Generosity of the Youth

by Laura Cain

When an Aid to the Church in Need staff member recently processed a donation and read the message attached to the donation they were touched enough by the young benefactor’s thoughtfulness and selflessness to share the donor's story with the whole office.

The benefactor was Sarah an 11-year-old from Wagga Wagga, NSW, and like most young girls to celebrate the special occasion of turning eleven, Sarah had invited her friends to a birthday party. However, for this birthday in lieu of receiving presents, Sarah asked her friends to make a financial contribution to a project being sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need. The project Sarah chose to support was the reconstruction of a Church building in Iraq that had been destroyed by ISIS terrorists. Sarah with the assistance of her friends raised over $300 for this project, her mother Marianne transferring the donation to ACN Australia on Sarah’s behalf.

ChurchBuilding Easy Resize

Sarah and her family got to know the work of Aid to the Church in Need through the school Sarah attends, Mary Mackillop College. The school is blessed to have Dominican Sisters teaching religion. Sr Mary Catherine and Sr Mary Dominica are some of the sisters who teach at the school and Sarah explained that they have also created an Aid to the Church in Need poor box for the children to donate to. Sarah had watched some of the Gifts of Faith campaign videos that highlight the important projects that need funding.

Sarah Easy Resize

Sarah pictured proudly holding her ACN Gift of Faith card under the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

When I asked Sarah why she chose to support this project (rebuilding a church building) and not some of the more popular projects such as emergency assistance or humanitarian assistance for Christian refugees, Sarah said she could not imagine if her parish church was destroyed due to war, terrorism or violence. For Sarah and her family their church is very special space, Sarah’s brother has participated in altar server training and Sarah sings in the choir so the family is actively involved in their local parish community and the building and community have created many happy family memories and a sense of belonging.

In Iraq many of the Christian refugees who are now returning home are having to not only rebuild their damaged homes but to rebuild their churches and church buildings. This is such an important part of healing for the community and another sign that life is getting back to normal. You cannot underestimate the power of having a place, a building, a church and church hall to come together to pray, worship, reflect, gather, celebrate and receive the sacraments. These buildings will help the community back on the road to normality.

Sarah had watched the videos at home with her mother Marianne. Out of the six projects videos she chose the reconstruction of the Church and a Church building in Iraq helping Fr Thabet rebuild a church building where the community can gather for weddings, wakes, funerals, baptisms and other special occasions.

Sarah gave the invitees to her party a Gift of Faith card and envelope which let them know how they had also contributed.

“Never see a need without doing something about it” was Mary MacKillop’s well known saying and motto. It is clear that Sarah has been taught well by her school and her family, and that the spirit of our first Australian Saint is moving amongst the youth. If you would like to join Sarah in helping to construct a Church building in Iraq you can do so by clicking the button below.


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