To commemorate the Fifth World Day of the Poor on 14 November, the Catholic Church of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains will distribute special hampers to our disadvantaged brothers and sisters in our local communities.
“Normally, we celebrate this important day [World Day of the Poor] with a special festival meal where we all join together in solidarity,” Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta explained in a video message.
The festive meal, dubbed the Parramatta Street Feast, was last celebrated in November 2019, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s wonderful that on such occasions, we can all sit down together as equals and share in our common dignity as children of the same God,” Bishop Vincent added.
“This year, because of COVID-19, of course, a festival meal will not be possible.
“So, in the immediate future, special hampers will be delivered to our sisters and brothers who are disadvantaged and too often are not given the love and compassion they deserve.”
With the support of the sponsors of the Parramatta Street Feast – the PAYCE Foundation and Paynter Dixon – agencies, ministries and parishes of the Diocese of Parramatta will distribute hampers that will include long-life food items, special treats such as a box of chocolates and a personal hygiene kit.
The gift packs will be delivered throughout the week of the World Day of the Poor, and will be delivered through the regular networks of partner agencies of CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, the St Vincent de Paul Society through their Vinnies Van, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and Jesuit Social Services (JSS) in conjunction with Holy Family Parish, Mt Druitt.
Referencing Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of the Poor, Bishop Vincent urged that we as the Church are called to meet the poor and disadvantaged where they are, especially during this time of pandemic.
“We cannot wait for the poor to knock on our door; we need urgently to reach them in their homes, in hospitals and nursing homes, on the streets and in the dark corners where they sometimes hide, in shelters and reception centres. It is important to understand how they feel, what they are experiencing and what their hearts desire.
“Let’s reach out at this special time of friendship and compassion for all those who are suffering disadvantage. Let’s all of us strive to live out Pope Francis’s message.
“May Christ Jesus who became poor in solidarity with us, fill our hearts that we are emboldened to take ever more direct action to humbly serve all those in need.”