This weekend is the Annual Catholic Mission Appeal. Catholic Mission is the Australian agency of the international Pontifical Mission Societies. They raise funds and form people for mission. This enables them to reach out through heroic missionaries and community leaders to help children and communities in need. Pope Francis has called for October 2019 to be an Extraordinary Missionary Month, with the theme ‘Baptised and Sent’. His World Mission Day Message reminds us that being called to mission is part of our faith:‘…I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always…’.This year we want to share with you the great work of the Eden Gardens Children’s Home, run by Jesuit priests Father Raymond De Souza and Father Rajesh Lobo. Currently 250 children aged six to 18 from backgrounds of disadvantage and need are living at the home, where they are provided with both physical and spiritual water they need to lead healthy, fulfilling lives and break the cycle of poverty.
Vikhonuo is a 15 year old girl who lives at the Eden Gardens Children’s Home, which receives support from Catholic Mission. Vikhonuo has a simple dream; to help support her family. “I have so many young ones, siblings, so I wanted to become someone and help them … I want to be a designer and then earn a living and then help my parents.” Vikhonuo’s family is from a small farming village located over two hours away from the Eden Gardens Children’s Home. Her parents, who are separated, are both subsistence farmers, and have little else to support their children with, apart from odd jobs where available. Coming from this background, Vikhonuo is eager to be able to support her siblings and both parents and is keen to see her younger siblings given the same opportunities as herself. Children at the home are given a safe home, education, food, and formation through daily Mass, praying the rosary and catechism. Distressingly, one of the problems the home faces is year round access to fresh water. During the rainy season, the current five water tanks are filled with water collected from the local stream, however during the dry season, the home faces severe water shortages. With the cost of purchasing and transporting water very high, it is imperative that the home can collect as much as possible during the rainy season. There is no way that Father Raymond and Father Rajesh can accept more children in need until this issue is solved. The Mission is counting on our generosity to help fund additional tanks and programs to improve the home’s access to water. With many past residents of the home going on to become doctors and nurses, businesspeople, priests and sisters, it is clear that the work of Father Rajesh and the team at the home are giving children like Vikhonuo the chance to follow their dreams, whatever they may be. Please give generously if you can. Envelopes are in both Churches.