Tour to Places of Worship August 2015: Casey Multi-Faith Network
On Tuesday 11 August 2015, the Casey Multifaith Network hosted a tour to places of worship. 25 people attended the tour which covered places of worship in two municipalities: City of Casey and City of Greater Dandenong.
The departure point was from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Narre Warren North and the bus left at 9:40am.
St Kevin's Parish in Hampton Park
The first stop was St Kevin's Parish located in Hampton Park, which is part of the St Kevin's Primary School enclosure. Father Albert Yogarajah hosted the group and gave a historic background of the parish in Hampton Park which hosts almost 2000 members over any given weekend. Fr Yogarajah explained that the Parish has overseen a growth in the region which has resulted in an expansion of the church recently. The Parish has also celebrated 25 years of existence in this area. The members of the congregation belong to diverse ethnic backgrounds and all come together to worship in the same manner. Fr Yogarajah also spoke about his personal spiritual journey which started in Sri Lanka, took him to United Kingdom and he has been in Victoria for the past 18 years. Fr Yogarajah also took the guests to the outdoor surroundings of the Parish, which included a Grotto dedicated to Mary and Chapel of Perpetual Adoration. There is a beautiful Harmony Sanctuary located in front of the Parish, which was constructed with tiles decorated by students of St Kevin's Primary School.
Gurdwara Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Keysborough
The second place of worship was the Gurdwara Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Keysborough, which is one of the largest Gurdwaras in Australia. Constructed in traditional architecture, the place of worship stands out from afar. Our hosts were generous with their hospitality and presented a detailed explanation of what Sikhism teaches. The presenter Gurmukh Singh spoke about the tenets of Sikhism, and explained that in Sikhism the word gurdwara refers to the Sikh place of worship. The gurdwara houses the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the sacred scripture, and everlasting guru (guide) of the Sikhs. There was an opportunity to ask questions about the various aspects of the religious teachings and the icons in the place of worship, after which the tour participants were hosted to a generous lunch from the "langar" which is the free kitchen operated at this location 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is part of the Sikh religious tradition to feed and accommodate their guests around the world.
Wat Khmer Buddhist Temple in Springvale
The third place of worship was the Wat Khmer Buddhist Centre and Temple located in Springvale. Venerable Sen Then and his colleague welcomed the guests with an afternoon tea. The temple was established in 1998 and is undergoing a major renovation which will provide a house of worship for 500 worshippers. The Wat Khmer is being funded by local and interstate Cambodian community and due for completion in the coming months. Venerable Then and his colleague explained about the disciplined life of a Buddhist monk, the concepts of Nirvana, the life of the Buddha, the differences between the different Buddhist sects, and gave ample time and opportunity to the guests to ask questions and look at the different icons in their current place of worship.
The tour provided the patrons the opportunity to explore three very different faith traditions. It was a great experience for everyone and the tour ended at 2:30pm.
Report by Naureen Choudhry, Secretary Casey Multifaith Network