Putting Compassion Into Action

“Without food, the rest of life is impossible to contemplate. How can you plan for the future or educate your children when you fear you will be hungry?”

The speaker is Caritas Australia CEO, Paul O’Callaghan, and he’s reflecting on Project Compassion, the annual fundraising appeal of  Caritas Australia, the international aid and development organisation of the Catholic Church.

On 15 February, Project Compassion – one of Australia’s largest humanitarian fundraising and awareness-raising campaigns – will be launched.

Each year Project Compassion, which runs during the six weeks of Lent, the time of preparation for Easter, brings hundreds of thousands of Australians together in solidarity with the world’s poor. Mr O’Callaghan said Project Compassion is an extraordinary, ongoing demonstration of the faith, love and generosity of caring supporters, all in the name of justice and peace.

Last year, supporters, schools and parishes across Australia raised nearly $11 million to help the world’s poorest communities.

“Project Compassion has transformed the lives of many of the most marginalised people around the world,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“It’s thanks to the generosity of the Australian supporters that Caritas has been able to work alongside communities over the long-term in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Latin America and with First Australians.”

The theme for this year’s Project Compassion is “Food for Life,” aligning closely with the Caritas Internationalis global initiative, “One human family, food for all,” aimed at ending hunger by 2025.

Pope Francis has said, “It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient yet, millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous.

“Food is essential for all life, and while we may take it for granted in Australia, many of the world’s poorest people do not have a reliable food source, or enough money to buy food every day,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

This year Project Compassion focuses on the ways in which Caritas Australia is working with partners around the world to empower vulnerable people to establish sustainable food sources and develop income streams for life.

“I encourage you to be a part of Project Compassion this year. Every individual, school, parish or community that embraces Project Compassion makes an enormous difference.”

Photo courtesy of Drew Morrison.

In Newcastle, a Caritas Dinner on Shrove Tuesday (the eve of Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent) will raise awareness of, and funds for, Project Compassion. The dinner will be held at the Victor Peters Suite, 843 Hunter St West on 17 February. To enquire or to book, please P Alyson 4979 1117 or E alyson.segrott@mn.catholic.org.au. To donate to Project Compassion or for fundraising ideas visit caritas.org.au/projectcompassion or phone 1800 024 413.

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Kate Bennett Image
Kate Bennett

Kate Bennett is the Communications Manager for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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