Home' The Southern Cross : April 2014 Contents Page 8 April 2014
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.
Behind the doors of an obscure shop front
on Port Rd sit a row of desperate refugees
waiting for a helping hand from a small
team of dedicated volunteers.
Their most pressing needs of food,
electricity and gas are met each Tuesday
and Thursday by a team of 14 volunteers
at the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVdP)
Refugee and Migrant Centre in Allenby
In the last six months of last year, the
centre's volunteers assisted 974 refugee
families, providing them with emergency
food, clothing, toiletries, baby packs,
blankets, payment for essentials services,
and housing and immigration information.
"It's people in really desperate need and
the needs are mostly for food because
income is limited," says the centre's part-
time coordinator, Bob Hart.
Some are mainstream refugees with
permanent residency, others are asylum
seekers who travelled to Australia by boat
and are out of detention on bridging visas,
and some are awaiting deportation. Most
of the refugees assisted by the centre have
been in Australia for less than two years.
Bob says those refugees on bridging
visas receive 89 per cent of the New
Start allowance, without concessions for
"Sometimes their payment has been
suspended and they need to be deported
and they have no income at all," he says.
"Sometimes main stream refugees who
have been here for a few years run into
financial problems, often because of a
debt for an airline ticket to sponsor a
family member out to Australia. A lot of the
women are not well educated and have
very little budgeting skills."
The inability to help more of those in need
is frustrating for Bob and the volunteers.
"We can only help them once every
four months because we have limited
resources," says Bill Braithwaite, from the
Aberfoyle Park Parish. He started helping
out six months ago.
Bob has been coordinating the centre for
the past 13 years.
He is a Hindmarsh parishioner who began
helping Vietnamese and Cambodian
refugees as part of the SVdP Hindmarsh
Conference. In 1966 he joined the SVdP
Migrant and Refugee Committee, which
started off in the 1960s at the Pennington
Seacombe Gardens parishioner Pat
Green volunteered eight years ago after
an association with the Circle of Friends
group. "You have no idea when you
first meet people what they have been
through," says Pat. "I didn't know about
places like refugee camps or why or what
people were fleeing from."
Claire Doyle, from Brighton Parish, says:
"It's the face of suffering that we see here."
SVdP Migrant and Refugee Committee
president Dorota Dudzinski said her six
years of volunteering at the centre had
changed her perspective on life and given
her the opportunity to live out her faith.
"By giving refugees a smile, some material
assistance and to listen to their story, I
think, is a great opportunity to show what
it means to be Christian."
Monetary donations can be made to the
St Vincent de Paul Migrant and Refugee
Centre by calling 8340 3053 (Monday
morning, Tuesday and Thursday).
For at least the past two decades, Dawn
Nolan has coordinated the Palm Sunday
procession at the Clearview/Kilburn
The 82 year old says it's getting harder to
source palm leaves, once in abundance
across the quarter-acre blocks of north-
east Adelaide suburbia. It's an experience
shared by most parishes today.
Despite this, Dawn says, the Palm Sunday
procession, held on April 13 this year,
remains a highlight of the parish calendar.
"We try to make it very effective".
Dawn has been a parishioner at
Clearview/Kilburn for the past 43 years.
She was recently recognised for her
service to parish life with an Adelaide
She was one of the first people to
establish the parish liturgy team, which
prepares readers, community prayers and
assists with music. She is a leader of the
children's liturgy group and not only reads
and commentates at Mass, but is also a
Catholic Women's League member who
works in the Learning Assistance Program
at St Gabriel's School.
She has coordinated the drop-in group for
the parish's senior members, convenes
the CWL's Supper Club, has worked at
the Aboriginal Otherway Centre and is a
committee member of the Anawim Dinner.
Dawn was born at Olary, 330 km north of
"My father was a lapsed Catholic, my
mother was not a Catholic and we were
likely to have a priest come to Olary and
say Mass once a year," she says.
Things changed when she married Kevin,
from Port Pirie, in 1962 at St Monica's
"We both ended up in the city working
in offices and I think it was through the
good graces of the priest at Walkerville at
the time -- he was something of a match
maker," says Dawn.
"It all became a part of my life after I
Kevin passed away in 2003. Dawn has
three sons and a grandson.
Whole lot of Hart unites volunteers and refugees
HELPING HAND: (L-R) Iranian refugee Zainab Forough, coordinator Bob Hart and
volunteers Lena Sanches and Megan Black work out how best to support Zainab
and her young family at the Refugee and Migrant Centre.
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
Palm Sunday planner honoured
PALM PRAISE: (L-R) Palm Plantation worker Megan shares gardening tips at the Cavan nursery with 82-year-old Dawn Nolan,
who coordinates Palm Sunday for her parish.
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