Patrick Fox

We welcome our first guest to Talking Mission, where we introduce you to people who are turning Mission into action.

1. Can you introduce yourself and the work you are doing as a Cultural Competency Consultant at Catholic Mission?

My name is Patrick Fox. I am fascinated with cultures, languages and ‘people watching’. I currently work as Cultural Competency trainer with Catholic Mission where I have worked for 17 years. Having lived and worked across six cultures over the years I now have the privilege of advising and assisting people navigate the challenges of our ever-increasing multicultural Australian society.

2. How does your work align with the work of Mission?

For me, Mission is bringing about a community, and in whatever form, is about going out of oneself to meet another. It usually involves moving out of our comfort zone to somewhere less comfortable. In that sense we are crossing cultural boundaries. Anything that helps us understand, appreciate and value one another more is the work of Mission. Gaining skills in cultural intelligence and flexibility is necessary to create communities where everyone is known and valued in their uniqueness. Our differences are the ways in which God blesses us.

3. Can you please share a few examples of the impact of your work?

I work with diverse groups of people, for instance I work with priests from other countries who come to live and work in Australia, with parishes that are strongly multicultural and want to better include and welcome everyone. I also work with corporates to help create a more humane, safe and respectful professional environment, and with religious congregations that are increasingly becoming more global and less nationally based. With each group my aim is to help people understand each other, create trust, communicate and work together to shape a better future.

4. Reflecting on the 2024 theme “Go and invite everyone to the banquet”, how do you think your work aligns with it?

The most welcoming space we experience is mostly being around a table enjoying a meal together. It’s where we truly take time to relax, talk, listen and share. It’s where we discover the divine in each other. A question we can ask ourselves is ‘Who is not at our table now?’ And ‘Why haven’t we invited them?’ Maybe it’s out of ignorance, fear, or prejudice. When we view all variety, differences, and uniqueness as blessing then no one should be left off the guest list.

5. How do you think multiculturalism is shaping the Church in Australia?

With Australia being the second most multicultural society on the planet, it is inevitable that we are seeing the same phenomenon within the Church. Our clergy are increasingly coming from overseas. Our regular worshipping communities are comprised of growing numbers of different ethnic groups. The workforce of the various services we offer is becoming more multicultural and the makeup of religious congregations is growing in diversity.

I believe the Church of Australia has a real opportunity here to take the lead and be proactive in modelling harmony and unity, while valuing differences and variety.