On Friday, October 21st. 2016 the Missionaries of the Precious Blood-Atlantic Province hosted a gala fundraiser in support of C.PP.S. Mission Projects. The dinner and dance was held at the Fontana Primavera Event Centre in Vaughan, ON.
Be a Part of THEIR Future was a celebration bringing together close to 400 people to thank them for being part of the past 40 years and invite them to move forward with them.
All proceeds from the ticket sales, and a majority of the funds raised during the dinner and dance will go towards the building of vitally needed school dormitories for our John Merlini Secondary Students in Tanzania.
We were honoured to have CTV’s Paul Bliss as our Emcee for the evening. His passion, openness and gracious disposition truly added a dynamism to the evening.
While based in Toronto, Mr. Bliss grew up in Fort Erie and attended St. Michael’s parish where his beloved mother Gloria is an integral part of the congregation. St. Michael’s is one of the five Precious Blood parishes in Ontario.
The Swahili Catholic Congregation of St. Roch’s Parish kicked off the evening with a resounding and energetic jolt! African drumming and praise in Swahili definitely set a wonderfully joyful tone for the evening.
Father Mario Cafarelli, C.PP.S. welcomed everyone and took a moment to acknowledge the incredible work of the Mission Projects over the past 40 years under the tenacious leadership of Brother Anthony Canterucci, C.PP.S. who was Mission Director since its inception through to his retirement in 2014.
He then introduced the dormitory concept and extended an invite to all in attendance to build upon the strong foundation established and join us as we create a stronger and even more sustainable environment for our students to learn and thrive in.
Father Timothy Coday, C.PP.S. then spoke of the Water Project. He shared some beautiful, humbling and compelling moments of his 30 years in Tanzania and his work as Manager of both the Water Project and our Mission Project Schools.
His moving accounts of those he encountered in the mission field was a beautiful way to encapsulate the driving purpose behind the work of the Mission Projects. We were also blessed to have Father Tim say Grace in Swahili before dinner started.
Tina Guistizia, a member of the C.PP.S. Mission Projects Committee who helped organize the gala evening then recounted her years of connection with Tanzania. Her parents supported missions in Tanzania when she was a child so, it has always held an important place in her heart.
She told the story of Isaiah, a young orphan whom she met when on a trip to Tanzania. She told us that when there, she asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up. It was simple. He looked up at the mountains and said he wanted to be a guide. Many years later, a friend was in Tanzania and she sent Tina a picture of their guide. Tina’s memories of Isaiah came flooding back and joy quickly moved into her heart as she realized the guide was Isaiah and he had turned his dream into a goal accomplished! This is just one story of the many young boys and girls who, when given a chance and a small amount of support, can flourish and become strong, contributing members of their communities.
Members of the Gagliano family gave a lovely and heartfelt thank you to Brother Anthony Canterucci, C.PP.S., our Founder who dedicated close to 40 years of his life to building the Mission Projects alongside numerous volunteers thanks to the support of dedicated supporters. The Gagliano family have been incredibly supportive and generous towards the Mission Projects since its inception. It was a touching tribute, spanning generations that we know Bro was humbled and touched to receive.
Our special guest, Grammy and Juno-award winning singer, Liberty Silver delighted the audience with her performance. Liberty filled the room with soulful sounds and was sure to move throughout the room to engage everyone in the experience. Liberty was charismatic and gracious, funny and poignant. Liberty was truly a wonderful presence intrinsic to the night’s celebratory and welcoming atmosphere!
We were so pleased that Manager of our Mission Project Schools, Father Francesco Bartoloni, C.PP.S. was able to travel from Tanzania to not only celebrate with us but to truly bring the mission fields home to those of us at the gala.
Father told us of the schools and the students and what life is like for many of those who attend our schools. He was unabashed in describing the hardships while also highlighting the tenacity and genuine joy the students have at school. He also clearly and passionately articulated the real need for the dormitories, particularly for the young girls who attend John Merlini.
He did not shy away from discussing the real challenges faced not only by the students but also their families, the teachers and staff of the schools all working to provide a safe and secure place for the students to learn and grow. At the same time, he illustrated just how gratifying it is to see the students succeed.
As with Tina’s earlier account, the students are very appreciative of the support they receive from people they have never met. They can do so much and accomplish great things with just a little support from those of us here at home.
The support our donors provide truly does change lives.
Not just for our students, but the benefits extend to their families and the communities in which they live.
Our key-note guest speaker was Mr. Ted van der Zalm who built up the Water Project from its humble beginnings, dedicating years of his life to helping his brothers and sisters in Tanzania in every possible way he could. As a young man, Brother Anthony asked him to go to Tanzania and drill wells. Something Ted knew nothing about. But his heart, his faith, and his drive were far more important than his know-how and skill set.
He learned every aspect of drilling and running the Water Project. He grew the organization exponentially and more importantly, he established the strong reputation that C.PP.S. Mission Projects has to this day. The Mission Projects is known as an organization which will help as they can, in every way they are able with the means they have at hand. They will work tirelessly, side by side with our brothers and sisters to help them secure the most basic but essential of needs-water, food, medicine and even shelter in the instance of Bebe Sarah, the wonderful woman whose story brought a few tears to many faces in the crowd.
And he solidified the notion that the Mission Projects is part of the community, living amongst those they are serving with respect and compassion.
These are all things that Ted van der Zalm firmly established with his character and dedication in the mission field for us in Tanzania. Something which he continues to do today as he brings life-giving water to communities in Guatemala through his organization, Wells of Hope.
The night unfolded with some surprises, like an impromptu donation challenge from Ken Singh!
We also had a raffle draw for gifts donated by Pizza Nova and Symposium Cafe Restaurant and Lounge!
Finally, we had more wonderful performances from Liberty Silver and the Swahili Catholic Congregation which rounded out the night with a walk of praising and fantastic drumming!
Then it was time to dance off the fantastic meal that many complimented. It was enhanced by the wonderful service throughout the night from the staff at the Fontana Primavera.
We are so thankful to those who came out and joined us and to those who donated despite not being able to attend. The generous support we have received WILL be put to good use quickly.
The dormitories projected cost is $250, 000 USD each to build, outfit and furnish. It is our hope to have one for both girls and boys so that all of our students can be stronger together and our schools can be more sustainable in terms of providing for the ongoing and growing needs of our students.