Balgo, (Australia) -- Work Camp

Balgo, in the Kimberly desert region of Western Australia, is the most isolated community of aborigines in Australia.

The parish priest of Balgo, Fr. Matt Digges, invited the students of Warrane College to restore some badly deteriorated parish buildings. Fr. Matt depends on volunteers to maintain the parish property. A group of 18 boys flew from Sydney and spent two weeks in Balgo—a wonderful experience for them.

Their first stop was Alice Springs in the heart of the continent, where the temperature was 106 degrees Fahrenheit. There two vehicles used to transport troops picked them up and took them 500 miles on dirt roads. The job they found waiting for them when they reached Balgo was a big one: scrubbing floors to get rid of accumulated dirt; preparing walls to be painted, etc. They concentrated their efforts on the building that had been the first chapel of the Catholic mission in Balgo.

From the first day they got up at five each morning to attend Mass. On the last Sunday of their stay in Balgo, they attended Mass with all the local natives, celebrated in the local language, “Guguya.” During the prayers of the faithful, one of the readers prayed for the students who had worked even under the midday sun. The pastor thanked them wholeheartedly, above all for teaching those working with them to seek sanctity through work well done.

Romana, n. 38, January-June 2004, p. 88.

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