Three years (2015-207) vision and mission statements “Towards Strengthening Our Faith Community” has inspired, motivated and given us the direction for our parish and parishioners to grow spiritually. We as parishioners have brought life to our parish and fostered a sense of belonging for all parishioners through various activities, faith formations, events and fellowships. These have contributed towards building and strengthening of our community within the parish and through the outreach efforts. Our three-year faith journey with vision statements have brought our parish to the height of celebrating the First World Day of the Poor cum Parish Family Day on 19 November from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm. On this auspicious day there were more than 2000 people who walked in and out of the celebrations through out the day.
When the Holy Father announced the First World Day of the Poor on the feast of St Anthony of Padua (13th June) with the theme, “Let us Love, Not with the Words but with Deeds” I was thinking and reflecting about what to do at the parish level. After much thought and prayers, I called upon a few representatives from five ministries to work towards this event. Among the five ministries were the Fundraising Committee, Catechetical Ministry, Parish Integral Human Development Ministry (PIHDM), Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) and Youth Ministry.
Initially, we just wanted to celebrate the First World Day of the Poor by inviting 1000 poor people living in the surrounding areas of our parish – the locals as well as the foreigners and not forgetting our own Myanmar Zomi community. The PIHD members were assigned to collaborate with the Parish Catechetical Ministry to coordinate the arrangements for food and other activities for the poor children and their families. We served lunch for 1000 poor people. In addition to this, each individual was given free coupons worth of RM10-20 to enable them to participate in the various games and also to purchase food/drinks and various other items from the jumble sales. They were also given 2-4-raffle tickets worth of RM4-8 each to give them the opportunity to stand a chance of winning exciting prizes from among the more than 100 exciting prizes that were ready to be won that day. Our own catechism students too had an opportunity to mingle around and have a meal together with these poor families.
The Fund-Raising committee was solely in charge of selling the raffle tickets and coupons. They sold all the tickets by distributing them to the BEC leaders and some individual parishioners. They managed to sell all the 30,000 printed raffle tickets just before the first draw took place. All those who came for the event purchased the coupons and participated in games and bought food/drinks at reasonable prices from the various booths such as ice-kacang, ice-cream, hot and soft drinks, rojak, burgers, etc. The assigned BECs managed to sell off all their food and beverages. The proceeds from the sales of raffle tickets and coupons will be utilized for the installation of air conditioning units in our Dewan Monsignor Anthony Thomas and other refurbishment being planned. This project is expected to commence in January/February 2018. We also invited three live bands to entertain the people who came for the event through out the day. All those present enjoyed their performances.
These past two months the Fundraising and 1st World Day of the Poor committees worked around the clock to make this occasion a memorable and significant one. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Mt 25:23). On behalf of the organising committees I take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported, contributed, donated and prayed for the success of this event. I too would like to express my heart-felt gratitude to all parishioners for assisting and working with me since June 2014. Let’s commit ourselves as parishioners of St. Joseph with the spirit of New Evangelisation for the next three year(2018-2020). “As for my family and me, we shall serve the Lord,” (Joshua 24:15)”.
Fr. George Packiasamy