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Pentecost at St Edmund’s unites over 20 nationalities

Over 20 nationalities were represented in the Pentecost celebrations at St Edmund’s, Bury St Edmunds, which included a multi-cultural Mass and a shared meal. John Saunders reports.

On Sunday May 28, a shaft of sunlight through the church windows heralded the wonderful entrance of two dozen flag-waving parishioners, proudly representing their heritage.

This was Pentecost at St Edmund’s, in Bury St Edmunds, where a congregation of around 250 gathered in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Mass was celebrated by Fr Anil Zachery, with Canon David Bagstaff as concelebrant.

Under the direction of Patricia Mason and Mick Truman, the service was enriched by the singing of members from diverse parish groups, many of whom were dressed in traditional costumes. An overhead screen displayed the words, enabling those present to follow the music and participate.

In his homily, Fr Anil Zachery emphasized our belief in ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church,’ and paid tribute to those who had delivered such an inspirational commemoration of Pentecost.

Prayers of intercession were also delivered in the languages of the readers, and translated by them into English.

Having learned the significance of Pentecost during the Children’s Liturgy, the children joined the procession at the Offertory, waving flags and adding to the celebrations.

Exiting the church after Mass, the array of colours from the flag-bearers created an atmosphere of festival and happiness. The day was summed up perfectly by a parishioner’s words, ‘I think today we have had a glimpse of what life in heaven will be.’

Lunch in the Crypt continued the multicultural theme, with traditional foods from different countries being served. But, perhaps most importantly, a single voice of unity rose above the differences in our lives.