Community Rings in New Year's Eve Bash for Newcomers and Caregivers

Community Rings In New Year’s Eve Welcome Party for Newcomers and Caregivers

A year-ender event, a brainchild of Catholic priest Rev. Joe Pena of the Our Lady of Assumption Church in Toronto, to welcome newcomers and caregivers with no family members was celebrated with a bang as more than 250 people gathered at a packed church basement here.

At the stroke of midnight,participants, young and old, couples and families with their friends gathered at the parish hall to ring in the New Year and forge ties with caregivers and newcomers many of whom come from the Filipino migrant community. Caregivers majority of whom come from the Philippines left their families and children to work in Canadian homes for two to three years.

The year-ender event, inspired by Filipino priest Fr. Joe Pena, is a first for the Assumption Church and is touted to be a trend setter as people from various community organizations were already inquiring about the next year’s New Year’s Eve party.What was first conceived as a gathering for caregivers and newcomers, quickly evolved into a remarkable community event as people from mainstream Canadian families showed up in great numbers to support and be part of a worthy cause.

Before the Christmas season, Rev. Pena saw the need to welcome new immigrants and the many caregivers who have no immediate families. The priest then came up with a novel idea of hosting a community party to ring in the New Year. The celebration, he said, would help warm up an otherwise cold winter night for many Filipinos with little or no family and friends in Toronto.

Dedicated and committed members of the Knights of Columbus at Assumption Church  the Archdiocesan Filipino Catholic Mission (AFCM) came on board in the planning of the social event and the rest is history.

To give everyone a clean slate for 2010, the priest encouraged everyone to wish each other peace and utter, “I forgive you and I love you,” at the start of the celebration.

With hugs and kisses, champagne toasts and laughter parishioners warmly greeted each other a joyous, prosperous and spirit-filled 2010 as they partied till the wee hours of the morning.

Revellers danced non-stop to the funky beat of live music performed by the Singles for Christ band. A local disk jockey, was also on hand spinning disco sounds for the high-energy dance event.

“This party gives caregivers that warm feeling of belonging,” commented Connie Sorio, who drove all the way from Brampton to volunteer and join in the fun.

Parishioners rose to the occasion by spending their time, money and effort in helping organize the pioneering dance event at Assumption Parish. Food, gifts and entertainment were all provided free of charge and there were no shortage of fun and frolic as parishioners danced the night away.

Community sponsors like Western Union, FV Foods and Taliba Community Newspaper also did their share to make the event a great success.

(Source : Faye Arellano)

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