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Parish-based charity raises just under 200k for the orphaned

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Hundreds of guests came together for a night of faith, food and fun to raise funds for Somascan Missions in Sri Lanka, India and Mozambique. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Hundreds of guests came together for a night of faith, food and fun to raise funds for Somascan Missions in Sri Lanka, India and Mozambique. Photo: Mat De Sousa

Doubling its donations from 2022, the Somascan Missions Dinner Dance has raised just under $200,000 for orphans in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Organised by Somascan Missions, a local Australian Charity based at St Joseph’s parish in Moorebank, 450 guests gathered again at Liverpool’s Macquarie Paradiso for a fun night of food, fundraising and fellowship on 10 February.

Moorebank/Holsworthy parish priest Father Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS, assistant priest Fr Chris de Sousa CRS and Deacon Sheldon Burke CRS were joined by Religious and Laity from New South Wales and Western Australia, further building upon the night’s community spirit.

“Paying tribute to the cultures of the Somascan orphans from India and Sri Lanka, students from Nrityalaya Dance School in Holsworthy captivated the room with a Bollywood floor show full of colour.”

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Also in attendance were over a dozen priests from across the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney including Fr Benjamin Saliba, Assistant Priest at St John the Baptist Bonnyrigg, who returned to MC the event for the second time.

Former fundraiser favourites DJ Mr Jayson and Live music group Finesse kept the dance floor electrified all night as Sketch and mural artist D Muly returned to live paint an image of Our Lady of Fatima in honour of the Somascans’ strong Marian devotion.

Paying tribute to the cultures of the Somascan orphans from India and Sri Lanka, students from Nrityalaya Dance School in Holsworthy captivated the room with a Bollywood floor show full of creativity and colour.

Performers from Nrityalaya Dance School in Holsworthy were headliners for the Somascan Missions Dinner Dance held at Liverpool’s Macquarie Paradiso on 10 February. Photo Mat De Sousa
Performers from Nrityalaya Dance School in Holsworthy were headliners for the Somascan Missions Dinner Dance held at Liverpool’s Macquarie Paradiso on 10 February. Photo Mat De Sousa

Delivering the Keynote speech for the evening, Fr Chris de Sousa CRS told those gathered that the night was “a reminder for each and every one of us that God wants to number all amongst his dear children, that he leaves no one orphaned, that he leaves no one abandoned.”

“From your benevolent generosity at last year’s Somascan missions fundraiser dinner dance, where we were able to purchase not just one vehicle, which is what we had hoped for, but a second vehicle for our new orphanages in India,” said Fr Chris.

“We also saw the construction of a new seminary and orphanage in Negombo, Sri Lanka.”

“The assistant priest recounted … their first-hand experience of the political, economic and social crisis that has crippled the island nation.”

Just one week earlier, Fr Chris was himself visiting several Somascan communities in Sri Lanka on a Mission trip with three Somascan young adults from Moorebank parish.

The assistant priest recounted in his address their first-hand experience of the political, economic and social crisis that has crippled the island nation.

“Army checkpoints, daily scheduled power cuts, vehicles lined up for only 20 litres of rationed fuel per week and a food shortage that has driven prices to exorbitant levels, leaving the majority of the population of 22 million hungry,” said Fr Chris.

Both the silent auction and raffle included 50 items, worth over $25,000, and a top prize of an all expenses paid holiday to the Maldives. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Both the silent auction and raffle included 50 items, worth over $25,000, and a top prize of an all expenses paid holiday to the Maldives. Photo: Mat De Sousa

“As these continue to cripple a nation that was steeped in a 25-year civil war, natural disaster, terrorist attacks and a corrupt socialist government, we seek out efforts to help educate needy youth out of their poverty by giving them a chance at the few possible jobs available while forming apostles out of the very children that we care for.”

Due to the generosity of many local businesses and individuals, both the silent auction and raffle included 50 items, worth over $25,000, and a top prize of an all expenses paid holiday to the Maldives.

After missing out on the inaugural dinner dance in 2022, Moorebank parishioner Simon Karam said that this year’s Dinner Dance night will remain in his and his wife’s hearts forever.

“There was entertainment, dancing, prizes, laughter, food, drinks, desserts, a heart-warming speech by Fr Chris, with Fr Ben as MC, and did we mention the food? There was lots of it!” said Simon.

“The almost $200,000 will go towards … financial support in communities run by the Somascan Fathers in Mozambique, India and Sri Lanka.”

“We are so proud to be a part of a night filled with such Joy.

“We witnessed the charity from all the guests as a result of the efforts from the Somascan Mission.”

The almost $200,000 will go towards much needed financial support in communities run by the Somascan Fathers in Mozambique, India and Sri Lanka.

This includes the construction of a new orphanage in Sri Lanka and a Sponsorship program, called Somascan Guardians, which will help educate and care for hundreds of orphans across all three nations.

For more information on Somascan Missions go to www.somascanmissions.org.au or email [email protected]

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