Giving up lunch could mean food for life

Project Compassion 2015 was launched in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle on Shrove Tuesday at St Pius X High School, Adamstown. The event began with a welcoming earth, water and smoke blessing led by local Aboriginal elders and students.

Caritas Australia’s Supporter Care team member, Sophie Menner, spoke about Project Compassion 2015 and challenged those present to undertake three tasks during this time of Lent: think, pray and act. She offered some suggestions to the students with regard to the action. If every student present gave up one canteen lunch during Lent, the cost could be placed in the Project Compassion box. If every student in each of our diocesan schools did this, imagine how much money could be raised for Project Compassion!

Vicar General, Fr Brian Mascord, led the community in prayer and urged us to stop and think about how our own needs can change when we concentrate on others and put them first. What can we change and how can we become what God wants us to be? Simply, we can be followers of Jesus by reaching out to those in need. To encourage this action, Project Compassion boxes were distributed to representatives of school, parish and diocesan groups.

Eric and Margaret (Ma) from Fiji are currently guests in Australia, sharing with our communities the story of their achievements through completing courses at the Tutu Rural Training Centre in Fiji. The Centre, which is supported by Caritas Australia, runs courses for people living in the remote northern islands of Fiji. These courses empowered Eric and Ma to participate fully in making decisions about their future, so they could find personal fulfilment and grow a sustainable source of food for life.

In speaking at the Sydney launch of Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten campaign, Project Compassion, they expressed their deep gratitude to the people of Australia.

The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, 18 February. Caritas Australia is one of Australia’s largest humanitarian organisations. Its annual Project Compassion fundraising campaign is a familiar aspect of Lent. Each year, Project Compassion brings hundreds of thousands of Australians together in solidarity with the world’s poor.

Last year, supporters across Australia raised nearly $11 million to help the world’s poorest communities. The theme for this year’s Project Compassion is Food for Life. This aligns closely with Caritas Internationalis’ global initiative, ‘One human family, food for all’, aimed at ending hunger by 2025.

Project Compassion transforms the lives of many of the most marginalised people around the world. It is thanks to the generosity of the Australian supporters that Caritas is able to work alongside communities over the long term in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Latin America and with First Australians.

Patricia Banister is a member of the Caritas Australia Team, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Please visit

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Patricia Banister

Patricia Banister is a member of the Caritas Australia Team, Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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