This year’s Street Feast again celebrated the inspiring work of the Church in its outreach day in and day out to those who are doing it tough.
More than 100 volunteers welcomed charitable organisations and their guests from across the city to an alfresco banquet at St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt of barbecued meats, falafel, salads, and dessert lovingly prepared by members of the St Merkorious Charity.
An initiative of the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Justice and Peace Office with the PAYCE Foundation and Brooks Community Engagement, the afternoon began with an acknowledgement to country Michael Walker in the Gadigal language and continued with entertainment provided by live musicians and the Sydney Street Choir.
“A big part of the problem is the isolation and lack of social connection so this celebrates the very simple acts of humanity which are important in building trust with the people we serve.”
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP welcomed the guests to the lunch and led them in grace before the start of the one of the biggest feel-good events of the Church in Sydney held outside the cathedral each year since 2017.
The annual Street Feast on 18 November was held to celebrate the sixth World Day of the Poor, with the theme ‘For your sakes Christ became poor’ (2 Corinthians 8:9).
PAYCE Foundation director Dominic Sullivan, told The Catholic Weekly that the event is a reminder that poverty is real in Sydney.
“A big part of the problem is the isolation and lack of social connection so this celebrates the very simple acts of humanity which are important in building trust with the people we serve,” he said.
Michael Emmanual, a member of the Sydney Street Choir and David’s Place said the relaxed afternoon was “love in action”.
“It’s exactly what Jesus would want. Gathering the highest people in society to be with people on the streets, to be able to share a good meal and music together, these are the universal languages of love,” he said.
With a Street Feast for World Day of the Poor now being held in Parramatta diocese as well, Fr Peter Smith told The Catholic Weekly that he hoped to see it spread further afield to every diocese in the country.
“… wonderful to see so many people come together and share a meal, connect and feel a sense of belonging who are struggling or need a helping hand.”
“It’s a great celebration of Catholic charities who do such good work, often unnoticed, every single day of the year,” he added.
Adriana Pielak, community engagement consultant at Brooks Community Engagement, said it was “wonderful to see so many people come together and share a meal, connect and feel a sense of belonging who are struggling or need a helping hand”.
Also present was Natasha Maclaren-Jones, the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, representing Premier Dominic Perrottet.
She thanked the organisations and volunteers involved in the “fantastic way for everyone to come together and meet new friends”.