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Monday, May 20, 2024
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400km road trip to help friends

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Left to right: Our Lady of Fatima, Kingsgrove, representatives Paul Callaghan, Fr Casey Ureta and Carmelo Furfaro

That’s an awful lot of snags.

Parishioners of Our Lady of Fatima, Kingsgrove, combined their love for the ubiquitous sausage sizzle and for their drought-affected country cousins to raise a whopping $12,000 at a recent fundraiser.

Parish priest Fr Casey Ureta contacted his friend Fr Reynold Jaboneta of St Lawrence’s Church, Coonabarabran, to offer assistance after seeing a Facebook post by the latter asking for prayers for his community suffering effects of the prolonged drought.

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Within two weeks a barbeque was organised, donations received, and cheque drawn up.

Then Fr Casey hopped into his car with parishioners Paul Callaghan and Carmelo Furfaro and began a seven-hour road trip to hand-deliver the gift to Coonabarabran’s St Vincent de Paul store.

“Television images have brought the ravages of the four-year drought into lounge rooms, but the reality of seeing starving animals and of walking on fields devoid of topsoil was confronting,” Fr Casey said.

“Animals desperately seeking food and water were a constant hazard on the road. Many kangaroos were casualties.”

Upon arrival Fr Reynold and his parishioners explained to the city visitors the difficulties being endured: the dam is at 20 per cent capacity, meaning that a shower is a once-a-week luxury and no watering of gardens may be done.

Lois Sutton, St Vincent de Paul store manager, said the generous donation would be used to help struggling families with groceries, fuel costs, rates, and medical bills.

“It was a beautiful experience,” said Fr Casey, who was inspired so see visitors come from Dubbo to also bring gifts to the Coonabaraban community.

“But the real gift was meeting inspiring people holding on to hope and determined to help each other through this crisis.”

The trio returned to Kingsgrove after their weekend road trip “physically exhausted, but spiritually revitalised”, feeling that they had received much more than their parish had given.

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