Johannesburg, our Cathedral parish

Maybe the best way to introduce you to our area is to let you read part of a text written by a visiting priest in our cathedral parish.

"I am struck by the living stones that make up this church. The majority of the more than 50 people attending mass are men - in their twenties and thirties, mostly from African countries.

Worshippers from a dozen nations under the African sun prostrate themselves before the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament chapel, bringing their people and their cares and worries before the Lord who sees all and knows all. There's the muscle-bound West African who really takes an interest in the 'intention' of the Mass, the reader with a Zimbabwean accent, the Ethiopian man with the Afro' hairstyle and the dreadlocked man in the Bafana-Bafana (our national soccer team) tracksuit top who first waves his rosary at the life-size crucifix over the main altar and then at the Divine Mercy icon suspended from the organ loft. There is the Anglican on his way to work, the man who recites the rosary at top volume in Zulu in the Pieta chapel, driving every one else away, and the Pedi man whose night job at the dairy allows him to serve mass faithfully twice every morning.

If South Africa is the rainbow nation, with the connotation of harmony in diversity, then our cathedral church is a kaleidoscope, with apparently random, clashing, moving, arbitrary devotion taken from every corner of the continent. The sensory experience is heightened by a riot of colour through the stained-glass windows. The peace is only disturbed by the racket of the taxis and buses vying for space in the designated bus lanes. Even the sparrows find a refuge from the bustle of the Johannesburg life.

And all of this is entirely appropriate. The Church should be the home of everybody, no matter how divergent the expression of their faith. This is what it means to be Catholic. It would be dishonest to pretend that there are "no tensions, clashes or differences of opinion, sometimes irreconcilable. We are, after all, ordinary human beings... It only feels like a 'collide-oscope' when we don't give each other space to be who we are. "

Yes, we, the little sisters, are happy to live in the jungle of buildings of our area which shelter so many and so varied people. And after all, our community reflects also a kind of internationality with the four of us coming from different origins though two of us have acquired the South African citizenship and now we are three "proud South Africans".