The Father Bob Maguire Foundation was established by the irrepressible Father Bob Maguire in 2003, the latest of many community initiatives he has inspired to uphold the dignity and social rights of the masses.
Father Bob’s Message
In 1973, when I first joined the parish of Sts Peter and Paul in South Melbourne, I thought I’d entered the badlands, a place where refugees from life were gathering. Housing Commission flats brought a new cohort to the place, the South Melbourne Football Club was falling out of favour and the collapse of the Westgate Bridge a few years earlier set a pall over the people which would continue for a generation. I’ve got my work cut out for me, I told myself. Just the place for an enterprising priest.
What I discovered was a community in the real sense of the word, not the statistics that you’ll read about in Wikipedia. This became my home, physically, spiritually and socially. It was here that the seeds of the Fr Bob Maguire Foundation were sown, and which would flourish 30 years later.
Rather than minister to the community, the reverse was true. They showed me the Way. They revealed their humility which was, thankfully, tempered by liberal doses of scepticism; but they loved one another and cared for each other in a way that still leaves me breathless. That is what inspires my Foundation and the pathway I’ve chosen until the end of my days. They will carry it forward after that, because the Foundation is, at its heart, a contract between people that is inviolable.
The Foundation is a repository of ideas in action. It brings our various community investments under one umbrella, and it offers sustainability and vision for the future. We have an Outreach program, our street based community meals, our education program, our community pantry, our advocacy service and social inclusion programs, all of which bring dignity, respect and possibility to people, irrespective of what brings them to our door.
For me, it is about a commitment to one another for the social salvation and redemption of our most vulnerable fellow citizens. Most important of all is that I’m working creatively with ‘the next generation’ of people who will take the work of the Foundation forward. All are young, proud and passionate, and they understand what the Foundation stands for and what it can continue to achieve.
The work of the next generation has seen the Foundation grow bigger and stronger than it has ever been before and we’re working to secure its future for the community.
I believe absolutely that the Fr Bob Maguire Foundation will continue to grow and be a loud and passionate advocate for the voiceless and forgotten.
We leave no one behind.
Fr Bob Maguire AM RFD Executive Chairman