Besides spiritual formation, our Parish of St. Joseph frequently holds fund raising activities and events such as Fun-fairs, breakfast sales, jumble sales, gala dinners and jogathons, the proceeds from which are utilised for the up keep of the Church and in aid of the poor.
So it did not come as a complete surprise when our Parish Priest, Reverend Father George Packiasamy, came up with the idea of holding a “Durian and Mangosteen Fiesta” to raise funds for the poor.
It was a feat and never attempted before. Fr. George was so taken up with the large scale durian sales going on around Sentul, that he decided to have a go at it and hold a durian fiesta in our Parish premises. When he shared his idea, many were sceptical, but they were willing to give it a try knowing that the proceeds were going to the Ministry of the Poor (MOP). The dates were then set – August 3 and 4, and much publicity was given ahead of the event. The venue – the car park at the main entrance.
F..r George ordered 350 kilogrammes of durians – Musang King, D24 (kahwin) and Durian Kampung. The Musang King was sold for RM36 per kg, D24 was RM16 per kg while the Durian Kampung was sold for RM13 per kg. The mangosteens – 150kg were sold for RM10 per kg. All fruits were transported in from Raub, Pahang.
For those unfamiliar with the fruit, durians are popularly known as the ‘king of fruits’ in Malaysia and are seasonal here. Durians are distinctive for its large size, strong odour and thorn-covered rind. The fruit typically weighs between one to three kilogrammes. The durian also helps to relieve anemia, maintain healthy bones, fight cancer and is sometimes used as traditional medicine.
Some regard the fruit as having a sweet fragrance, whereas others find the aroma overpowering with an unpleasant odour. There’s a saying that goes: “you either love it or hate it! There’s no in between”.
The mangosteen on the other hand is an exotic, tropical fruit with a slightly sweet and sour flavor. It is also seasonal. Originally from Southeast Asia, the fruit can also be found in various tropical regions around the world. Though the mangosteen is a relatively obscure fruit, it shouldn’t be overlooked, as it may offer many health benefits due to its rich supply of nutrients, fiber and unique antioxidants.
That’s for the nutritional value of the fruits, but what happened at St. Joseph’s Church last weekend was an eye-opener.
More than half the fruits were quickly snapped up by parishioners and visitors when the sale began at 7 pm, right after the sunset mass. Fr. George was in thick of action, helping to pry open the durians as he claimed to have lots of experience doing so back in his seminary days. He, however, looked particularly worried as the evening progressed and the fruits were being quickly sold off. He was afraid there would be nothing left for parishioners who would turn up the following day. He made contingency plans. He got some of the parishioners to throw in a breakfast sale as well.
The fruits were completely wiped out by 11am the following day, less than an hour after the balance went on sale. And how much did the Parish earn from the fruit and breakfast sales? RM3,257.20, surpassing the initial target of RM1,500.
At the end of the day, as Fr. George pointed out, it was not just about the proceeds, but the fellowship the event brought about among the parishioners.
Kudos not only to Fr. George who came up with this idea, but also to Morine Gaspar, Jacqueline Lopez and Teresa Shaun who turned that dream into reality through their hard work.
Written by Janice Morais