By Amanda Murthy/CEWA
Not only did God make us, but He loves us and wants to be close to us, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has said.
Archbishop Costelloe was speaking for his 2023 LifeLink Day for Primary Schools Wednesday, 7 June 2023 and to more than 450 students, teachers and principals representing 75 Archdiocesan primary schools at Newman College.
The launch was also livestreamed to enable more students and schools to participate and hear directly from Archbishop Timothy and other speakers.
Present for the annual occasion was LifeLink Chair, Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation the Very Rev Fr Vincent Glynn, Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Director of Religious Education Deacon Mark Powell, representing Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce, Floreat/Wembley Parish Priest Fr Kazimierz Stuglik and Doubleview Parish Priest, Fr Peter Hoang OP along with CEWA staff and student representatives.
In his keynote address, Archbishop Costelloe offered a reflection on the purpose of LifeLink, and how the Church’s social service agencies supported by LifeLink, respond to our brothers and sisters in need.
“…When you produce the projects to raise money for the people who come to The Shopfront, for example, looking for something to eat, you are doing something to give food to Jesus himself, because He is united with those hungry people,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“When you spend time with your friends, at school, planning projects that will raise money for those people who have disabilities that are looked after by Identitywa or by the Emmanuel Centre, you are doing something for Jesus,” he said.
Jesus is united, continued Archbishop Costelloe, with those people who for one reason or another are not able to care for themselves.
“…We know that every single person, no matter how lost, or lonely, or poor, or struggling or sick or hurting he or she might be, is deeply loved by God as well.
“The best way that we can show our love for God, and our desire to respond to God, as he speaks to us, in the words of Jesus, is to show our love for the people that God loves and letting people and especially those in need,” he said.
During his presentation, Archbishop Costelloe explained that LifeLink was established by Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey in 1994, highlighting that LifeLink would be a focal point as the fundraising and promotional arm for the Church’s social welfare agencies in this Archdiocese.
At that time, explained Archbishop Costelloe, many Church welfare agencies had served the community for more than 20 or 30 years and were well known, while many others were not so well known.
LifeLink brought all the Church’s agencies together under one identifiable banner, agencies which collectively reach-out each and every year to help thousands of people in need in the community, providing practical care, support and direct assistance to thousands of Western Australian families and individuals in need.
Through LifeLink Day, a special initiative just for Archdiocesan schools, Archbishop Costelloe hopes to encourage Catholic students to learn more about how the Church responds to our brothers and sisters in need through the work of the LifeLink agencies.
“I also hope every school will undertake a special fundraising event to raise funds that will be wholly directed to the care of those less fortunate in the community,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
In his address, Deacon Powell thanked Catholic school students and staff for their effort in organising various fundraising projects throughout the years.
“The generosity and passion students in Catholic schools have for supporting those less fortunate than themselves really is a sign that Jesus is alive and well in Catholic schools and that young people want to build a better world,” Deacon Mark said.
“I would like to congratulate you on your projects. I can see that there has been so much work and research gone into them. I hope you all learned about the LifeLink agencies and how they support those in need in the Archdiocese.
“Seeing you all here reassures me of how lucky we are to have such wonderful young people in our schools. All of you offer signs of hope for the future, because by following Jesus and opening your hearts to serve others you create a better world for all,” he said.
Since the Archbishop’s LifeLink Day for Catholic Schools was first introduced in 1999, Archdiocesan primary and secondary schools have raised more than $2.6 million to help people in real need throughout Western Australia.
To learn about LifeLink Day and access resources for 2023, go to www.lifelink.com.au