“This is a time of year when a lot of people feel a real sense of absence, loss and hopelessness,” Wayside Chapel general manager Jon Owen told AAP.
But this is something charities like his hope to change, doing everything they can to show their love to the homeless, those excluded from their families and others separated from loved ones by national borders. and international.
It’s already been a terrible year for most people, says the pastor, so the Wayside Chapel is determined that its annual Christmas lunch at Potts Point in Sydney will not be canceled for the second year in a row.
“It broke our hearts last year that we couldn’t hold one the same,” he said.
“For so many of our people, we are their family, so we’re still going to have a family Christmas this year and we’re going to do it with more safety precautions than any other.”
There will be a Christmas service, live music and a visit from Santa Claus to complete the picnic served between 11:30 am and 2 pm.
Volunteers will be fully vaccinated and decked out in PPE, and instead of chairs and tables, guests will sit on socially distant rugs while eating their Christmas feast.
“We say to everyone, don’t be home alone and miserable, come and be miserable with us,” said Pastor Owen.
It’s not just the guests who “have a hole in their heart” at Christmas, he said.
Source: Getty Images
Many volunteers sign up because they too feel lonely. This year, many have lost children to suicide over the past year.
“They feel like it would be hollow to have a Christmas celebration this year with an empty chair at the table,” he said.
“So they fill that void in their hearts by loving others who don’t have access to moms, dads and family.
“It’s beautiful – it kind of makes me scream.”
Reverend Bill Crews will also be spending his 50th Christmas with the poor and lonely.
Some 2,000 people are expected to pass through the doors of his foundation’s center in Ashfield, west Sydney, where volunteers are handing out take-out Christmas meals and gifts.
Meals will also be delivered to 11 other locations across town, and more than 4,500 Christmas baskets have been distributed to families who would otherwise put food on the table.
The Melbourne Sacred Heart Mission has taken a similar approach and will be serving take-out Christmas roast and pudding for up to 500 people from its front yard at 87 Gray Street in St Kilda.
“We will make sure there is a real celebratory atmosphere for those accompanying us,” said Executive Director Cathy Humphrey.
The mission, which offers vaccinations from a hub outside of its St Kilda premises, hopes to reopen its dining hall next year, but that will depend on vaccination.
“Our biggest challenge is that in order for people to come into the dining room, they need to be doubly vaccinated. So we have a lot of work to do to increase that number,” Ms. Humphrey said.
Uniting Victoria will deliver “Christmas in a Box” to those in need in the Melbourne suburbs, while The Salvation Army is offering Christmas brunch and take-out dinner at 69 Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD.
Source: IPA / Sipa United States
Pope Francis, leading Roman Catholics around the world on Christmas, said those indifferent to the poor offended God, urging all to “look past all lights and decorations” and remember those most in need.
Francis, inaugurating the ninth Christmas of his pontificate, celebrated a solemn eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for around 2,000 people, with attendance limited by COVID-19 to about one-fifth the size of pre-pandemic years.
Minutes before the start of Christmas Eve mass, Italy reported a second consecutive daily record of COVID-19 cases, with new infections reaching 50,599.
Francis, dressed in white clothes, woven his homily around the theme that Jesus was born with nothing.
“Brothers and sisters, standing in front of the manger, we contemplate what is central, beyond all the lights and decorations, which are beautiful. We contemplate the child, ”he said in the homily of the concelebrated Mass with more than 200 cardinals, bishops and priests.
Francis, who turned 85 last week, said the infant Jesus born into poverty should remind people that it is more important to serve others than to seek status or social visibility or spend a whole lot of time. life to seek success.
“It is in them (the poor) that he wants to be honored”, declared Francis, who made the defense of the poor a cornerstone of his pontificate.
“On this night of love, may we have only one fear: that of offending the love of God, of hurting it by despising the poor with our indifference. Jesus loves them tenderly, and one day they welcome to heaven, ”he said.
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