CHRISTMAS PROGRAMME BEGINS @ WIRI KOHUORA PRISON
The Society of St Vincent Auckland youth team created an initiative to mobilise youth from across the Auckland Catholic Diocese to volunteer in the local Prisons. This initiative was created with the help of Bernadette Pereira (Kohuora Prison Community Liaison ) and was supported by the Auckland Catholic Youth Ministry. This project helped mobilised a good number youth volunteers from different parishes across Auckland. The ministry goes by the name of 69:33 Ministries based upon Psalm 69:33 and has met several times this year for training and induction around Prison and also learning about the justice issues of incarceration. It’s current leaders are Delphina Soti, Geoff Siale and Lucia Tavite.
On the 28th November this group helped launch the celebration of the Advent season at Kohuora Prison that houses just under 1,000 men. Early that morning the volunteer assembled at the Prison at 8.15am and spent the day with the staff and men of Wiri Prison assembling the pre-made Christmas cards kits for their loved ones.
What started as a morning of anxiety for some of these youth volunteers who had never entered a prison before soon became a day filled with laughter, creativity, banter, music and comradeship.
The card making was a real hit with the men, the sessions were a hive of activity with everyone earnest to make the best looking cards for their loved ones.
Over the next few weeks, there will card-making sessions facilitated by the 69:33 Ministry team. In prison and local emergency housing facilities and caravan parks.
CHRISTMAS FUN DAY FOR THE TAMARIKI
As Santa Claus made his appearance a loud spontaneous cheer erupted from the crowd of little ones and their caregivers and the students who gathered at Vinnies Annual Children’s Funday hosted by St Peter’s College and Marist College. This cheer turned into squeals of laughter as the St Peter’s College students pounced and tried out their best wrestling moves on Santa Claus who obviously was one of their school mates.
On Sunday the 6th of December the Vinnies of these two Catholic Colleges hosted their Annual Funday for the children and caregivers from the Auckland Fostercare Association. It was a day to celebrate these children and also the caregivers for the amazing mahi they do throughout the year in care of these children. As part of this initiative these Vinnies spent the year creating hosting events to builg relationships with these children and also worked hard to fundraise for this event. They were able to raise a significant amount that was well spent on over a hundred Christmas gifts, activities and an amazing spread of food. The caregivers and children were so grateful and moved by what these students had done. These Vinnies look to grow and nurture this relationship over the years to come.
BARADENE COLLEGE – IMMERSION EXPERIENCE
Last Thursday a huge bus pulled up in the front of the Kingsland Vinnies Centre carrying a bus load of Yr 7 and 8 Baradene College students. This crowd of students bought with them great energy and so much positive enthusiasm. The purpose of their visit was to gain a first person account on how the Society of St Vincent de Paul coordinate their various ministries within Auckland.
Throughout the day, the Centre was a hive of activity as the volunteers worked hard to complete Christmas hampers for the next urgent despatch. It was lovely to have these students onsite.
In thanksgiving for the special relationship between Vinnies and the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge, the Youth Team delivered a van-full of christmas hampers. The refuge provides services to families experiencing abuse, and so these hampers will go a long way to assisting those in nee
PREPPING HAMPERS FOR FAMILIES
As the season of Advent continues, secondary school and university students have kindly donated their time towards preparing Christmas hampers for families in need. Each hamper contains an array of the essential food items and toiletries to the value of $80. In additional to these hampers families are also presented with vouchers to buy gifts for their children. Over the next month, hundreds of these hampers will prepared ready for dispatch to Vincentians who will distribute them to families in need.
A LITTLE LOVE WILL GO A LONG WAY THIS CHRISTMAS
Every year for the last 10 years drawing closer to Christmas, Julie Denning-Kemp with her family and a close group of friends continue to carry out this generous act of love. Throughout the year they collect gifts and then get together to wrap them all up. Recently the Vinnies Centre in Kingsland kindly received around 350 beautifully gift wrapped presents for men and women. They understand how many adults especially those who live on the fringes of society tend to go without. These gifts will be distributed to those residing in emergency housing and shelters.
PREPARING THE WAY
Recently, Grace Worship Ministries as part of 69:33 Ministries spent time in Kohuora Prison leading Sunday liturgies. The message proclaimed during their vision was about returning to God in preparation for Christ’s arrival during the Christmas season.