It’s many years since we’ve heard children singing, laughing, and playing in the St Canice’s school next door, and outside in the car park downstairs.
Unlike so many other parishes, we at St Canice’s are no longer asked to support a school for our children. Our once thriving school closed many years ago.
But we are still very much involved in education of children – in our sister parish of Railaco in the mountains outside Dili in East Timor. We also provide ongoing funding for a regular Feeding Program for children in mountain communities, and for a Mobile Medical Clinic.
It’s difficult to picture the harsh conditions under which these people live, but it is so uplifting to see the smiles and happy faces from children, grateful for a nutritional meal, and thankful for the generosity of the parishioners of St Canice’s.
The people of St Canice’s have also provided the funding to build a Secondary School, from scratch, in Railaco.
It’s hard to believe that with the proceeds from collections, fundraisers and your donations, a few dedicated people were able to build a secondary school where today 300 children walk up to two hours to receive a secondary education.
A brave, retired Australian nun, Sister Rita, whose letters we receive on a regular basis, supervises this school, and manages Scholarships for the children to receive further Tertiary or a Technical education. Rita also helps the children improve their English proficiency to increase their future career opportunities in this emerging nation.
Only last year, water was finally was finally brought to the school. In previous years, water came from a stream up the hill by a crude hose for the children to wash their hands and to use the toilets. Again, you here at St Canice’s not only built the school but also provided the money to allow a water tank to be built – something so basic to us, but a life-send to them.
Unbelievable! Some of ‘our children have already graduated University. And all of this is possible only through your generosity.
In addition to the Secondary School and Feeding Program, we at St Canice’s provide ongoing funding for Father Bong, a Jesuit priest and doctor, to bring medical help to far-flung mountain communities.
Please do come to the Cocktail Party at St Mary’s in North Sydney on the 21st June, and please let us know in advance.
The driving force behind St Canice’s involvement in the Missions, Father Steve will be there as guest speaker, and to chat with old friends.
Our Christine and Pascal will provide a Musical Interlude.
The evening will give you a chance to learn, to be involved, and if you can afford it, to give a bit.
As any host or hostess would know when planning for guests, you need to know what numbers to expect. How else would you know how many pastry shells to make; how many pounds of prawns or bunches of asparagus to buy; and of course how many bottles of beer and wine to have on the ice.
Please let us know if you intend to come. It will be a very good party.
9 June 2013