As for the last fifteen years, the day before Charity Night, at 4.30pm, about a dozen of persons: members of the Committee with some volunteers, made themselves ready to prepare the parish hall for the Banquet of Human Goodness!
This year, on the 25th October, the two teams were ready for action: one under the guidance of Marie-Claire Perrine took into their hands the cleaning of the kitchen, when the second one with Jeannette Beaudoin in charge, took responsibility for the preparation of the tables and the decoration of the hall. Both of them having in mind the welcome of up to 250 people.
The presence of Fr Pedro Opeka that evening brought new sparks of enthusiasm into action!
Doing things which matter in God’s eyes and doing it out of love for the poorest of the poor who have a privileged place in the Heart of God, brings joy and peace to those involved.
By 10pm the kitchen and the hall were ready for Saturday’s event.
The kitchen was shining with freshness and the hall was filled up with beautifully decorated stage and furnished tables. The tables covered with white tablecloths and red plate-mats, were twinkling through beautiful tiny bouquet or alternatively a colorful candle in the middle of it and at the same time, attracting attention with cans of orangina drinks and bottles of water among the cups and glasses ready to be filled up with a ‘good staff’! The orangina cans were given by our generous friends: Ghyliane and Gaëtan Némorin from “ Flavours From Afar”.
Flowers on the tables were offered by our longtime friends of this Night from ‘A&L Florist’ at Bossley Park and wine for the guests of honour came from the generosity of ‘Valore Cellars’ at Carramar.
Saturday the 26th of October in the morning, all prizes of the great lottery as well as the ‘lucky door’ were brought into place… From 3pm activities could be detected around the kitchen. Little bit later on, DJ specialists: Clivie and Gerard Clement, brought their equipment and from 5.30pm on, were uplifting the ambiance with gentle melodies. They were providing relaxation to those who were checking up for the last minute details and making fill welcome, those who were expecting to take part in this noticeable event.
For the last few years the lovers of dance attending the Charity Nights were complaining for not having time to enjoy this lovely expression of serenity, friendship and love which would be a natural part of this yearly gatherings… In line with their expectation, our organizing committee took the decision to begin our Night at 6.30pm and doing it, providing time for the dancers… But… the reality…..?
Few longtime friends of this Charity Night appeared in the hall as expected… but the majority of participants, following the ‘established tradition’, made everything to start (as usual!) at 7.30… Though the dance ‘went for the next rendez-vous’, the atmosphere of family encounter and joy of meeting among the old and new friends of the poor were unchanged!
Our MC, Sinisita Filitoga, in her traditional Wallisian dress, opened our 15th Charity Night with the introduction of our guests of honor beginning with Fr Pedro Opeka, welcoming His Grace Peter Comensoli auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Michael Daley MP of NSW Parliament and his wife Christina, Erick Berti General Consul of France with his wife Margaret, Anthony Knox Honorary Consul of Madagascar and his wife Suzanne, John Mac Coll elected representative of French living in Australia with his partner Aylene Frazer and also George Varughese vice president of Ethnic Groups Association of NSW.
The grace said by Bishop Peter Comensoli, and 160 participants went towards two well-furnished buffets to enjoy variety of Aussie, Greek, Mauritian and French dishes provided by friends of this event, courtesy Marie-Claire Perrine, Francesca Chow, Nadia and Laurent Schwarz from “C’est Si Bon” patisserie at Rose Bay, Didier Sockeel from “Ganache’ patisserie at Castlecrag and “Cassaniti Bakery” at Haberfield.
After all the participants had had enough time to satisfy their culinary appetites appreciating quality of abundant food, Fr Pedro took stage with his moving talk sharing his ‘Akamasoa experience’. (for the text of his speech we can go the ‘Home’ section of this website.)
His very interesting look at our association with his charitable activities was followed by an exceptionally beautiful Central American piece of folkloric art, performed by a troupe of great artistic talents from El Salvador. For more than half an hour they were capturing all attention by an incredibly beautiful performance. They took the audience into the spirit of Salvadorian and Central American culture, expressed through their art! The most admired was the mascot of the troupe, incredibly talented three years old Laurita, who by her gracious movements flowing to the rhythms of music, captured the hearts and minds of all.
I would like to acknowledge the success of our auction of a dozen bottles of an excellent wine provided by ‘Lamonica IGA’ shop at Haberfield. Steve Motte handled it with great ability adding $667 into the fund of Akamasoa.
For the second year, the Creugnet family was responsible for the lotteries proceedings.
The drawing of the great lottery by Margaret Berti and the ‘lucky door’ one by Christina Daley created an atmosphere of suspense, exultations and disappointments which followed every drawing of tickets according to the position of being a winner or hoping for the next winning number to show…
It was a great joy and honour to see among us the 92 years of age Lily Schmitt and two of the youngest participants, couple months of age: Yolane Gibb and Joseph David Talivakaola.
I would like, on behalf of our beautiful people of Akamasoa and Fr Pedro, to thank all our benefactors and all those who bought these lottery tickets (numbered, perforated, cut and assembled in booklets of ten by our generous friend Ian Liddell from ‘Abian Press’) and in the same time to congratulate the winners of the two lotteries.
These are the prizes with the names of the generous donors and the winning numbers:
1. Large “Landscape” acrylic painting by Roger Boreham (Archibald & Mosman finalist) p at $3,000.00 donated by the artist. Won by lottery ticket number: 07561
2. Panasonic Viera (Led TV 126cm) valued at $1,399.00 donated by Mario & Dina Iunius from «International Ceramics». Won by lottery ticket number: 08980
3. French steel table with 4 chairs valued at $1,000.00 donated by Maeva & Roger Franchi from «Schmidt Kitchens». Won by lottery ticket number: 01655
4. Voucher $1,000.00 from Myer – donated by Joseph Nohra. Won by lottery ticket number: 09002
5. Voucher $500.00 donated by «Cadry’s Persian Carpets Specialists» at Edgecliff valid one year. Won by lottery ticket number: 08822
6. Voucher $500.00 from Myer – donated by Nadia Fortuné. Won by lottery ticket number: 02374
7. Wine fridge (Vintec 30SG) with 30 bottles of wine valued at $500.00 donated by «Valore Cellars». Won by lottery ticket: 02461
8. “Did you hear that?” acrylic painting by Louisa Jelavic valued at $480.00 – donated by the artist. Won by lottery ticket number: 01695
9. Juice extractor valued at $335.00 – donated by Mario & Dina Iunius from «International Ceramics». Won by lottery ticket number: 08232
10. Gourmet hamper valued at $250.00 – donated by Guy Roose from «Apromo Pty Ldt». Won by lottery ticket number: 01498
11. Voucher valued at $200.00 for ‘Bella Fonte’ Restaurant at Comfort Inn Hunts Liverpool valid until the 28/03/14, donated by Sybra & Harry Hunt. Won by lottery ticket number: 00846
12. Gift Basket valued at $200.00 – donated by Yves Gazy from «Candlelight Confectionery». Won by lottery ticket number: 09941
13. Gift Basket valued at $200.00 – donated by «GJ Food». Won by lottery ticket number: 06021
14. Gift Basket valued at $100.00 – donated by “Dolci D’oro” at St. Peters. Won by lottery ticket number: 02971
15. Gift Basket valued at $100.00 – donated by «Petersham Liquor Market». Won by lottery ticket number: 08874
16. Volta vacuum cleaner valued at $99.00 – donated by Mario & Dina Iunius from «International Ceramics». Won by lottery ticket number: 07532
This year prizes for the ‘Lucky door’ lottery were provided by: Marie Therese Assaf, Therese and Robin Barnes, Jeannette Beaudoin, Marie Crothers, Clautilde Emraz, Michele Fortin and Anne-Marie and Hubert Puaud.
We are all very grateful to you all for your good heart bringing joy not only to the winners of these precious souvenirs from the Charity Night, but also showing your support to the works of Fr Pedro at Akamasoa!
The excitement of lotteries drawing ended with invitation to taste coffee or tea with abundance of various cakes and some cheeses provided by Ana Abrahamowicz, Marie Claire Perrine, Nadia and Laurent Schwarz from “C’est Si Bon” patisserie at Rose Bay and Didier Sockeel from “Ganache’ patisserie at Castlecrag.
Around 11.30pm all the members of the Committee present at the Night helped by many volunteers, made the hall and the kitchen tidy and ready for the next parish activity.
To our surprise, the garbage bins were not emptied before our event by the responsible person from the parish, but our cleaners were able to squeezed the waist from that night into those bins.
I would like once again to thanks all those who made this 15th Charity Night such a fruitful event with our unique expense of $500 for hiring the Parish Hall which was taken in charge by our friends from the ‘Abruzzi Association of NSW’.
At this moment we have reached almost $57,000 and are hoping to attend the sum of 60!
Fr Pedro proposed that the half of this year raised money could go to provide the rice for the children (7000 little meals a day for them from the primary school!) and the second half for the acquisition of medicines to provide the medical emergency help for the poorest of the poor, coming by hundreds every day from the capital of Madagascar looking for salvation… (Some medical staff in this impoverished city of 2 million habitants often is telling the sick people to go and look for salvation from Fr Pedro at Akamasoa,!)
It is our great honour and privilege that thanks to our little sacrifices and sharing, through the hands of Fr Pedro, God can provide temporary relief, medical help and thanks to the miracle of Charity, bring his Salvation to the poor!
With gratefulness to all the participants present physically or contributing in many ways to the success of our event, I would like to invite already everybody for the 16th Charity Night on the 25th of October 2014 dedicated to the charitable works in the South East of Madagascar under the responsibility of Bishop Benjamin Ramaroson. This time we will try to help him in the construction of the small dispenser (medical center in the bush) or building a primary school… Soon we will know of his final decision.
Yours grateful in Christ: Fr Jan
14th February 2014 UPDATE
Once again, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all who have in a variety of ways showed their kindness of heart through their support of the charitable works of Fr Pedro Opeka at Akamasoa in Madagascar.
Your faithful commitment was an expression of your love for the poor through participation in our 15th Charity Night on the 26th of October 2013.
It gave to the poorest of the poor in the capital of Madagascar hope for the continuation of their endeavours to regain their dignity as Human Persons through education and hard work in granite quarries, garbage dumps and in construction as well as the maintenance of Akamasoa.
I am delighted to announce that thanks to your generous personal donations (few not requiring tax deductibility), lottery and sales of artefacts, we have raised $62,946.00… Here in the list below, please find the details of our beautiful helpful hand extended towards our friends at Akamasoa:
1. Personal/business contributions: 38,476.00
2. Loterie : 18,940.00
3. Sales of artefacts : 4,593.00
4. Auction : 667.00
5. Anonymous donations : 270.00
$35,695.00 was deposited into the account of the Catholic Mission in six instalments, to be transferred into the account of Akamasoa (less 5% deducted for administration’s fee, which will come to $33,910.15). $AUD 26,685 has been sent recently to Madagascar and remaining $7200 was transferred on the 20th February 20114 (with $25 transfer fee deduced).
$27,251.00 was transferred to Madagascar directly from SFRCC’s account into the Akamasoa’s account via Caritas Madagascar on the 24th January 2014, without paying any administrative fee.
Our effort from our 15th Charity Night sent to Fr Pedro’s Akamasoa project reached a net total of $61,136.00.
27th November 2013 the Holy Father elevated our liaison person for the South-East of Madagascar, Bishop Benjamin Ramaroson of Farafangana to the post of Archbishop of Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) top north of the Island. Whilst we are looking forward for his successor, we continue this year to support the great works of Fr Pedro Opeka at Akamasoa, Antananarivo.
Yours grateful in Christ: Fr Jan Chrzczonowicz, Chair of SFRCC