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The Southern Cross : November 2011
Page 8 November 2011 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross | Living Catholic The Southern Cross continues its Living Catholic page which features articles and photographs highlighting the many good works that often go unnoticed but make a big difference to people's lives and to the community in general. Parishes are invited to submit suggestions for stories that demonstrate in a practical sense Living Catholic. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org St David's Parish School is rallying behind an Adelaide woman with triplets who is battling stage IV breast cancer and has travelled to China for critical treatment. Annette Smedley is 37 years old. She is married to St David's Year 2 teacher Ben and they have five-year-old children Lucy, James and Anthony -- all in Reception at the Tea Tree Gully primary school. The family left for China on November 5 for medical treatment -- not available in Australia -- called SPDT (Systemic Photo- Dynamic Therapy). The treatment costs about $50,000 to start and could give Annette more time with her young family. St David's principal Christine Comas- Preece said staff had donated $4600 to the family, who are expected to be living in China for the next 12 weeks. The school's Parents and Friends Committee also organised presents for the triplets to open on Christmas morning. "The school community is fully behind Ben in helping him support Annette and his family in the best possible way," said Mrs Comas-Preece. Last weekend (October 30) family and friends gathered at Thorndon Park, in Paradise, to wish the family well before their travels. "We have been overwhelmed by the genuine concern and support of so many people," said Annette. Annette first battled cancer when she was 26 years old and was diagnosed with non- Hodgkin's lymphoma. Last year a 3.5cm tumor was detected in her breast. She had both her breasts removed. But in September, advanced breast cancer cells were found in the fluid around her heart. She has had 15 cycles of chemotherapy in her life and counting. Visit Annette's blog at www.nettystrio. tumblr.com to follow her progress while she's in China. People wishing to help Annette can contact Marta on 0411 449 080. THE RIGHT LANGUAGE: Greenacres/Walkerville Parish Priest Father Vinh Quang Tran at Walkerville's St Monica's Church with (L-R) Ben, Ben, Natasha, Jack, Lily, Kiara and James. Photo: Stephen Gray Listening to the children Parishes across Adelaide are using simple but effective ways to involve children in liturgy and in the overall workings of the church. At the Croydon Park Parish, a group of about seven children aged 10 to 14 gather each month to discuss with parish priest Father Maurice Shinnick OAM how to cater for the community's youth. They are the Junior Parish Council (JPC) and at the moment they are planning a Christmas Advent Calendar to hand out at Mass. The council is the only one of its kind in South Australia, says Fr Shinnick. "It's about supporting and giving young people a voice in the Church," he says. Fr Shinnick, who initiated the JPC at Croydon Park four years ago, says the number of altar servers has grown from about 5 to 50 since the JPC was established. "It's been very successful." In the Greenacres/Walkerville Parish, the number of children in the pews has doubled to 110 over the past 16 months since the arrival of Father Vinh Quang Tran. More than 100 children a week attend his services with their parents and are involved in sacramental preparation including Liturgy of the Word for Children. A monthly Mass is also held at St Monica's and St Martin's churches. An added bonus for the children is the distribution of chocolate frogs. On average 1kg of chocolate is distributed among young parishioners each weekend after Mass at both parish churches. "The chocolate frog is a symbol to the children that they are loved by God and they are welcome in his house," Fr Vinh says. "The chocolate speaks their language." "He has pulled the community together," says parishioner Rose Valenti. "The frogs certainly bring some fun and lightness to the Mass," says Ms Valenti, also a teacher at St Martin's School (R-7). "But the main reason for the influx is the Liturgy of the Word that Fr Vinh has set up," she says. The parish children have an active role in Sunday Mass services through a children's procession before they spend time in the church hall taking part in a child-friendly version of the Liturgy of the Word. The children also address the Mass on their prayers and thoughts during their special liturgy. Rebecca DiGirolamo St David's lends a hand HOPE: The Smedley family (clockwise) Lucy, James, Ben, Annette and Anthony in Adelaide last month before leaving for China for Annette's breast cancer treatment. Photo: Shannon Artz