Snacking for Cruz Blanca and Dong Danh village charities

By Jordan Grantham, 2 October 2017
Elizabeth Flynn, from the Marian Community of Reconciliation (Fraternas), Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta and Sr Lucy Vo CMR, of the Missionary Sisters of Mary, Queen of the World. Photo: Diocese of Parramatta

Diocese of Parramatta clergy and staff held a fundraising afternoon tea on 4 August 2017, organised by Amy Donohue and Rita Akanis.

A scrumptious spread of baked treats encouraged donations to flow for the support of two worthy causes – Cruz Blanca, Peru and a remote Vietnamese village.

Elizabeth Flynn from the Marian Community of Reconciliation (Fraternas), spoke about the Faternas’ work in Cruz Blanca, which is a series of camps for poor children in Lima, as well as an outreach mission project in Lima and Huaraz, Peru.

Approximately 2000 children participate in the camps annually. Four two-week camps are held in the summer school holidays and briefer camps operate during the winter school holidays.

“Something else that’s really important about Cruz Blanca is that it teaches children a series of values which they really don’t grow up with – so they learn to be polite to one another, to respect. Every day they learn a different virtue that they try to work on,” Elizabeth said.

“This is what some of the mothers say ‘It’s amazing – my child came home and he did what he was told, he made his bed, or he wanted to say grace before we had lunch.”

“For some of them, the most exciting thing is that there’s a tap that works – you see the excitement in their faces,” she said.

Cruz Blanca also helps groups abroad perform works of charity for the slums.

“We’re able to organise missions, for people who want to help as a group,” Elizabeth said.

One such Cruz Blanca mission was a building project for Australian pilgrims on the way to World Youth Day Rio 2013.

580 young Australians spent a week in Sydney engaging in a variety of projects including building 4 staircases through different zones of one of Lima’s slums, which is a key step for the government to recognise the area’s potential for electricity services. Prior to this work, locals scrambled up and down the rocky slopes, a dangerous way of travel, especially during rain.

Australian WYD Rio 2013 building stairs as part of a Cruz Blanca mission. Image: Supplied.

Sr Lucy Vo of the Sisters of Mary, Queen of the World also spoke to those gathered about a worthwhile cause – the hardships faced by Catholics in Vietnam due to communist oppression.

Sr Lucy recently returned to teaching at St Patrick’s Primary School, Guildford from six months at the Apostolic Nunciature in Canberra.

She described the gruelling work of the sisters in the remote village of Dong Danh, high in the mountainous Kim Boi district, which has no access to electricity.

Geoff Officer, Chief of Operations and Finance for the Diocese of Parramatta congratulated Elizabeth and Sr Lucy on their work and thanked those gathered for their generosity.

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