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Inspirational Father: Danny Abdallah

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Danny Abdallah with organisers of the event at St Brigid's Marrickville. Photo: Supplied
Danny Abdallah (centre) with organisers of the event at St Brigid’s Marrickville. Photo: Supplied

By Judy Hanna

When St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School Marrickville were planning their Father’s Day event this month, they wanted a speaker who was inspirational, someone who could touch the hearts of their fathers and affirm their role.

‘Who better,’ they thought, than Danny Abdallah, the inspirational father who lost three of his children in what is now known as the Oatlands Tragedy of 2020.

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With the help of the Sydney Catholic School’s Life Month committee and the Family Educators of the City-West network, Danny generously agreed to speak on the night of Friday, September 2nd at St Brigid’s Catholic Primary school, Marrickville.

Close to 80 parents braved the cold to hear Danny speak candidly and openly about “how to equip ourselves to be the best dads”.

Danny Abdallah speaking at Marrickville event. Photo: Supplied
Danny Abdallah speaking at Marrickville event. Photo: Supplied

He did this by firstly sharing the way in which he responded to the tragedy that changed his family forever.

“I would lie with my son every night as he cried, ‘why did God take Antony, Angelina and Sienna, Dad?’” Danny explained how he would leave the lights off so that his son wouldn’t see his tears. This interaction would continue nightly for months.

He also spoke about the crucial role of forgiveness in the family’s healing process. “Life is hard, but it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do next! It’s a choice.”

Very few in the room were left dry-eyed, including St Brigid’s principal, Antonella Mazzucco, who commented that “Danny’s presence was one of courage and humbleness. It was a privilege to hear and see his faith in action, despite all he has endured.”

Following Danny’s talk, The Head of New Evangelisation at Sydney Catholic Schools, Dr Robert Haddad gave a short theological reflection on some of the key themes, before opening the floor to Q&A.

Danny generously answered even the most personal questions, from how he keeps his faith, to the impact this tragedy has had, even on his married life.

From what was supposed to be a talk on Fatherhood, what the audience left with was so much more, thanks to the authentic witness of a truly remarkable man.

Judy Hanna is the Family Educator at St Brigid’s Primary School in Marrickville.

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