Somascan Charity raises 100K for communities in need

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A number of priests and clergy from across the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney were also in attendance, including Our Lady of the Rosary Fairfield’s Deacon Benjamin Saliba who was the MC for the event. Photo: Mat De Sousa
A number of priests and clergy from across the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney were also in attendance, including Our Lady of the Rosary Fairfield’s Deacon Benjamin Saliba who was the MC for the event. Photo: Mat De Sousa

An inaugural fundraising event held in Sydney’s west raised the roof while raising more than $100,000 for orphans in the world’s poorest communities.

Organised by Somascan Movement Australia, a local charity based at St Joseph’s parish in Moorebank, hundreds of guests gathered at Liverpool’s Macquarie Paradiso for a night of food, fun and fellowship on 11 February.

The dinner dance aimed to raise funds for Somascan Missions to support the physical and spiritual care of orphaned and needy children in impoverished communities in Mozambique, India and Sri Lanka.

“Living the three pillars of our spirituality: work, devotion and charity, we live in communities like the first Christians, placing everything in common and living as families with those we serve.”

Among the laity, clergy and religious present were Moorebank/Holsworthy parish priest Father Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS, assistant priest Fr Chris de Sousa CRS and Br Sheldon Burke CRS.

They were joined by Somascan Fathers Navis Benjamin CRS and Pradeep Dias CRS, who had recently arrived in Australia from India and Sri Lanka respectively.

A number of priests and clergy from across the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney were also in attendance, including Our Lady of the Rosary Fairfield’s Deacon Benjamin Saliba who was the MC for the event.

Somascan Fathers joined the guests on the dance floor after Salsa duo Gustos and Julieth, above at right, showed how it’s done. Photo: Mat de Sousa
Somascan Fathers joined the guests on the dance floor after Salsa duo Gustos and Julieth, above at right, showed how it’s done. Photo: Mat de Sousa

The atmosphere was electric as guests were entertained throughout the evening by House DJ Mr Jayson, Live music group Finesse and Salsa Duo Gustos and Julieth.

Sketch and mural artist D Muly headlined with his live painting of the Holy Family that was completed over the course of the night.

It was later sold for $25,000, with all funds going towards Somascan Missions.

“Following our founder’s exhortation at remaining with Christ in everything, we hope to continue our good works but our communities rely more and more on the support that we Somascan Fathers and Somascan Movement in Australia provide.”

After a small video presentation highlighting the communities in need of assistance, Fr de Sousa delivered a powerful keynote speech on the work of the Somascan Fathers while drawing on his own missionary experience.

“Living the three pillars of our spirituality: work, devotion and charity, we live in communities like the first Christians, placing everything in common and living as families with those we serve,” said Fr Chris.

“Gathering the youth with us, just as St Jerome Emiliani did, we would collaborate with other religious missionaries, ministering to poor communities in interior parts and doing all that we could to meet the everyday needs of the people.

Sketch Artist D Muly’s painting, which was completed throughout the night, sold for $25,000 at auction. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Sketch Artist D Muly’s painting, which was completed throughout the night, sold for $25,000 at auction. Photo: Mat De Sousa

“Witnessing children passing from hunger and people dying from curable illnesses are a daily occurrence and there didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to fulfil our mission that comprised both catechising, baptising and administering the other Sacraments.

“Following our founder’s exhortation at remaining with Christ in everything, we hope to continue our good works but our communities rely more and more on the support that we Somascan Fathers and Somascan Movement in Australia provide.”

Due to the generosity of many local businesses and individuals, both the silent auction and raffle included over 60 prizes that ranged from beauty products to Red Balloon experiences.

“The dinner dance was a night to remember with so many people from different backgrounds coming together to support the Somascan Movement and parish of St Joseph’s Moorebank.”

Somascan young adult member Kayla Kristin took home the top raffle prize which was an 18ct necklace and gold medallion featuring Our Lady which was donated by Nader Jewellers and valued at over $1500.

“It was a complete joy to witness such immense support for the Somascan Orphanages,” said Kayla.

“Equally, it was a joy to win the first raffle prize; a Miraculous Medal on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

“At an event run by a community with a great love for Our Lady. It was truly meant to be.

Salsa duo Gustos and Juliet entertains the guests before the dance floor opens. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Salsa duo Gustos and Juliet entertains the guests before the dance floor opens. Photo: Mat De Sousa

“I couldn’t be more amazed and grateful.”

Organisers were touched at the willingness of those present to open their hearts to the cause.

During these difficult times, it was heartening to see so many people remaining on the dance floor until the very end.

“It is also a testament to the fatherly care the Somascan missionaries have given to the parishes of Moorebank and Holsworthy.”

“The dinner dance was a night to remember with so many people from different backgrounds coming together to support the Somascan Movement and parish of St Joseph’s Moorebank,” said Adam Daniel, member of Somascan Movement Australia.

“The night was a huge success due to the generosity of the attendees.

“The vibe was amazing with everyone in happy spirits dancing.

Fr Mathew CRS, below, draws one of the 30 winners of the Raffle. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Fr Mathew CRS, below, draws one of the 30 winners of the Raffle. Photo: Mat De Sousa

“Praise God for it being such a success.”

As the MC, Deacon Ben was impressed by the community feel of such a major event and credits the Somascan’s charism of Paternal care.

“The Somascan movement is growing in Australia and this was typified by the support, both personally and financially on the evening,” said Deacon Ben.

“The $100,000 will go towards much needed support in communities run by the Somascan Fathers in Mozambique, India and Sri Lanka.”

“Thanks be to God for this amazing group of young men and women that put so much time and effort into ensuring the evening ran smoothly.

“It is also a testament to the fatherly care the Somascan missionaries have given to the parishes of Moorebank and Holsworthy.”

The $100,000 will go towards much needed support in communities run by the Somascan Fathers in Mozambique, India and Sri Lanka.

Somascan young adults and their families enjoy a night of food, fun and fundraising. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Somascan young adults and their families enjoy a night of food, fun and fundraising. Photo: Mat De Sousa

This includes providing a car for the Suryodaya Boys Centre in Bangalore, India, to assist with supplies and provisions for the orphans in their care.

As Mozambique, the fourth poorest nation in the world, continues to collapse under the pressure of the pandemic and Sri Lanka entering into another food crisis, these funds will go a long way in providing care and dignity to the most vulnerable.

“Equally, it was a joy to win the first raffle prize; a Miraculous Medal on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Somascan Movement of Australia is an Australian Catholic alliance between Somascan Religious and Somascan Laity for the advancement of reforming the Christianity of youth, single adults, married couples and families back to the sanctity of apostolic times by providing care and catechesis.

For more information on Somascan Movement Australia and its outreach during the pandemic go to http://www.somascan.org.au/ or email [email protected]

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