Very Special Christmas Presence in 'Wang

Christmas visit to Bob’s Place

On Monday 10th December 2012, Chelsea Noon, Rhiannon Gilmore, Haydon Boyd-Skinner, Brad Sullivan and Chris Ford visited Bob’s Place in 'Wang with Mrs Hicks, Miss Donaldson and Mrs Flood, to participate in handing out Christmas presents to the adults with disabilities in the care of Mr Bob McLaughlin.

The St. Vincent de Paul Conference of Wallerawang kindly donated the gifts, to a very appreciative audience. The smiles on their faces as they tore through the wrapping paper of their gifts are never going to be forgotten and the positive vibe in the room was an experience never felt before.

To continue the celebration we mingled with the residents, helped them to hang their Christmas decorations on the tree and sang Christmas carols. The residents of Bob’s Place shared with us the photos from their adventure to Cairns. Before finishing the celebration, we had a group photo taken, then we said our goodbyes, sang a few more carols and were ushered out to the carpark by some very lovely men who were looking forward to seeing us next year.

This was an experience not only enjoyed by everyone at Bob’s place, but by the students and teachers from La Salle.

Chelsea, Rhiannon, Haydon and Brad

A wonderful Christmas tradition.....

The celebration at Bob’s place is always a joint effort.

Christine O’Mahony, Ron Murphy and Paul Richards from the Wallerawang St. Vincent de Paul Conference have been purchasing the gifts and visiting the residents since 2008. The idea for the afternoon came after a group of young people (mainly students at La Salle, Lithgow) attended World Youth Day in Sydney. They came back fired up and eager to participate in social justice activities. Christine asked me if they would be interested in writing cards and wrapping presents, which they could then distribute to the residents. Everyone was eager to join in.

That first year, we dropped the presents into the School, where a couple of classes wrapped them and wrote in the cards. The group of young people then delivered the presents to the residents, spending the afternoon with them; helping them to read their cards and listen to their stories. The room was a hive of activity as everyone opened presents and sang carols. It was easy to see that the residents loved the interaction with the young people. The infectious laughter rang through the dining hall.

Each year since then, the staff and students of La Salle Academy continue to write personal Christmas messages in the cards and take time out to wrap the presents.

We have just enjoyed our 5th year visiting Bob’s Place, and would like to thank everyone who has made this possible; Wallerawang St. Vincent de Paul, the staff and students at La Salle Academy and the dedicated staff at Bob’s Place. May the joy and peace of Christmas be with you all.

 Lorna Nicholson
(2008 Parish WYD Coordinator)

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