The crowds came out for last weekend’s 60th annual Maytime Fair in support of disadvantaged communities in Asia and Africa and the Jesuits who work tirelessly beside them in the hope of improving their lives.
One such Jesuit missionary, Fr Gabriel Je SJ, witnessed first-hand the power of love and commitment when he attended the event for the first time. Fr Je is in charge of Jesuit Mission in Cambodia, one of the countries to which funds raised at the Maytime Fair will be channelled.
‘Cambodia is very poor, and Jesuit Mission is there trying to help the people. We’re trying to empower the people’, said Fr Je. ‘In order to do that, we need support from others.’
Fr Je said the effort, support and commitment that went into the Maytime Fair encouraged Jesuits and their colleagues to continue their mission.
‘I was very impressed; the people are very enthusiastic to help poor people. They’re trying to support our mission.’
It’s not only poor communities who benefit from such support, but also Cambodian staff of Jesuit Mission who are empowered through their employment, said Fr Je.
‘We need a lot of formation for Cambodian staff, so that in future they can be in charge.’
Fr Je is now keen to implement a similar fund-raising drive in his home province of Korea, which was given Cambodia as a mission.
The Director of Jesuit Mission, Fr Phil Crotty SJ, echoed Fr Je’s sentiment that empowerment of poor people was of the utmost importance, and said social change would be impossible without the hard work of school staff, volunteers and committee members, and the support of an enthusiastic public.
‘You’re always full of anxiety about an event like the Maytime Fair because it depends so much on volunteers, the crowd, the weather, the buzz. And yet it all came together’, he said.
‘What was very special was the participation of the school, starting with their Rector Fr Tom Renshaw SJ, and staff members Sam Noonan and Byron Andrews, and of course Stephie Dunstan, Jesuit Mission’s Melbourne representative.’
Fr Crotty also thanked the outgoing President of the Maytime Fair Committee, Trish Barr, for doing a wonderful job over the years.
More images from the Maytime Fair:
Students from local schools including Loreto College, Ruyton Girls College and Xavier College organised stalls to help out at the event.
Parents from Xavier College donated goods and helped run a number of stalls, including a produce stall run by parents of Xavier boarders.
The day included plenty of activities for children.
This year's Maytime Fair was the last time sisters Mary Brabenec and Liz Fitzgerald will be running the bric-a-brac stall. Their involvement with the fair stretches back to its earliest days, when their mother was on the committee that founded it.
More images from the fair on Flickr. Photos by Jesuit Communications.