to who we are.
I often encourage our Aboriginal young people to be proud of their ancient heritage. To learn from their culture and spirituality.
I also encourage the children of migrants to be proud of their heritage. Young people can be caught up in cross-cultural forces with significant effects.
All of us who are blessed to live in Australia need to own who we are and to recognise our innate goodness and lovability.
In Jesus, what is truly human is brought to fullness. Our humanity is “divinised”.
What a wonderful opportunity we have in the diversity that we have in this country to be mutually enriching each other by the grace of our common brother and God Jesus Christ.