WALKING WITH THE EXCLUDED
There were jams, biscuits and cakes. There was minigolf and a dunk tank. Popcorn and fairy floss. Egg and bacon rolls, and hot chips. Crafty activities for the kids and craft products for the adults. There was the chocolate throw, face-painting, used toys and second-hand books.
Warmth and delightful morsels could be found in the tea rooms, the sounds of bass and drums could be heard from the Battle of the Bands. There were rides — dodgem cars, ‘eliminators’, teacup merry-go-rounds and more. Four Masses through the day in the College’s Memorial Chapel brought people together in prayer. Something for everyone.
As always at the Maytime Fair, people bumped into one another. The annual catchups were had. A glass of Sevenhill wine enjoyed maybe with a burger. Followed by Dutch pancakes, perhaps. Listening to the bands playing throughout the day in the quadrangle as kids ran underfoot.
Students from each of the ten Houses at Xavier College staffed a stall. As did the many auxiliary associations at the school: each of the parents’ associations and the Old Xaverians. Immaculate Conception Parish, Hawthorn had a stall. As did the Jesuit companion schools, Loyola College Watsonia and Saint Ignatius College, Drysdale. Students from other Ignatian charism schools — Genazzano FCJ College and Loreto Mandeville Hall — staffed stalls as well.
There was a real sense of community coming together throughout the day. With ongoing building works at Xavier, Fair goers arrived on foot or by the courtesy bus, shuttling from a nearby carpark. People came with enthusiasm, undaunted by early rain, streaming up the College’s circular drive.
Those who came to volunteer in stalls, and to spend their money, were pulling together in common cause to support projects empowering the poor and marginalised across Asia and Africa. As the international development organisation of the Australian Jesuit Province, Jesuit Mission Australia supports such works on the basis of a belief that every woman, man, and child deserves to live a full and free life.
Members of the community in Melbourne have been doing this since 1952 when the first Fair was held. The early connections were personal, between young Jesuits missioned to Hazaribagh, India, and their families and friends. Over time the personal connections have changed and the funds are distributed more widely, but something of that deep connection holds. Solidarity between the community gathered for the Fair, and those they are seeking to support.
Julian Butler SJ