The Virgin Mary proves a uniting force.
Life in Australia has been particularly difficult during the pandemic, with extended lockdowns and tough restrictions in place. However, as is so often the case in times of difficulty, people are coming together to help one another out.
The lengthy lockdowns have left many families feeling the pressure when it comes to putting food on the table. In response to this dilemma, parishes in Sydney have started a volunteer service taking home-cooked meals to the homes of those in need.
Through Food for Friends, set up by the parishes of St Peter Chanel and St Joseph, and St Peter Chanel Catholic Primary School in Berala, the parishes are matching volunteers with those in need of a meal.
“We wanted to find a way that the parishioners could feel like they were still doing something to reach out to others while at the same time helping those people that may be struggling during the lockdown,” shared Amanda Gahan, acting assistant principal of the primary school, with Catholic Weekly.
As Gahan explained, the food program is giving parishioners a “purpose in the lives of others.” And that is a wonderful way to live out their faith when COVID makes it so difficult.
Interestingly, Australians also found a way to practice their faith and honor Mary on the Feast of the Assumption. At St. Gertrude’s Parish in Smithfield, deprived of going to Mass, the faithful attached images of the Blessed Virgin and bunches of flowers to the railings of the church.
From there the idea grew. “We invited parishioners to place images of their national and cultural shrines and it ballooned from there,” shared assistant parish priest Fr. Wojtek Sliwa OSPPE with Catholic Weekly.
And what a beautiful declaration of faith this initiative created.
“It’s about unity. No matter what image of Mary we have, she’s the same one who unifies us all, the one mother we all have.”
With parts of Australia remaining in lockdown until October, it will be interesting to see how Catholics continue to help others and display their faith in the weeks to come.