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Vietnamese charity boosts bushfire recovery

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Much of the large donation to bushfire relief was raised during the Vietnamese Catholic community’s Christmas Eve Mass. PHOTO: Supplied

Sydney Catholic ethnic community digs deep

Sydney’s Vietnamese Catholic Community has raised a staggering $65,000 for bushfire victims and firefighters who battled the recent crisis.

Archdiocesan vicar general Father Gerald Gleeson accepted the cheque on behalf of the Catholic Social Services Australia Disaster Relief at the Vietnamese Catholic pastoral office in Revesby recently.

The generous donation was raised by the faithful during the Vietnamese Catholic community’s Christmas Eve Mass in Paul Keating Park and Masses throughout January.

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The bushfires, which hit NSW and Victoria from last October to January affected an unprecedented number of people and struck at the hearts of those witnessing it at home and abroad.

The Vietnamese chaplaincy team and executive team including Father Remy Son-Lam and Father Paul Van Chu said they wanted to thank the Rural Fire Service, NSW Fire and Rescue and all emergency service workers who battled at great risk to their own lives to save the homes and lives of others.

The Vietnamese Chaplaincy team and Vietnamese executives team present the cheque for $65,000 to Archdiocesan vicar general Fr Gerald Gleeson.

‘To us, they are heroes’

“To us they are our heroes as the Gospel of St John 15:13 says: ‘Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friend’,” they said in a statement. “RFS and Rescue and all the volunteers have demonstrated a shining life example for all of us to follow.

“We continue to pray for our beautiful country and our people, saved from all natural disaster. God bless all our RFS, NSW Fire and Rescue and all emergency workers.”

Fr Gleeson congratulated the Vietnamese Catholic community, its lay leaders and chaplains, for their “magnificent generosity in raising $65,000 to assist those affected by the bushfires”.

“In this and in so many other ways the Vietnamese community is a dynamic force within our local church,” he said.

Catholic Social Services Australia is a founding organisation of Catholic Emergency Relief Australia established earlier this year to serve as a coordination point for Catholic agencies responding to natural disasters.

It was established initially as a whole-of-church response to help people and communities recover from the bushfire crisis.

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