WelCom September 2023
Fundraising for the restoration of Sacred Heart Cathedral has taken many forms over the five years since its closure.
Direct donations have been supported by an on-line auction, book sales, raffles, school-ground parking, two Chris Skinner concerts and, last month, a luncheon combined with an auction at The Pines, an iconic establishment on Wellington’s south coast. Covid forced the postponement and then cancellation of a planned formal dinner.
The Samoan Aulotu/Community of Wellington South parish recently presented Archbishop Martin with $15,000, gifted by families and friends at specially organised social evenings for the Cathedral. (See accompanying article and photo.)
The most enduring effort is the monthly bake-sale after Sunday Masses.
Initiated three years ago by Sacred Heart parishioner, Geraldine Irinco, the tables laden with home-made delights are very keenly anticipated. Though shut down for a few months by Covid it is now bigger than ever.
What began with a few packs of home baking selling for $5 each has grown to a huge array, catering for all tastes, including cinnamon rolls, shortbread, sausages, cupcakes, bacon and egg pies, curry and rice and even chili oil. Geraldine now has a circle of friends who regularly boost the food on offer.
The week leading up to the monthly sale is usually a Wednesday to Saturday commitment. That’s spare-time work, as Geraldine works fulltime as an ‘IT’ consultant. She explains: ‘I put one kind of cookies aside for a totally different kind!’
And she adds, ‘It’s pretty much a family affair, with Rom (husband) on laundry duty for baking week!’
Asked why she didn’t simply make a cash donation to the Cathedral project, instead of spending considerable time and money on the baking, Geraldine said she had always enjoyed baking and felt a ‘food court’ might help bring the community together.
‘The Cathedral, being closed for so long, has disrupted parish life,’ she said. ‘I thought this might be a way of encouraging conversation, joy and generosity among parishioners.’
The idea has certainly paid dividends. After a tentative beginning, sales have grown to nearly $1500 each month and brought in a total of close to $20,000 – as well as a great measure of goodwill and community involvement.
Would she do it again?
Certainly, says Geraldine, who also assists with the parish sacramental programme and other voluntary service.
‘The help I receive makes the effort worthwhile and, when the bake sale’s on, there’s a great atmosphere after Mass. I think we’ve got the recipe right!’
Thank you, Geraldine!
You can donate to the Cathedral Restoration Fund by Internet Banking to: Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish A/c: 02-0506-0138488-025 | Particulars (your surname and initials) | Code (your phone no) Reference (Reopen)