Monday 10 October 2011
Holy Saviour Parish, Glen Waverley North, celebrated “TWIG Sunday” over the weekend. TWIG stands for the parish’s social justice initiative, Third World Interest Group.
The group was formed the 33 years ago and has tirelessly pursued its goals of raising awareness and providing aid and advocacy where social justice issues have arisen within a third world context. It has actively – and often very substantially – supported hundreds of causes and charities in countries spread over four continents as well as Oceania.
This year TWIG Sunday saw a collection to support the neighbouring parish of St Timothy’s, Forest Hill, in its project to provide accommodation for asylum seekers awaiting determination of their status. The Masses on the weekend were celebrated by religious with knowledge or experience of the perilous lives of asylum seekers.
Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ drew on the Gospel of the day (Matt 22 1-14) where the guest at the wedding, by coming inappropriately dressed, showed disrespect to the king, and the king in his treatment of the guest did not recognise the value of the person. Fr Hamilton linked this to our treatment of asylum seekers which is disrespectful of their essential humanity. Respect for others as human beings and our failure to give it lies at the core of this moral issue.
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen told the congregation he was a “boat person” 31 years ago. He spoke of his early years and how he became “an unlikely Bishop” but perhaps not so unlikely because “our nation dares to welcome the unwelcomed”. He has chosen as his episcopal motto “Duc In Altum” or “go further into the deep” which is both a reminder of his refugee heritage and a challenge to stand in solidarity with those who struggle for freedom, justice, dignity and inclusion.
Bishop Long referred to Isaiah’s prophecy of a renewed Israel where the poor and vulnerable are respected – this has become the Christian vision and we are challenged now “to work toward a world where the poor and downtrodden have access to the same table as the rich”.
Across the weekend parishioners donated more than $4500 to assist St Tim’s project which is operating in conjunction with The Knights of Malta and Catholic Care. A petition was also signed and sent to all local members asking for an end to mandatory detention and onshore processing of asylum seeker claims.
Photo 1: Bishop Vincent Long and Fr Tony Feeney, parish priest, Holy Saviour, Glen Waverley North.
Photo 2: Back row: Austin Byrne, Fr Tony Feeney, Fr Andy Hamilton SJ, Gerald Burke; Front row: Evelyn Diradji, Edith Vaz, Annette Byrne, Helen Edwards, John Edwards.
Photo supplied by Holy Saviour Parish, Glen Waverley North.