By Olivia Bunter
The pews at St Patrick’s Basilica in Fremantle were filled with many who gathered to partake in Catholic Mission’s annual Christmas concert on 6 December.
In its second year of being held, Catholic Mission Director Francis Leong said the event was “a beautiful and inspirational occasion for people to reflect on the sacredness of the Christmas season” – something that tends to be lost in the noise of rampant commercialisation.
The theme of the concert, titled “Vulnerable Girl”, was chosen in faith to inspire hope to those on Christmas who are vulnerable and persecuted in the world today.
Mr Leong told The Record that he was inspired to develop the theme based on the life of a 14-year-old refugee girl, Maria, who he met on the Zambian-Angolan border some 19 years ago.
In her vulnerable state, she demonstrated compassion to those around her, despite the poor circumstances in which she was surrounded.
“Her story exuded such resilience and passion for life from one so vulnerable,” Mr Leong said.
“It was Maria, whose smile still haunts and compels me to this day. It’s a smile that gives meaning and purpose to this little Christmas concert – for the Marias of our world.”
The event hosted some 230 people who helped raise money to donate towards much-needed resources and support for the St Luke Child and Maternity Health Centre in Bujuni, a rural area of Uganda.
The donations will assist to drastically improve the health outcomes for struggling mothers, their babies, and young children in the region.
Attendees were treated to the harmonic voices of Lumina, a WA based ensemble under the direction of Cameron van Reyk.
Lumina was accompanied by Paul Wright on the violin and Dominic Perissinotto on the organ who led the group with songs such as Once in Royal David’s City, O Little Town of Bethlehem and A Hymn to the Virgin.
The concert helped to raise awareness of Catholic Mission’s work supporting Girl-Child Education and protection projects in Myanmar, Uganda, and Ethiopia.