• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Tuesday, 26 January 2021 17:32

Students spend Summer holidays on the job


Fruitpicking1 550While many Australians hit the beach over the Summer holiday period, some SVD students at Dorish Maru College headed out to work – taking on jobs in fruit-picking and factory employment.

The Summer work experience is part of their program of missionary formation and enculturation, helping them to better understand and empathise with the working people they will serve.

Tin Trinh and Cuong Quoc Dang picked fruit in Shepparton, while Shehan Fernando, Neftali Fabian and Ruben Lopez worked in a caravan factory.

Tin says he heard about the job through some friends and on social media, with many international students having moved to the country to find work during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“After the (Melbourne) lockdown, I really wanted to move out of the city and have some experiences in the countryside,” he says.

“I really like this small regional town, even the heat. The people are friendly, there is no traffic, and there is a beautiful church with a really pastoral priest.

“I’ve enjoyed meeting new people, especially those who are left behind, and I’ve enjoyed my time here.”

Tin says the fruit-picking was a tough job, especially on hot days and there were plenty of challenges.

“You have to stand in the sun all day, and sometimes the heat reaches 35 degrees,” he says. “Moreover, the job is not stable. I had to take days off if it was raining and sometimes I didn’t have enough work if the contractor (who organises the workers on behalf of the farm-owners) has enough people in his team. Everything depends on the contractor and the weather.

“Some days I had to go to work even though I felt tired and some days I had to take a day off even though I felt strong.

“But, I ‘m happy with this new experience. I have come to understand how hard it is for those who really need money for their life.

“These experiences have given me a new window to see people and life. And this is part of my formation to become a missionary.”

Fruitpicking3 550Cuong also picked fruit in Shepparton for his work experience and says he has really enjoyed the country lifestyle, especially after the Melbourne lockdown.

Having been born and raised in the countryside of Vietnam, Cuong already had some experience in farming in his village. From the age of 13 he helped his parents in the rice fields.

Even so, he found that cherry-picking was a “hard and challenging job”, with 4.30am starts to get to work by 6am and a working day that stretched to 3pm or 4pm.

“Moreover, working in a blazing sun is very tough, particularly during the Summer and my fingers were painful after finishing cherry-picking.”

One of the more positive aspects of the job was the opportunity to engage in interreligious dialogue with his fellow workers.

“I have met a number of friends who come from different religions and backgrounds, such as Muslim, Buddhist, communist and non-religious,” he says.

“It is very helpful for me to learn about other religions. I learnt a good lesson about how good and patient listening and paying respect are indispensable aspects in interreligious dialogue.”

He also learnt about how tough life can be for farmers and farm workers.

“It’s shown me that it’s necessary for me to pay my sympathy, passion and love to each person in my ministry.”

Both Tin and Cuong were also struck by the difficult life of itinerant farm workers, especially when it comes to matters of justice, such as being underpaid for the work they have done, being at the mercy of contractors in terms of job placement and correct payment, and having no avenue of appeal, especially if they have visa issues.

“I’ve learnt it is important to raise my voice to defend for justice,” Cuong says.

Shehan caravan factory 350Meanwhile, Shehan headed for Campbellfield where he worked in a caravan factory, leading a team of office workers, many of whom were Sri Lankan like him. He also worked in the final ‘touching up’ section, cleaning, sealing and preparing the vans for sale.

He says he found it challenging to learn how to correct errors among his team’s work and to push the team to achieve daily targets.

“However, I really enjoyed working there, as more than half of the workers are from Sri Lanka,” he says.

“Meeting my own countrymen and being able to work with them was a great, life-giving experience.

“I also built up a few friendships among my workmates, and we spent time together during the Christmas break, going on outings and having meals together.”

Shehan says he found factory life a valuable experience.

“I highly recommend to anyone in formation to have some work experience, as this time gave me a taste of the reality of work outside and I realised that life outside of seminary formation is not the bed of roses I thought.

“But it also gave me the opportunity to carry out some mission work among my workmates as I brought them to Christmas and New Year Masses and now a couple of them are committing themselves to being a part of the Preston Parish and go to Mass every Sunday.

“I really loved this opportunity God has given me to work in the lives of these guys who worked there with me.”


TOP RIGHT: Tin Trinh hard at work fruit-picking in regional Victoria.

MIDDLE LEFT: Cuong Qoc Dang also worked in fruit-picking during the Summer holidays.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Shehan Fernando was one of three SVD students to work in a caravan factory this Summer.