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or 8418 2500
What brings you joy?
It’s a good question to ponder... At Hutt St Centre throughout the year we deal with
people’s intimate struggles with homelessness; extreme sadness, loneliness and stories from
an often bleak past. But we also share in much joy and achievement, celebrating many
steps forward and personal successes.
As Christmas approaches we like to reflect on that joy, and with your help
we hope to continue this through the new year.
I have been housed for
5 months now after being
homeless for 23 years. When
I’m finished up for the day
at the Centre and want to
leave, I can say, “I’m going
home now”. I’ve never been
able to say that before.
Small miracles and kind-hearted donations
are among the stories to emerge from
Catholic communities hit by the velocity
and ferocity of last month’s Pinery fire.
“There was so much devastation but there
were so many miracles,” said Monsignor
John Swann, from the Kapunda parish.
The fire came within metres of the Catholic
Church at Hamley Bridge and was 5km
away from 800 students at Xavier College
when a wind change sent it in the opposite
“The scariest part was the thick smoke;
it just became so dark,” said Mgr Swann.
“It was really scary and a lot of people
were panicked. The speed of the fire was
Mgr Swann bunkered down with his
brother in Kapunda while the fire encircled
the town, leaving it remarkably unscathed
compared to its neighbours.
He said there were houses where the fire
had come within metres and others nearby
that had been completely razed.
In Hamley Bridge, Our Lady of the Nativity
Church and the adjacent 101-year-old
presbytery were left untouched while two
houses north of the church were gutted by
“I saw this huge wall of fire coming
through the paddock; it was so fast; it
zipped right past (the presbytery) and went
straight across the front of the church ,”
said Father John Watherston, from the
Northern Light parish.
The parish was hit hard with the blaze
decimating Freeling, Mallala and Hamley
Bridge. Two people died, 90 sought
medical help and 87 homes and buildings
were destroyed, and tens of thousands of
hectares of land and livestock were burnt
by the fire which began on November 25.
“In some way or another, all our
parishioners have been affected,” said
He said some parishioners, including the
McCabe family from Hamley Bridge, had
lost everything. “Parishioners in Mallala
lost a fair bit too.”
Fr Watherston said truckloads of feed
had been donated by south-east and
Eyre Peninsula farmers with parishioners
like Paul and Cathy Angus from Barabba
benefitting from the state-wide generosity
despite their loss. “There is a bit of a silver
lining to some extent.”
He said in coming weeks and months
parishioners would mostly need monetary
donations to compensate for insurance
shortfalls on expensive farming equipment
and lost feed.
Xavier College, in the Gawler Belt, had
flames reach 5kms from its perimeter
with at least 20 school families seriously
affected by the fire.
More than 800 students were ushered
into the College gymnasium the day the
fire broke as plans to return them home
safely were arranged. Six school buses
were cancelled due to road closures and
at least two students were separated from
family caught on the other side of the fire.
Staff members too have been affected.
The school raised $5,000 in 10 days for
the bushfire appeal earlier this month.
St Brigid’s School, Evanston, enacted its
bushfire action plan and students spent
the afternoon in the school hall.
Adelaide Vicar General Father Philip
Marshall has written to the Northern Light
Parish community offering the diocese’s
prayers and deepest sympathies.
“In these terrible moments, I want you to
know that you are deeply and completely
held in our prayers, very much in our
hearts and minds as we seek to be in
solidarity with you and your neighbours,”
Fr Marshall said parishioners across the
diocese would be encouraged to support
the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Bushfire
South Australia’s St Vincent de Paul
Society chief executive officer David Wark
said South Australians had been very
generous, but the organisation still needed
“The people we are speaking to in the
relief centres all have a unique set of
circumstances and needs,” said Mr Wark.
“Financial donations provide us with the
flexibility to provide tailored support to
help people get back on their feet as
quickly as possible with dignity.”
Mr Wark said Vinnies would also provide
a range of mid to long-term assistance
for people affected by the bushfires, in
addition to the State Government appeal.
“Part of our long-term assistance
will include financial support, budget
counselling, assistance with bills, food
vouchers, and other material assistance
such as furniture and clothing to support
those affected by this tragic event,” he
To donate call 13 18 12 or visit
Hope, generosity rise from ashes
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
CLOSE CALL: A burnt out tree shows how close the Pinery fire came to Our Lady of Nativity Church in Hamley Bridge, one of
the worst affected areas.
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