Siena Catholic College, Sippy Downs, students meet Archbishop Coleridge at the launch of Caritas Australia's Project Compassion
BRISBANE Catholic Education students who attended this year's COVID-safe launch of Caritas Australia's Project Compassion launch were encouraged to, in the words of St Oscar Romero, “Be more". Usually brimming to capacity with Catholic school students and teachers, this year's Project Compassion Mass at Brisbane's St Stephen's Cathedral was a scaled-down affair due to COVID-19 restrictions. With its iconic donation boxes, the annual appeal by Caritas Australia runs for the six weeks of Lent and Australians have raised millions of dollars for marginalised communities worldwide over the more than 50 decades of Project Compassion. Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who led the annual Mass, told the small gathering of students and educators from Catholic schools across the Brisbane Archdiocese that “Project Compassion is a way of doing our God-given, human duty". He explained that “God wants to give all His children what they need for life". “We're not offering some kind of loose change to people who need it. We're not just doing them a favour," Archbishop Coleridge said during his homily. “We're giving them what is their right. “We're helping them to have the basic necessities of human life. “And that's our duty – if it's their right, it's our duty."
Sharing fundraising ideas at Project Compassion launch
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, technology opened up a world of possibilities for schools to connect with Project Compassion 2021. This year, for the first time, school staff and students are able to connect directly with Caritas Australia's overseas program staff via 'Virtual Immersions'. The 75-minute 'Virtual Immersions' will connect Australian's to the international programs through prayer, reflection and dialogue. Caritas Australia's diocesan director Andrew Knife said the theme for Project Compassion this year came from the words of St Oscar Romero – “not that we would 'Do More' but that we would 'Be More' – that we would be the change that we want to see around us,". “As we take back what we hear today into our school communities I ask that you would join together with us and 'Be More'." For each of the six weeks of Lent, Australians can learn more about the theme through the eyes of a community leader facing incredible challenges, with stories from Bangladesh, Solomon Islands, Tanzania and Indonesia, available online at lent.caritas.org.au. Last year across Australia almost 900 parishes and more than 1000 schools helped raise $7.91 million through Project Compassion. To donate to Project Compassion, to organise your own fundraiser or get more information visit lent.caritas.org.au or call 1800 024 413.
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