The humanitarian programs at the Railaco Jesuit Mission rely on donations from St Canice’s. Many of you have already stepped-up to the plate, but the need goes on to provide meals for the children and medicines for families, and locally trained teachers for the secondary school NOSSEF. I appreciate that your priority is your well-being and that of your family in these trying times of the current Covid-19 situation. However, if at all possible, I ask that you consider the ongoing financial necessities of the Railaco Mission.
Fr Bong, from our sister parish at the Railaco Jesuit Mission in East Timor sends us his Christmas Blessings and a message of thanks to all of us for our ongoing support. The message goes on to say: “Here in Railaco, we try to spread love through our works of charity. And right now, we’re doing it with YOUR help, the people of St Canice’s. YOU are with us in MISSION.”
Parishioner of St Canice's, Michael Musgrave, has been closely linked to the sister parish relationship at the Railaco Jesuit Mission in East Timor. In 2019, the first-ever 'immersion' tour of St Canice parishioners and two people from Jesuit Mission Australia went to Railaco to get to know their 'neighbours' better.
By being friends with our neighbours in Timor Leste, we become equals. We are not the givers and they the takers. We can sit together in conversation and connection, often with nothing more than a wink, a smile, a knowing look. We can inspire each other as friends do, help each other as friends do, love each other as friends do. We are challenged to move the discourse away from ‘helping’ to ‘empowering’, from ‘feeding’ to ‘eating’, from ‘teaching’ to ‘sharing knowledge’ , from ‘watching’ to ‘noticing’. We can then find common ground where our hearts beat to the same rhythm, just like it does in motherhood, dance, song and smiles – all of which are universal experiences.
This video is about Children eating tasty food brought by the Railaco Jesuit Mission in the remote sub-district Cocoa in East Timor. It’s quite incredible that 100 children turn-up in the small sub-district of Cocoa outside Railaco today to greet us.
The visit from parishioners of St Canice’s was a momentous occasion, especially for the residents in the remote villages of Railaco. It was also a golden opportunity for the parishioners of St. Canice to witness and meet the people – children, students, teachers, elders, youth – whom they have had such a successful long distance relationship with.
Chatting with the people, we learn more about the complex connections we have with these gentle people stretching right back to their assisting Australian troops in the second world war. Malcolm France, who was travelling with us on this immersion experience, speaks in the video of conversations he had with Timorese whose fathers and relatives had assisted the Australian troops.
Song, dance, music is a universal language that creates equals. This brings us so much closer to these little children and their families in poor remote communities outside Railaco. Every time we do it a barrier comes down. The key observation I made during our visits to the villages and schools in Timor Leste was that the people have great need, but they are NOT needy. The people are filled with faith, hope and love. They dance and smile like they are the happiest people on earth.
This video is about Elijah travelling with his mother Lynda with Fr Bong’s Mobile Medical Clinic outside Railaco, East Timor – a short video. Lynda Slavinskis, Elijah’s mum writes: You can click here to get a handy copy of Lynda’s words. When preparing for our visit to Timor Leste, I often wondered ‘what can I do to help? What can I give?’ Today on our visit to the remote mountain village of Fatu Besi, I realised that the greatest gift I could give was just to be me, a mother. I experienced the simple yet extraordinary power a smile and a gentle touch can have, in the absence of a shared language. It is the silent ‘knowing’, especially between mothers, that can engender trust and cement even the most unlikely of friendships.