Des Ryan is an old Highett Young Christian Workers (YCW) man. He goes to the Good Shepherd Parish mass, Wheelers Hill, Victoria. Many senior parishioners are ex-YCW and still retain a sense of teamwork and a can-do attitude.

Des has seen recent migrants attending the mass from various countries, including Indians, Chinese Filipinos, and Vietnamese. They are hardworking, responsible, and strong family groups eager to assimilate, contribute, and raise their families.

Judging the situation reveals a need to make them welcome and find out their needs.

The team committed to a successful coffee action. A purpose-built kitchen and community meeting area were established when the church was built. Refreshments are laid on after mass, and people stay around for a bit of low-key mingling.

A conscious effort is made to speak with the new arrivals. To approach people this way is natural for some, and others need a bit of a challenge but are building confidence. Des appreciated the presentations on the recent Zoom meetings by Bishop Eugene Hurley and Paul Lentern when they encouraged people to employ good listening. This has been a big part of the coffee action.

When the needs of the people became apparent, Vinnies assisted some. People are getting to know each other and getting involved. The action is a success.

Des says, “We have many active groups, Charismatic, Choirs, Family Care, Legion of Mary, and Passionists Family Groups. Our School Principal, Ruth Jones, plays a leading role in promoting the various groups throughout the school.”

By Greg Lopez

Member of the Australian Cardijn Institute (ACI), Cardijn Community Australia (CCA) and lay chaplain with the International Catholic Student Movement, Asia Pacific.

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