Church vows ‘evil won’t win’ as thieves steal lights

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE SAUCE - MI­RANDA WOOD

ALL they wanted for Christ­mas was a spec­tac­u­lar light show at their Catholic Church in West­ern Syd­ney.

In­stead “gut­ted” par­ish­ioners at Our Lady of Vic­to­ries at Hors­ley Park have been forced to can­cel their in­au­gu­ral Light of Christ­mas fes­ti­val af­ter some of the dis­play, worth about $10,000, was stolen dur­ing the week.

Pas­toral as­so­ciate Mary Far­rell said the “shock­ing” theft had left them with lit­tle choice but to take down the re­main­ing out­door lights.

“We are re­ally gut­ted,” she said of can­celling the dis­play, which had taken 12 months of plan­ning. “It’s like our par­ish is in mourn­ing now. “All we’re try­ing to do is bring some joy to peo­ple’s lives — there is so much heartache out there.”

Ms Far­rell said seven lights il­lu­mi­nat­ing trees on the church ground had been taken mid­week.

With­out em­ploy­ing se­cu­rity to con­duct overnight pa­trols, Ms Far­rell said they couldn’t safe­guard the other rented lights, some worth up

to $8000 each. The Light of Christ­mas fes­ti­val was part of cel­e­bra­tions to mark the church’s 25th an­niver­sary this year and Ms Far­rell had hoped to make it an an­nual event for the com­mu­nity.

“We’re a very re­silient com­mu­nity and we’re not go­ing to let this get to us — we won’t let them win,” she said.

Par­ish priest Do­minik Ka­mas said he was sad­dened by the theft, which has been re­ported to po­lice, but he re­mained op­ti­mistic. “Evil can’t con­quer us,” he said. Syd­ney Arch­bishop An­thony Fisher said: “It is ex­tremely sad that one of our parishes, which has been try­ing to shine a light on their church this Ad­vent, has had to can­cel cel­e­bra­tions for the en­tire com­mu­nity be­cause of the ac­tions of a few oth­ers.”

“There are many dis­ap­pointed fam­i­lies and chil­dren, not to men­tion the hard­work­ing par­ish­ioners of Our Lady of Vic­to­ries, who have spent 12 months in the plan­ning, putting to­gether this beau­ti­ful lights dis­play to draw eyes and at­ten­tion to the per­son of Je­sus, to the Good News he preaches and to the great­est story ever told.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the theft should con­tact po­lice.

Michelle Favotto and Mary Far­rell are upset at los­ing the lights.

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