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Our Diocesan Work amongst those on the Margins

22 July, 2021

We all want to be a part of a group of people who are truly doing great work. It’s been almost a year and a half since I joined the work here in the Diocese. One of the first conversations I had when I started working with the Diocese was with Joy Philippi, Executive Officer – Mission, she said to me, ‘this is a great church’, and it truly is. A prime example of this is the work being done by the Diocesan Ministries, through your help.

Our Nation has four recurring themes, year-in-year-out, in its National life: reconciliation, foreigners/immigration, farmers and a fresh start for those who have previously been incarcerated. The stories of our Diocesan Ministries is the story of us, the Diocese, living in the mission of the church being co-responsible for the mission. You see our church and our Diocese isn’t just posting on social media or talking about these four important themes in our national life and taking no action or no responsibility to be a part of a solution. We are actively putting up our hand and saying we will do something about these issues and we will be Christ’s hands to those on the margins of these issues, i.e. the Woorabinda Ministry (our Reconciliation work), Stella Marist Seafarer’s Centre (our work supporting foreigners on our soil), Western Pastoral Ministry (farmers and those out west) and our Prison Chaplains (our ministry to those needing a second chance).

Bishop Michael continually exhorts us to be ‘co-responsible for the mission’. Though you are not on the front lines, your needed financial support is ensuring this vital work takes place in our Diocese. I’ve asked each of our key ministry personnel to tell you the good work that is being achieved on the ground because of your generosity. I know you will be encouraged by the impact of the great work being done.

Peter Cahill, Stella Maris Seafarers:

“During 2020 the Stella Maris centre in Mackay through your support and the centre volunteers prepared, packed and delivered over 7000 welfare packs to the crews of the vessels calling at our Ports. We filled the packs with what the seafarers would buy if they came to shore: writing pad and pen, razor, socks, toothbrush, shampoo, a bag of sweets of some descriptions, and personal hygiene products. These packs speak volumes to them that someone is thinking of them, they are not alone, and are not forgotten. With 2021 half over, Stella Maris has continued in preparing and delivering 1220 welfare packs to the crew of over 60 vessels.”

You can hear more stories from Peter by using this link and watching the following video on YouTube:

You can contribute to the work amongst Seafarers by making a donation here:

Coordinator, Western Pastoral Ministry:

“The area we work in is a unique place, particularly because of the travel, the great distances you have to cover to connect with people. You enable this work to exist. Your donations help to provide vouchers for food, chemist supplies, fuel as living out West is not an easy life. Your gifts are also helpful for the towns as the vouchers we buy will support the businesses in the towns that may be struggling. Your gifts are most welcome.”

Sr Cecilia Prest mfic, Woorabinda:

“We had a sale in our little Op Shop with many locals coming in for dirt cheap warm clothing, sheets, blankets and crockery etc. One young lady in her twenties who has a mental disability that makes it hard for her to manage independently was desperate to find a size 26 warm top and we actually found one for her, plus some warm long-sleeved tees. I also had some hotel-style soaps and shampoo etc., which she was so happy with. As I drove her home, she turned to me beaming and said,” You gave me nice toiletries!” I have to say I felt really humbled, knowing how the rest of us take these things for granted. One of the little girls who received a blanket last week came up to me in the Op Shop today and tugged my arm, saying, ‘Thank you for my blanket’.

I want to thank the many people who help support me. It’s wonderful; everyone here knows that what I do and how I help is made possible by donations from outside. It’s good for the church to be involved with people and show them that we love them, that God loves them and to be here with them, walk and stand with them and encourage them.”

You can hear more stories from Sr Cecilia by using this link and watching the following video on YouTube:

You can help Sr Cecilia do her work in Woorabinda by making a donation here:

Paul Worthington, Prison Ministry:

“In recent times the Federal government’s policy of deporting people convicted of crimes back to their country of birth has resulted in requests for clothing assistance from men facing this situation. When released from prison, the Australian Border Force picks them up and takes them immediately to a detention centre until they can be transferred.

This year we helped one man who needed clothes as he would otherwise have only had the clothes he was arrested in when Border Force picked him up. We are limited to providing only two sets of clothes into the inmate’s property. This man sought me out in the block one day to express his appreciation for the clothing we provided. We chatted about his return to his home country. Unlike some others, he was looking forward to returning home so he could help his aged parents.

Another man facing the same situation had other difficulties. His family are all in Australia and he has limited contact with them. He only has a scant knowledge of his native tongue. We are arranging for him to have visits from a former countryman to improve his language skills before he is deported. Again, when he is released to Border Force, we will arrange clothes for him.”

You can hear more stories from Paul and his team by using this link and watching the following video on YouTube:

Bishop Michael also added that your acknowledgement of our Central West parishes is a great encouragement. You are saying their need for nourishment in their faith is important to us as a Diocesan family. The support given through this appeal helps them to keep functioning and says that they are remembered and a valued part of our Diocese.

Thank you for your continued support. May you be encouraged by these stories of impact and messages of thanks. You help make this possible. If you are in a position to help at this time, I ask that you prayerfully consider making a donation to help continue this great work.

You can contribute to the lives of those on the margins by making a donation here: 100% of your donation goes directly to the great work of these ministries.