Wilcannia-Forbes Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green says he is “inspired” by support from Sydney’s Catholic communities including the latest nice surprise – a $10,000 donation to the diocese from St Martha’s Parish, Strathfield.
Federal and state government aid, private donations and offers of help in kind have begun flooding into his diocese which encompasses the state’s worst drought-affected areas.
“I’m just so happy to feel that a parish community in the city is thinking about us out here and sending a donation, it’s so wonderful,” he told The Catholic Weekly.
“The generosity of people in times of need is just amazing and a real shot in the arm for farmers and others struggling with the affects of drought out this way.
“Any funds we receive will go directly to families in need.”
The generous donation from St Martha’s came shortly after a $10,000 donation from Our Lady of Fatima parish, Peakhurst.
St Martha’s parishioners also contributed $6000 through a bucket collection over one weekend to the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Drought Appeal – bringing their total gift to drought-affected communities to $16,000.
“It is so good to feel we’re not quite as alone in this as we might feel sometimes,” said Bishop Macbeth-Green.
“To have Catholic communities in the city wanting to support Catholic communities doing it tough is just so inspiring.”
Last week the Bishop issued a pastoral message in response to the drought, asking his Catholic community to “remember our faith” amid heartbreaking but necessary decisions made by those living off the land.
“As we cull stock and cart water, let us remember what our faith reveals for us about the reality of suffering and the challenge of hard times,” he wrote.
“We know that suffering is part of the experience of human existence…better than most city folk.
“We are not alone. Jesus knows about ‘taking a flogging’. His faith and courage in the face of unimaginable suffering gives us strength.”
The Bishop also recommended praying to the diocese’ patroness, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, donating through the diocese’s website, and reaching out to other church congregations to collaborate on helping those most in need.
Bishop Macbeth-Green’s Prayer for Rain
God our Father, You created our earth to nourish us and give us life
And Jesus told us to ask and it will be given to us
We ask now in Faith, Hope and Love that you look with favour on our drought-stricken land.
Our starving animals and failing produce.
Sustain, strengthen and give new heart to our farmers and all those affected by this drought
In your loving providence send abundance rain soon
And renew the faith of your people and the face of our land.
We make this prayer with many, through Jesus Christ who gives new life to all living things.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help – pray for us
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – pray for us