The Southern Cross : December 09
The Part of your Catholic family since 1867 Southern Cross 50,000 copies December 2009 Glad to be back Page 5 Mentoring boys Pages 6-7 Sainthood decision soon Australia's Ambassador to theHoly See, Mr Tim Fischer, says he is hopeful of an announcement on the canonisation of Blessed Mary MacKillop before the end of the year. The former Deputy Prime Minister was in Adelaide last week to discuss with Tourism SA officials and local pro d u c e r s his plans for Australia Day celebrations on the left bank of the Tiber River, near St Peter's Basilica. The event will showcase wines from the Coonawarra regionin the south-east of the State where Mar y MacKillop established her first school at Penola. Wines from Coonawarr a 's Zema Estate and DiGiorgio Family Wines have alre a d y been confirmed for the menu fit for papal palates. While in Adelaide, Mr Fischer also made a special visit to the Mary MacKillop statueintheplaza adjacenttoStFrancis Xavier's Cathedral. " I t 's looking good for the clearance of the second miracle in December, " M r Fischer told the Southern Cross. Children of hope By Jenny Brinkwort h This is a true Christmas stor y. A father leaves his family, friends, a good job and decent house in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo to find a safe place for his wife and thre e children. He comes to Australia and applies for a temporary visa but is refused. Along comes Josephite nun and immigration agent Sister Pat Sealey who helps him put his case for ward again -- at no cost -- and this time he succeeds. Now he must try and bring out his family, for whom he is doing all this. Once again Sr Pat plays a pivotal role and on October 19, 2009, after 12 months' separation, the man is reunited with his wife and thre e daughters Nayanthar 7, Nathasha 5 and Nicola 3. This family's story re p r esents the human side of the world-wide problem of refugees being forced to flee their homes for various reasons. Neither Sr Pat nor Joseph (not his real name) will say why the family left Sri Lanka, for fear of reprisal against their families. However Sr Pat stresses that Joseph has very real claims as a refugee according to the Refugee Convention and did not leave for economic reasons. "I want a better future for my children," is all Joseph will say. "I want them to feel safe." The road ahead is far from easy. The family is paying $460 a for tnight for a semi-detached former Housing Trust proper ty in an area with little amenity whereas in Colombo they had a two- storey house. Joseph was head of sales for a water tank company but is doing casual shift work and studying first aid until he "learns the culture" and feels confident to apply for other jobs. His wife Nilani is a teacher and although her English is good, she must u n d e r take language lessons and f u r ther study before finding employment. Two of the children went to Holy Family Convent overlooking the beach in Colombo and now they are attending the local public school where they are part of the new arrivals program. But they have no regrets and are full of optimism for the future. " We are really happy now that we are all together; it was ver y dif ficult when I was alone with the three childre n , " says Nilani. Joseph came by plane to Melbourn e and ended up in Adelaide which he'd heard had similar weather to Colombo. However, visiting them on a 43 degree November day, he admitted that it was a lot hotter than back home. He was ver y grateful to Sr Pat for all her assistance and also for the furniture organised by Father John Shanahan who has warmly welcomed them into the St Mar y ' s parish. For the first time, the family will celebrate Christmas over t l y, rather than as a minority in the predominantly Buddhist Colombo. Joseph was quick to buy a Christmas tree and is looking f o r w a r d to attending Christmas Mass atStBernadette's wheretheyworship each Sunday. His oldest daughter, Nayanthar was hoping she would see snow this Christmas but is impressed by the many playgrounds in Adelaide. Continued on page 5.