Toongabbie reflects and takes the conversation forward

By Sr Louise McKeogh FMA, 16 November 2018
Table talk at St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie. Image: Supplied.


September and October have been a busy two months of Social Justice across the Diocese of Parramatta.

Beginning on the 8 September with a celebration gathering of people who have been part of the journey of walking with people seeking protection, we heard amongst other outcomes of local Table talks the story of two amazing students from St Oliver’s Primary, Harris Park on their experience of leadership.

The celebration lunch was about sharing and acknowledging the good work that have happened so far across the Church. It also aimed to build relationships between the different people and communities engaged in this journey, and to harvest their ideas and energy for the second year of action.

RELATED: Table talk – North Rocks Parish

At this event we planned for the way forward according to the needs of agencies on the ground like JRS and we heard from people about the direct effects of the recent changes to policies that impact asylum seekers and refugees.

Stories of people seeking protection and meaningful conversations were held at Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown on 16 September; St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie on 13 October; St Patrick’s Parish, Guildford on 25 October; and the Parish of Richmond on 28 October.

The result has not only been in the privileged space of hearing the human stories of much resilience and hope but also engagement and involvement in local parish social justice groups in all areas.

RELATED: Table talk – Seven Hills Parish

Here is just one reflection of the impact of such encounters from Monica Palmer of St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie:

“It was a privilege and honour to be involved with the Sydney Alliance Refugee Table talks last Saturday 13 October at St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Toongabbie – an initiative of the Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Office.

An invitational night where parishioners and the community came together for some warm soup, cups of tea and rocky road to discuss and become informed about the plight of refugees in our country, Australia.

Table talk participants at St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie, 13 October 2018. Image: Supplied.

The community was so honoured to have two refugees share the story of their extraordinary struggle to leave war and oppression to find safety and opportunity on Australian soil.

Each guest at the Table talks had the opportunity to question, ponder and wonder about the story of refugee. Questions were answered by a representative from the Jesuit Refugee Service.

The night ignited an appetite for being proactive. A chance to listen to the call of the refugee seeking asylum in our great nation. The community of St Anthony’s Toongabbie have heard the call.”

RELATED: Table talk – St Clair Parish

Over the next month our work in this space will continue, but there will also be many opportunities to engage in a home for all. Watch this space…

For more information please contact the Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Office on 02 8838 3458.


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