BRISBANE Archbishop Mark Coleridge has presided over the launch of Project Compassion 2021, explaining that “God wants to give all His children what they need for life”.
Usually brimming to capacity with Catholic school students and teachers, this year’s Project Compassion Mass inside Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral was a scaled-down affair due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Archbishop Coleridge told a small gathering of students and educators from Catholic schools across the Brisbane archdiocese that “Project Compassion is a way of doing our God-given, human duty”.
With its iconic donation boxes, the annual appeal by Caritas Australia runs for the six weeks of Lent.
2021 marks the 56th year of Project Compassion.
Over the decades, Australians have raised millions of dollars for marginalized communities worldwide.
“We’re not offering some kind of loose change to people who need it. We’re not just doing them a favour,” Archbishop Coleridge said during his homily.
“We’re giving them what is their right. We’re helping them to have the basic necessities of human life. And that’s our duty – if it’s their right, it’s our duty.”
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, technology has opened up a world of possibilities for parishes to connect with Project Compassion 2021.
This year, for the first time, parishioners are able to connect directly with Caritas Australia’s overseas Program staff via ‘Virtual Immersions’.
The 75 minute ‘Virtual Immersions’ connect Australian parishes to international programs through prayer, reflection and dialogue.
At a time of such upheaval and challenge across the globe, possibly the greatest world-wide challenges since the inception of Project Compassion, Caritas Australia encourages all Australians to ‘Be More’ this year to help vulnerable communities.
“The theme for Project Compassion this year comes from the words of St Oscar Romero – not that we would ‘Do More’ but that we would ‘Be More’ – that we would be the change that we want to see around us,” Caritas Australia’s diocesan director Andrew Knife said introducing the appeal during the Project Compassion Mass.
“As we take back what we hear today into our school communities I ask that you would join together with us and ‘Be More’.”
For each of the six weeks of Lent, Australians can learn more about the theme through the eyes of a community leader facing incredible challenges, with stories from Bangladesh, Solomon Islands, Tanzania and Indonesia, available online at lent.caritas.org.au.
Across Australia in 2020, nearly 900 parishes and over 1000 schools helped to raise $7.91 million through Project Compassion.
To donate to Project Compassion, tp organise your own fundraiser or get more information visit lent.caritas.org.au or call 1800 024 413.
Your gift will help uplift the most marginalised and vulnerable members of society. A brighter and more just future for all can start today.
Parishioners can register for a 75-minute evening session at lent.caritas.org.au/virtualimmersions