• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Thursday, 20 March 2014 12:43

Reaching out to communities hit by devastating drought

 

Fr-Ronaldo-wth-parishioners2---350The people of Central western Queensland are doing it tough as drought continues to threaten their livelihoods and well-being, but Fr Ronaldo Rodriguez SVD, says he has been heartened by the generosity of people across the Diocese of Rockhampton and beyond to offer a helping hand to his suffering parishioners.

Fr Ronaldo, pictured right with some parishioners, has pastoral care for the Catholic communities of Blackall and Tambo Parish, which fall under the Western Deanery.

He says his parishioners and those of the whole Western Deanery of the Rockhampton Diocese are facing difficult times as rain continues to elude them.

“It’s a desperate situation out here,” he says. “It really is a concern for us in the central west because we are experiencing this dreadful drought. People are in crisis.

“We’ve had no substantial rain for the whole second half of last year and also this year, apart from one fall we had a few weeks ago.It was hell in summer for the farmers and the rural workers.

There is no grass for the cattle or the sheep and many farmers are having to euthanise their stock.”

Fr Ronaldo says there had even been tragic reports of some farmers taking their own lives because of the dire situation.

“It has affected the whole community,” he says. “It’s not just the people on properties, it’s the rural workers and the business people in the towns. Everyone is badly affected.”

But Fr Ronaldo says the church communities right across the diocese have sought to reach out to those suffering, both in prayer and in practical support.

“We have prayed a lot,” he says. “There have been several prayer services for rain. And last October we joined with the other communities for an ecumenical prayer service.

“We did receive some good rain a few weeks ago, which brought some relief, but more rain is certainly needed to really help the people.”

Drought1---350Fr Ronaldo says some local farmers are so financially stretched because of the drought that they are thinking of selling their properties.

“But the sad reality is that there is no-one interested in buying at the moment,” he says. “It’s very sad. It’s horrible.”

Under the leadership of Longreach Parish Priest Fr Matthew Moloney, a local appeal is underway, and across the Diocese, an extra collection has been taken up at Mass on Sundays to support the farmers in their time of need.

“The generosity has been extraordinary,” Fr Ronaldo says. “For example there was about $10,000 raised during the Catholic Education masses for the start of the school year.

“And in the central west we had a Mass also for that purpose and appealed to parishioners for support and the response has been wonderful. The whole of the Diocese is engaged with the effort.”

Fr Moloney and some parishioners are also helping to support families by distributing household goods to those facing tough times.

“The people are very grateful and happy we are remembering them and really looking after them,” Fr Ronaldo says. “They feel as though they are not being forgotten.

“There have really been some lovely acts of ministry and charity. And we see this as part of our mission to be of help to others, especially those badly affected by circumstances.

”As a Church community, we are just trying to reach out to the farmers and rural workers.”

Fr Ronaldo says the Drought Appeal is still ongoing. Donations could be sent via the Parish of Longreach, PO Box 56, Longreach, Queensland, 4730.

Donations could also be sent via the SVD priests by mailing a cheque to the Drought Appeal, via Parish of Blackall and Tambo c/o Fr Ronaldo Rodriguez SVD, PO Box 134, Blackall, Qld, 4472.