Building Bridges of Solidarity and Unity: A Visit to Esperance

In an inspiring journey of faith and community, Shendelle Mullane, Catholic Mission Diocesan Director, ventured to the far eastern edges of the Diocese of Bunbury, Western Australia, to visit the Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School and Esperance Parish. Located a significant 670km from her office in Bunbury, this trip fulfilled a long-held desire to connect with the communities on the diocese's periphery.

The visit kicked off with a vibrant start at the Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School's first assembly of 2024. In a heartwarming gesture of gratitude, Shendelle presented a thank you certificate to the students, acknowledging their efforts in last year's Socktober fundraising campaign. She then led them in a fun activity, as they created soccer balls made of recycled clothing and plastic bags, the symbol of Socktober. The students had a lot of fun and said they would then share their knowledge of the sockball making activities with younger students for this year's Socktober campaign.

“We could tell that the students truly want to engage in the work of Mission; they are so full of energy and excitement when we speak about what they can do to become agents of change,” said Shendelle.

The visit continued as Shendelle took part in the World Day of Prayer ecumenical service, an embodiment of the spirit of unity and collective faith. After the service, Shendelle had the opportunity to meet with long-time friends and supporters of Catholic Mission, a precious moment to discuss the great accomplishments of the project's supporters around the world.

“The encounters I had during my time here were powerful and a true testament to the community's hospitality and fellowship,” said Shendelle.

A lesser-known yet impactful aspect of the Esperance Parish's community service was brought to light during this visit. The innovative fundraising strategy involving the loan of trestle tables for events, in exchange for donations to support life-giving projects, exemplifies the parish's commitment to supporting the Catholic Mission. This initiative, spearheaded by Parish Secretary Pat Ivers, showcases the power of small, collective contributions towards a greater cause.

“Through this visit to my furthest parish and school, it was easy to see that the people of Esperance are extending the invitation, together, to the banquet far and wide, to build bridges of solidarity and unity,” concluded Shendelle.