Caritas Australia launches Project Compassion 2024

16 Feb 2024

By The Record

Catholic Education Team Leader RE, Ben Bull, Fr Michael McMahon OMI, Caritas Australia Bunbury Diocesan Director Peter Williams, Caritas Australia, Shelby D’Souza, Caritas Australia Community Engagement Animator WA/SA Deacon Paul Reid, Caritas Australia Program Coordinator for Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, Koreen Cueto, St Brigid’s College Principal Veronica Parker, CEWA Director Religious Education, Deacon Mark Powell and St Brigid’s Head of Faith and Mission, Adrian Martino Photo: Yvonne Bleach/Supplied.

Caritas Australia has announced the launch of Project Compassion 2024, its annual Lenten fundraising and awareness appeal.

For the next six weeks parishes, schools, organisations and individuals are encouraged to donate, as well as walk, swim, cycle or run as part of Caritas Ks, host their own events such as raffles or trivia nights, or give something up for lent. All in the name of compassion in action.

This theme has been drawn from the story of the burning bush in Exodus 3:1-20. 

One day, Moses’s sheep wander off and he suddenly encounters a bush that is burning but not consumed. God tells Moses that he has heard the cry of his people. God responds to injustice and chooses Moses to speak to Pharaoh. Moses is scared but God promises ‘I will be with you.’ All the time, God remains a mystery. Moses wants more detail, so God simply says that this is the same God who has been longing for justice for the whole of history: ‘By this name I shall be invoked for all future generations.’

As God called Moses, so now God calls us to work ‘for all future generations.’

Deacon Paul Reid speaks during the liturgy service for the Perth launch of Project Compassion 2024, held at St Brigid’s College Lesmurdie and streamed online to 65 schools, Tuesday 13 February. Photo: Yvonne Bleach/Supplied.

In Perth, the launch of Project Compassion was held Tuesday 13 February at St Brigid’s Catholic College in Lesmurdie, with representatives from 65 schools across the state joining in online.

Caritas Australia Community Engagement Animator WA/SA Deacon Paul Reid the Perth launch was an inspiring reminder for those present of why our faith is important.

“It really is a blessing to see the students working together – each one with a desire to help grow, develop and support those in need through Caritas Australia,” Deacon Paul said.

“It was testament that Lent is an opportunity that helps bring our skills and talents together and live as true followers of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The online launch included a liturgy service presided by Oblate priest Fr Michael McMahon OMI.

This was followed by guest speaker Koreen Cueto, who is the Caritas Australia Program Co-ordinator for Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Ms Cueto explained to The Record how she shared updates about the life of Ronita, who features in this year’s Project Compassion stories.

“The work of Caritas Australia has enabled Ronita to enroll at University to study to become a teacher, which was her dream,” Ms Cueto said.

“One or two dollars goes such a long way in helping those supported by Caritas Australia,” she said.

Students and their teacher from St Brigid’s College Choir. Photo: Yvonne Bleach/Supplied.

In line with this theme, this year’s Project Compassion stories include Ronita, a 22-year-old mother of two in the Philippines. Ronita returned school to complete her education with the help of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, securing a brighter future for her family.

There is also the story of Memory, who was selected by local leaders in her community in Malawi as a candidate for a vocational skills course. She now works for one of Malawi’s largest power companies and is a role model and trailblazer for other young women. 

Supporters will also hear from Leaia who built her own home from recycled scraps and is better able to care for her five children, and regularly sends them to school, thanks to a new water tank that affords her a consistent water supply.

Caritas Australia CEO Kirsty Robertson said during Lent, we are invited to take up the call to fast, pray and give alms.

“From natural disasters to widespread conflict, the events of the past year mean that many communities need your support,” Ms Robertson said.

“Supporting Project Compassion is a way for us to proclaim the faith that is in our hearts and help our sisters and brothers in need.”

In line with this theme, this year’s Project Compassion stories include Ronita, a 22-year-old mother of two in the Philippines. Image: Supplied.

Those wanting to support Project Compassion can download resources or join a Mission in Action Webinar to learn more about Caritas Australia’s development programs at https://www.caritas.org.au/project-compassion

To donate, look out for the Project Compassion donation boxes, visit the website, or call 1800 024 413 toll free.