Ash Wednesday on 2 March marked the official launch of Project Compassion 2022, Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten appeal, which runs for the six weeks of Lent.
Project Compassion is one of Australia’s longest running fundraising campaigns and has been a long-standing Lenten fixture in parishes across Australia with its iconic donation boxes.
Over the past 57 years, Australians have raised millions of dollars for marginalised communities worldwide.
Caritas Australia helps more than 1.8 million people in Australia and overseas every year - walking together with those in crisis.
“As we enter the season of Lent, we are reminded so vividly of the critical role that Caritas plays in supporting vulnerable people around the world,” said Caritas Australia Chief Executive Officer, Kirsty Robertson.
“As the conflict in Ukraine escalates, it highlights the value of our work with communities over the long-term so that they have support long after the media crews have left, when the dust settles, and the world has turned to a new crisis. We work with people who are vulnerable due to poverty, conflict, natural disasters, drought, discrimination and political unrest, and every donation Project Compassion helps make this possible.”
“As Catholics, Project Compassion gives us the opportunity to show our compassion for marginalised communities all over the world. This year, Project Compassion is built around the theme of ‘For All Future Generations’, which is taken from ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations’ (Genesis 9:12).”
Project Compassion arrives in WA
The WA Catholic community welcomed the start of Project Compassion Sunday over the weekend Masses of 26 and 27 February at St Marys Cathedral.
A separate Catholic Schools launch, which included a Mass and extensive half-day program, was held on Shrove Tuesday, 1 March, led by Trinity College, with participation from 48 primary and secondary schools from the Archdiocese of Perth, Diocese of Bunbury, Geraldton, and Broome.
The program included a Mass celebrated by Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation, Father Vincent Glynn, followed by a pancake morning and three sessions tackling discussion of what Caritas Australia stands for, ‘Why should we care, the Christian response,’ and ‘how can we put our faith and hope into action.’
Caritas Australia Africa Program Coordinator Sister Ivy Khoury shared her 15-year experience with the organisation, stating that “One of the most rewarding things is being able to provide and to see change. Caritas Australia will go anywhere to help the poor”.
Caritas Australia’s Social & Ecological Justice Animator WA/SA Deacon Paul Reid said this years’ theme invites the people to “make the world a better place by working together now and finding long-term solutions to global issues.”
“There’s no better time than Lent for expressing our solidarity with those most vulnerable to extreme poverty and injustice. It’s a reminder that together we can achieve a future full of hope. As Pope Francis has said, “The future does have a name… and its name is hope,” Dcn Reid said.
“Project Compassion will help us all to bring hope to the most vulnerable people and communities in Australia and around the world regardless of their ethnicity, political beliefs, gender, or religion.
“Today’s launch presents us with a great opportunity to put our faith and hope into action. Let’s seize the opportunity with both hands!”
Caritas Australia continues to engage with parishes and schools around Australia through online events. This year, Caritas Australia will bring five weeks of online Caritas Q&A’s to over 8000 students across Australia, as well as 30 Parish Caritas Conversations. These online events are one-hour, interactive sessions held over Zoom where you can learn more about the impact of your generous support. Supporters can meet directly with the people who work in the field in partnership with vulnerable communities to create lasting change.
Supporting Project Compassion is the way that Catholics can proclaim the faith that is in their hearts and help our brothers and sisters in need. During Lent, we are invited to take up the call to fast, pray and give alms – in solidarity as a global community.
To donate to Project Compassion, visit Caritas Australia’s website: lent.caritas.org.au or call 1800 024 413.
This year, Caritas Australia is also encouraging supporters to run their own fundraising events.