RAY COLLINS: Caritas 2016

At the 2015 Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Adelaide, Bishop Greg O’Kelly, Bishop of Port Pirie, spoke to the 3500 young people attending and told them of his role as a representative of the Australian Bishops on the Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development which includes Caritas, the Church’s welfare activity throughout the world.

Bishop Greg highlighted how Caritas Australia, principally through its Project Compassion, raises funds for 160 projects both within Australia and in various parts of the world. The Project Compassion appeal raises $12 million in Bishop Greg’s words “mainly from the young people in schools.”

He went on to tell all present that the “most active group of young people” in raising funds for Caritas were those from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. That met with loud cheers from the 80 plus young people from our diocese. He went on to congratulate and thank the young people of our diocese for their generous contribution to this worthy cause. Project Compassion was launched on Tuesday 9th February, Shrove Tuesday, the same day that the staff of our Catholic Schools and the Catholic Schools Office gathered in Sacred Heart Cathedral to be commissioned for their work in Catholic schools for 2016. This work includes encouraging our students and each other in supporting those in need around the world.

During the Season of Lent we are reminded of the need for “alms giving” and the Catholic Church encourages us to use Project Compassion as a means for us to live out that call.

I certainly join with Bishop O’Kelly and with our Bishop Bill in encouraging our young people and the staff of our schools and CSO to make this year’s appeal a very special one.

It has certainly been my experience, as Director of Schools, to receive reports from both Caritas Australia and Catholic Mission on the generosity of our schools in raising funds for these special charities.

As in Adelaide, on a number of occasions, I have been informed that our schools have raised more funds than any other diocese. That is an extraordinary comment on the generosity of our young people and their families, as well as our staff.

I hope that this Season of Lent will see all of us responding to the Church’s call to be generous in our outreach to those in poverty and, equally, in our response to  the many disastrous events that plague our world.

I commend Project Compassion 2016 to all those in our Catholic School System.

Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.

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