Thank you to the incredible generosity from the Sydney based Jesuit parish, St Canice, who has been a phenomenal supporter and companion to its sister Parish in Railaco, Timor-Leste since 2004.
During their recent St Ignatius Feast Day appeal, St Canice’s was able to reach a significant milestone of raising over $1 million for Railaco – thanks to 18 years of commitment and steadfast support from the St Canice’s community.
“St Canice community, thank you! You found us at our rock bottom and you lifted us by feeding our hungry, providing service for our sick, and providing education to our youth! Thank you and God bless you for following Him in the mission,” said Fr Bong Abad Santos SJ, who runs the mobile medical clinic in Railaco.
In 2004, then St Canice Parish priest Fr Steve Sinn SJ took a couple of parishioners to Railaco to see how they may support the Timorese people soon after they’d won their hard fought Independence, following 30 years of oppressive occupation by Indonesia.
Since then there are three key projects in Railaco that are supported by both Jesuit Mission and St Canice’s to uplift the community – a feeding program which provides nutritional meals to children, the mobile medical clinic, and the education program through the Jesuit-run secondary school NOSSEF.
These three projects are assisting the people of Railaco with their basic needs and providing them with opportunities to break the cycle of poverty in their community.
The generous nature of the relationship between St Canice’s, Jesuit Mission and Railaco is reciprocal, and this cultural exchange has resulted in a close partnership with our neighbours in Timor-Leste.
“Railaco is a reality. Railaco is our sister parish. All our lives are enriched by the work that is done in Railaco,” said Michael Musgrave, St Canice’s parishioner and this year’s recipient of a Companion’s Medal for his tireless efforts in raising awareness and seeking funds for Railaco.
Michael along with many other parishioners of St Canice’s have been fortunate enough to visit the projects in Railaco, each time receiving an incredibly warm welcome and eye-opening experience from the community there.
“I feel so warmed by witnessing such sense of community and love for one another. I have seen how the funds are being put into good use and with my heart I have felt what it means to the community. Every little bit goes a long way,” said Dan Elias, a St Canice’s parishioner who recently visited Railaco.