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Project Compassion supporting future generations

09.03.22

From The Southern Cross, Tuesday 1 March 2022

 

Catholic school students were encouraged to build strong foundations in their lives and open their hearts to those in need around the world, as the 2022 Project Compassion appeal was launched in schools on Shrove Tuesday.

Scaled back due to COVID restrictions, the launch was held in St Francis of Assisi Church, Newton, and attended by senior students from the adjacent parish school. Special guests included Archbishop Patrick O’Regan; Caritas Australia CEO, Kirsty Robertson; director of Catholic Education SA, Neil McGoran; Member for Hartley, Vincent Tarzia; and Campbelltown Mayor, Jill Whittaker.

This year’s theme for Project Compassion is ‘For All Future Generations’ and features stories of how the international aid and development organisation has supported communities in India, the Solomon Islands, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Philippines and Outback Australia.

The people of Ukraine were also in the prayers and thoughts of those at the launch, with Ms Robertson speaking about the work of Caritas on the ground there.

“I’ve been hearing from Caritas staff in Ukraine about the work they are doing – handing out water, handing out food, creating spaces of safe shelter,” she said.

“And I was thinking, this is where Caritas is, this is where Caritas should be – with the poorest of the poor in the darkest places in the world. And Caritas are there because of the support of people like you.”

Ms Roberston added that the small donation box that has been a part of the Project Compassion appeal for so many years continued to be a symbolic reminder of the importance of helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“So this little box is more than money… this little box is about creating community,” she explained. “Community that exists beyond borders, community that exists beyond any divisions that we have in our society.

“This box is a bit of an invitation, it’s asking the question of ‘Will I do more? Will I respond to that call to look after the poor? Will I respond to that call that is asking me to remember people who live in poverty? And hopefully the answer of all of us, is ‘yes you can!’.”

In his homily Archbishop O’Regan also referred to Bob the Builder’s catch cry, ‘Can we build it? Yes we can!’ in urging students to build strong foundations in their lives, as they begin the journey towards Easter.

“Every time we celebrate Lent, what kind of choices are we making? Are we making good choices? Are we making the right choices? Are we thinking for future generations? That’s a big call,” he said.

“In other words, what kind of foundations are we putting down? What are we going to be able to build on in the future? When we have an open, strong heart – that is a beautiful foundation to build on, especially as followers of Jesus.”

For more information about Project Compassion visit www.caritas.org.au