After 50 years of humble service, Palms finally decided it was time to blow our own trumpet. Usually, we get access to a parish here or a school there at the discretion of the local priest or principal and the patience of people who sometimes, understandably, feel fatigued.
We felt, though, that our Golden Jubilee warranted a national appeal, so last year we asked the Bishops Conference to show their support for Palms and endorse an appeal in each of their dioceses.
Our Jubilee Roadshow started in Rockhampton in June. Roger O’Halloran flew to join Barry Hinton, our Timor-Leste In-Country Coordinator and ‘boy from Rocky’, to speak at weekend Eucharists and an information session. Barry also lent a hand, cooking 200 sausages at a primary school!
Brendan Joyce flew to Townsville for the July leg of the ‘Jubilee Roadshow’. Brendan was joined by Marie Radford, returnee (Kiribati) from Townsville in speaking at the weekend Eucharists and several schools. Working hard behind the scenes were Len Horner and Rebecca Ryman from the Diocese.
The ‘Roadshow’ literally took to the road in August – through Wagga Wagga and Bathurst Dioceses.
In Wagga Wagga Diocese, Tony Doyle, returnees Anthony Steele (Madang, PNG) and Mary and Peter McPhee (Rabaul, PNG) joined Marie in speaking.
The appeal in Wagga Wagga coincided with the Solemnity of that Diocese’s patron – St Mary Mackillop. Reflecting on this remarkable woman’s commitment to the poor was a great lead-in to the information session.
After speaking at two high schools – including giving the address at one school’s Mary Mackillop liturgy – the Roadshow rolled into Orange.
Marie visited several schools in the Bathurst Diocese – at Orange, Lithgow, Mudgee and Dubbo.
In Orange, Donna Furler, returnee (Timor-Leste) gave the information session. She and Marie spoke at the weekend Eucharists, while images Donna had taken in Timor-Leste were shown.
Goodwill has been abundant – from the encouragement of Bishops Heenan, Putney, Hanna, McKenna and Wilson, parish organisers, collectors doing extra duty at the door and helpers collecting appeal envelopes to the generosity of returnee speakers. Volunteering with Palms is definitely not – never has been – only an overseas thing!
The next stop: Adelaide in November.